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Design - Design for British Telecom corporate identity

Design for British Telecom corporate identity

  • Object:

    Design

  • Place of origin:

    London (Wolff Olins is based in London, made)

  • Date:

    1991 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown
    Wolff Olins (producers)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Screen print on paper

  • Museum number:

    E.1837-1997

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level E, case MD, shelf 35

This design is one of a sequence showing a stage in the visual development of a brand for a multinational company.

As part of a new strategic direction, British Telecom hired the brand business Wolff Olins to redesign their logo in the late 1980s. In the wake of its privatisation, the company wanted to move away from its image as a faceless, state-owned telecommunications system and instead stress the human aspect of its activities. Launched in 1991, the logo of the piper blowing a trumpet was designed with this goal in mind. The graceful image took inspiration from Modernist painters like Matisse and Picasso. Wolff Olins actively encouraged its designers to reinterpret the pioneering work of fine artists and to experiment with symbolism, an approach which is evident in this design.

At one point there were as many as forty people in separate teams working on the BT project. It became a laborious process of drawing, submitting the ideas for evaluation, then re-drawing and refining.

Wolff Olins suggested that David Hockney should render the final image, but in the end it was painted by an anonymous artist. Although the logo was criticised in the press, it did remain in use until 2003.

Physical description

Screen print of pipe (double headed) player (full figure, in profile) in red and blue on white paper.

Place of Origin

London (Wolff Olins is based in London, made)

Date

1991 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown
Wolff Olins (producers)

Materials and Techniques

Screen print on paper

Dimensions

Height: 29.7 cm, Width: 42 cm

Descriptive line

Design for British Telecom corporate identity by Wolff Olins, 1991

Materials

Ink; Paper

Techniques

Screen print

Categories

Advertising; Designs

Production Type

Design

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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