National Portrait Gallery unveils new brand identity and programme ahead of 2023 reopening

London’s National Portrait Gallery has revealed its new branding and full 2023-2024 programming information ahead of its much-anticipated June 2023 reopening

National Portrait Gallery new brand identity
(Image credit: National Portrait Gallery)

The National Portrait Gallery in London has revealed its new brand identity and full 2023-2024 programming information ahead of its grand reopening on 22 June 2023. 

The gallery, which has been closed to visitors since March 2020, worked with creative designers Edit Brand Studio, and brand strategists Boardroom Consulting to conceive the new vision for the National Portrait Gallery (NPG), which aims to better capture the gallery’s role in narrating Britain’s past, present and future through portraiture. 

Advertising posters on tiled wall showing National Portrait Gallery new branding and logo

(Image credit: National Portrait Gallery)

The design draws on motifs from the reimagining of the Grade I-listed building, which is being transformed and reconfigured by Jamie Fobert Architects as part of the Inspiring People project. 

‘As we draw closer to our reopening on 22 June and revealing our complete transformation, this is the perfect time to launch our new brand,’ comments Nicholas Cullinan, director of the National Portrait Gallery. ‘Building on the concept of our architectural renovation, which is to reveal and celebrate our history while creating a gallery fit for 21st-century audiences, our new brand reflects our rich heritage but reimagined to be more relevant to more people in 2023 and beyond.’

London Underground poster showing National portrait gallery rebranding

(Image credit: National Portrait Gallery)

The new identity debuts a new monogram, logotype, typeface and sleek colour palette, inspired by paint and materials in the building and archive, as well as the gallery’s own portrait collection. The new logo, which sees the initials ‘NPG’ entwined, draws on an original sketch by the gallery’s first director, Sir George Scharf, who entwined and encircled ‘NPG’ in a workbook, dated 1893.

The symbol has now been reimagined for the gallery by illustrator and typographer, Peter Horridge, best known for his logos and crests created for some of Britain’s leading institutions, from Liverpool Football Club to Liberty’s department store.

National Portrait Gallery typography new logo design

(Image credit: National Portrait Gallery)

A contemporary new typeface that’s part of the brand identity, NPG Serif, was created by type foundry Monotype and is rooted in historic font references found throughout the gallery.

‘When we started working with the National Portrait Gallery, we quickly understood the requirement to create a brand for so much more than a gallery,’ said Karen Hughes, creative director of Edit Brand Studio. ‘We were creating a brand for a shop, a new café, a fine dining restaurant, a learning centre, family activities and even a night out. Putting the vast, magnificent and diverse Collection front and centre, we’ve therefore created a brand that can flex and mean lots of different things to lots of different people, whilst still feeling part of a strong, distinctive, unified whole.’

National Portrait Gallery new logo design on tote bag

(Image credit: National Portrait Gallery)

National Portrait Gallery logo design

(Image credit: National Portrait Gallery)

Coinciding with the new brand identity launch, the National Portrait Gallery has unveiled its programming information from 2023-2024, including trailblazing female photography, new work by David Hockney, and an exhibition reframing the Black figure in art. 

Yevonde: Life and Colour
22 June – 15 October 2023

Paul McCartney Photographs 1963–64: Eyes of the Storm
28 June – 1 October 2023

David Hockney: Drawing from Life
2 November 2023 – 21 January 2024

Taylor Wessing Photo Portrait Prize 2023
9 November 2023 – 25 February 2024

The Time is Always Now: Artists Reframe the Black Figure
22 February – 19 May 2024

Francesca Woodman and Julia Margaret Cameron: Portraits to Dream In
21 March – 30 June 2024

Harriet Lloyd-Smith was the Arts Editor of Wallpaper*, responsible for the art pages across digital and print, including profiles, exhibition reviews, and contemporary art collaborations. She started at Wallpaper* in 2017 and has written for leading contemporary art publications, auction houses and arts charities, and lectured on review writing and art journalism. When she’s not writing about art, she’s making her own.