Architectural lettering and corporate identity: early branding on commercial buildings
Central Saint Martins
This research takes advantage of the flexibility inherent to lettering in its ability to adapt to different contexts and particular needs, and it is concerned with the pragmatic use of architectural lettering on commercial buildings during the first half of the 20th century, a formative time in the development of concepts later understood in terms of branding and corporate identity.
The main aim of this research is to generate a critical framework for the discussion of the relationship between architectural lettering and the emergent concept of corporate identity. Consequently, and as it happened before in the history of architectural lettering, a second aim of this research will be to record an undocumented aspect of the ‘graphic memory’ in the 20th century and to build a case for the protection of architectural lettering on commercial premises.
Finally, it will be part of this research to identify through the historical record any working processes or techniques that might usefully inform contemporary lettering practices and/or corporate identity strategies.
The methodology will include visual and comparative analysis of different companies as case studies: breweries, transport, pharmaceutical, banks, etc, (Lloyds, RBS Group, Midland Bank, Post Office, Marks & Spencer, Burtons, Boots, Trumans and Underground Group) selected for featuring prominent aspects of what today is called corporate-identity and for having accessible archives.