“Loosening the Reins”
Established in 1340, not a typo, the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple is one of the four Inns of Court, the professional associations for barristers in England and Wales, to which any barrister wishing to practice must belong to. Divided into three categories — students, Barristers, and Masters of the Bench (Benchers) — the Inner Temple has over 12,000 members, including Judges, Barristers (both practising and non-practising), and students providing legal training and regulation for its members. Recently, the Inn introduced a new identity designed by London, UK-based SomeOne.
With an organization like The Inner Temple, the branding had very much evolved, rather than benefitted from being designed as a whole. Colours fluctuated, strategies varied, stories changed… but there was one constant. The Pegasus.
Many brands love their logo, and we’ve said before that a logo is only a small part of a brand’s arsenal, but here, the mythical creature adorned almost every aspect of the Inn. From crockery to cufflinks to the very fabric of the buildings — there was no escaping the winged horse.
The old logo was clumsily executed but it got the job done in looking like a serious institution… one where boring things happen. The new logo, by contrast, makes it feel like a combination of Harry Potter– and To Kill A Mockingbird-level exciting things are going to happen. The 3D pegasus drawing is completely unexpected — especially at a time where it’s minimalist-everything — and the dramatic execution of the 3D rendering commands attention. It’s almost hard to form a proper opinion about this as it’s such an uncommon approach. The opulence of the pegasus is grounded with an elegant sans serif, Fontsmith’s Sienna, that reins in the pegasus and hints that this is still a serious organization.
Since the practice of Law, Justice & Order comes from truth & accuracy, we set out to create the most truthful and accurate depiction of a Pegasus ever attempted by the brand.
We started with filming horses in real life, analysing their skeletons, muscle, skin and hair. We looked at how a wing might connect to their shoulder, and built a highly accurate model of the winged horse.
Every detail down to the silky sheen of the coat to the imperfections found in feathers was carefully crafted to create an ultra high definition CGI model that can be photographed from any angle, resulting in an instant library of brand assets.
The crops of the pegasus can be quite stunning and the attention to detail is pretty impressive. The resulting white-on-white compositions are dramatic and energetic. The pegasus is a little Westworld-y too, which I think is a good thing… maybe.
We selected a new typeface for the brand. Sienna is designed by London based foundry FontSmith founder Jason Smith, the progressive typographic practice has created a beautiful font perfect for the Inner Temple. The typeface is a contrasted sans-serif typeface, blending classical elegance and modern simplicity. Its construction and proportions are descended from classical broad-nib calligraphy and humanist typefaces, with a high contrast between the thick and thin strokes. The angle of the contrast, though, is vertical, more in the character of pointed-nib calligraphy and modernist typefaces. This vertical stress helps to give FS Siena a strong, cultured presence.
Design trends are seeing a raft of simplistic symbols and dull flat executions arriving thick and fast for multiple sectors, from sport, to TV channels to national institutes. This approach would be a disservice to such a multi-dimensional, scholarly brand. It deserves a well researched and crafted way of representing itself. Which is precisely what we have created.
The typography in the applications is elegant and upscale, which helps in taking the pegasus more seriously. The wrong type and layouts could have made this feel overly cartoony or laughable but all the applications are very nicely balanced and the contrast of white backgrounds and pegasi renderings with the dark blue and gold colors gives it a regal aesthetic that still manages to feel contemporary. Overall, this is an ambitious approach and, since Inns of the Court compete for recruiting and status amongst them, this certainly makes the Inner Temple stand out.