The Hepworth Wakefield is an art gallery in Wakefield, England which opened in 2011 and takes its name from artist and sculptor Barbara Hepworth.
This year marked the inauguration of the new £30,000, biennial award, The Hepworth Prize for Sculpture, which aims to recognise a British or UK-based artist of any age, at any stage in their career, who has made a significant contribution to the development of contemporary sculpture. The Hepworth Prize for Sculpture is an integral part of the gallery’s 5th anniversary celebrations.
A judging panel of influential figures in the art world selected the winner in November 2016, but visitors have also been encouraged to experience, debate and judge the Prize for themselves. The identity needed to satisfy a number of important requirements, such as, provide a neutral backdrop for the artists’ work, encourage debate and engagement around contemporary sculpture, celebrate Barbara Hepworth’s legacy and cement Yorkshire’s position as the home of British sculpture, while working alongside the gallery’s core brand. Passport won the pitch to create the identity and promotional material for the Prize which has resulted in one of our biggest projects to date.
We came up with an idea to pay homage to both the iconic architecture of The Hepworth Wakefield and the subject matter of ‘sculpture’ by creating a set of 3D forms that were influenced by the recognisable angular qualities of the building itself. We then photographed these forms from multiple perspectives and traced over them to create dynamic, geometric shapes. This ‘wireframe’ would remain consistent but the angle from which it is viewed would always be different, much in the way that an audience often interacts with sculpture. To complement the wireframe structures we created a custom typeface, whose letterforms intend to occasionally subvert the expected; replacing the idea of standardised structures with more eccentric, playful forms.
To help tie all aspects of the brand together, a tight monochrome palette was used across much of the deliverables but was disrupted by hits of vivid neon mint. The identity also utilises a dot element which alludes to the recognisable circular stickers found in art galleries, used here to represent the ideas of identification, marking & selection, whilst also referencing the “People’s Choice Award”, where visitors to the exhibition get the chance to select their personal winner by means of a circular voting token. The gallery also required the identity to be flexible and able to evolve over the coming years and so we proposed that the aesthetic would adapt in the future by way of changing the signature typography and spot colour.
The exhaustive list of deliverables across both print and digital platforms allowed us to really play with and explore the identity’s potential — these involved; nationwide outdoor marketing campaign, invitations, promotional materials, indoor & outdoor exhibition way-finding & signage, fully branded interactive interior space within the exhibition itself (interpretation room), leaflets, flyers, social media content, assets for film, tote bags and gift shop merchandise.