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London Design Festival Graphic Identity

Since 2007, creative agency Pentagram have produced a range of identities for each iteration of the Festival - responding to, and anticipating, trends in design and typology. While the Festival's colour theme of white on red has been consistent, Pentagram have adapted each brief to produce distinctive visual identities to ensure that each edition of the Festival stands alone.

Domenic Lippa, of Pentagram, has been involved for over ten years in the design of the Festival's graphic identity. Lippa says, "Red is the colour of London; the buses, the phone boxes and the pillar boxes ... the brief was just to make it impactful, and in a way that's never changed each year."


For 2020, Pentagram wanted to (metaphorically) fill London with design. They developed the idea of filling any space we’re promoting with words and letters which relate to the Festival, such as ‘LDF’, ‘London’, ‘Design’, ‘Festival’ and ‘2020’. They adapted the typography to reduce the negative space in order to completely fill the page or screen. 


London Design Festival is all about impact and this year’s identity makes a strong and confident statement. 2020 has brought its own unique challenges, but despite the difficult situation we’ve all faced in the past few months, Pentagram very much believe this will be a great – albeit quite different – year for LDF.



The 2019 identity is based on Shorthand. The world is experiencing the fastest changes in technology, innovation, culture and society. Our lives have been transformed, and design is at the centre of this. Ideas are being shared and communicated quicker than ever: London Design Festival is at the forefront of this, and the 2019 identity reflects this dynamism through typography. 


London Typeface

This year's graphic identity draws from Edward Johnston’s 1916 typeface Johnston, famed for its use on London Underground. The font is one of the most iconic pieces of design London has brought to the world. It’s a humanist, democratic font, and everyone can access it so this was the source for the idea.  The identity is playful, showcasing the nature of the Festival itself. Pentagram have designed interventions into the font, fracturing the typeface and creating something ever-evolving and relatable. 




Pentagram's 11th consecutive visual identity for London Design Festival used red neon lettering, artfully captured by John Ross, in an effort to pay homage to the uniqueness of London's urban beauty.


Design Is In The Detail

The 2016 Festival identity was inspired by Eames’ belief that the details make the design. London Design Festival’s title was used as the basis of the graphic solution and was zoomed into at several points. This focus on the minutiae revealed the negative spaces and elegant swashes of the characters themselves.


Design Takes London

Every year London Design Festival brings a city-wide celebration of design to London. A selection of emphatic newspaper-style statements drew attention to the Festival and the city it occupies. This route referenced the newspaper bulletin boards, wheat-paste posters and flyers that would have been used to raise awareness of events in days gone by. These were visualised in the style of a series of posters applied repetitively and frenetically over existing advertisements traditionally found in an urban environment. 


Lose Yourself in Design

London is a huge and unplanned city where even the most experienced visitors can lose their way. For the 2014 Festival, Pentagram honoured London’s chaotic nature by challenging visitors to “Lose yourself in the London Design Festival”. This sentiment inspired the maze graphic, which at the time was a distinct break from the typographic London Design Festival identities of previous years. It invited visitors to explore the Festival without a set agenda and happen upon exciting events, projects and installations that they may not have otherwise have discovered.


Design is Everywhere

For London Design Festival 2013, Pentagram developed a theme titled 'Design is Everywhere', reflecting the fact that design is involved in every aspect of our lives, from door handles to cities.



Celebrating 10 Years of Design

In 2012, London Design Festival celebrated its 10th anniversary. Pentagram produced a visual identity which drew attention to the achievements, and future ambitions, of the Festival.


Design from all Angles

For the 2011 edition of the Festival, Pentagram responded by producing a visual identity which played with fragments and angles - distorting and disrupting typography to produce an active, and dynamic, visual experience.



Facts and Figures

In 2010, Pentagram produced a theme which made use - for the first time - of an expressive brushwork style of typography, departing from the cleaner look which had preceded it.


Be Bold, Make a Statement

For the 2009 edition of the Festival, Pentagram's identity urged visitors to look at design as a way of making a statement. The graphic identity echoed this, drawing a clear line between design, identity, and expression.


All Things Design

In 2008, the Festival invited visitors to think about - and explore - design from a variety of perspectives and disciplines; from graphic design to interiors, video games, and urban planning.



Painting the Town Red

2007 was the first year in which Pentagram designed the Festival's graphic identity. With 'Painting the Town Red', Dom Lippa and the Pentagram Team observed that 'London Design Festival is an opportunity for London to have a voice and a presence.' The fractured theme offered an opportunity to break open design as a diverse and creative practice, where innovation walks hand in hand with iconic designs and materials.