Updated: Apr 4, 2018
In early 2015, the Digital Democracy Commission released a report full of sensible, bold and practical recommendations on what Parliament needed to do to stay true to its founding democratic principles in an increasingly interactive, social and mobile age. The solutions ranged from allowing members of the public to bring mobile devices into the House of Commons, to using Facebook to advertise Select Committees based on peoples’ interests.
Three years later, London-based brand and digital studio, SomeOne, reveals not only the new visual identity for Parliament, but also a unified name. As with all political matters, the news, in particular the logo design, has been met with a divided reaction.
Created in collaboration between the House of Commons and the House of Lords with SomeOne, the new identity aims to make UK Parliament (as it's now referred to as a brand) fit for purpose on digital platforms. This aims to “highlight the role of the institution in the UK’s constitution, and distinguish it from the building it occupies”, says a parliamentary spokesperson.
As part of the identity, SomeOne created a wordmark, typefaces, website guidelines, icon suites, digital guidelines and responsive templates. Logos created for digital optimization were also included, and it's here where the project's £50,000 budget has started to bite for some people.
The new logo includes a refined version of the previous crowned portcullis – a heavy, medieval-style, grated gate – symbol, alongside the new name set in sans-serif typeface National to the right of the symbol. The typeface was designed by type foundry Klim.
Previously, the teams that provide shared services to the House of Commons and the House of Lords had been using inconsistent Parliament branding across various outputs. The two Houses have also always had their own individual visual identities, which they will continue to use.
“The new visual identity has been designed to provide the consistency and coherence that was previously lacking, and enable faster, clearer visual communication, primarily across digital platforms,” says Simon Manchipp, co-founder at SomeOne.
A new suite of flat icons, graphics and infographics has also been used across communications to demonstrate different options and statistics online. For example, infographics indicate how many Lords sit within each political party, and icons indicate options such as online petitions.
There has been some backlash over the price of the new visual identity, which cost £50,000 of public money to produce and deliver, coming out of the House of Commons’ and Lords’ budgets.
A parliamentary spokesperson says: “The visual identity of UK Parliament has been reviewed and updated by the administrations of both houses because the current version does not work successfully on digital channels. The new version works with mobile responsive websites, and is more accessible and readable.”
The new branding is currently rolling out across the parliament.uk website, print materials, in-house staff collateral and marketing communications.