• Transform magazine
  • August 15, 2018

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Houses of Parliament rebrands with 'portcullis for the digital age'

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One of the most iconic institutions in the UK, and perhaps even the world, the UK parliament, has launched a new visual identity. The project, led by London-based design agency SomeOne, intends to further unify the previously disparate identities of the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

The updated design will help propel the UK Parliament towards a more digitally-ready future, while retaining its pre-eminence as a historic legacy organisation.

Dating back to the 1300s, the body now recognised as the UK Parliament is the supreme legislative body of the UK, its crown dependencies and overseas territories. The Houses of Parliament, the buildings comprising the overall body, follow a bicameral structure, in that it is comprised of both the upper chamber, the House of Lords, and the lower chamber, the House of Commons. To that end, SomeOne has created an identity which unites this bicameral approach under one unified identity, enabling consistency and clarity across digital platforms.

'Clarity, simplicity and efficiency all drive the new design work, so that anyone can get to the information they want, when they want and how they want it,” says Simon Manchipp, co-founder of SomeOne. “This was always going to be a project with many opinions,” adds Beth Baines, account manager at SomeOne. “All parts of parliament have been consulted throughout the process, ensuring a very smooth and efficient deployment of the new design work.”

The new design takes aspects of the UK Parliament’s legacy and translates it into an identity befitting for the contemporary era. Given that a main source of government information is via the internet, establishing a design befitting of the variety of digital platforms accessed by curious outsiders was vital. Described by SomeOne as a ‘portcullis for the digital age,’ SomeOne has developed a new version of the iconic crowned portcullis icon. As the principal symbol of the UK Parliament, the portcullis is now in three optimised sizes and can be applied to perform on small, medium and large applications.

“Rather than repetitively stamping a single symbol on all communications, we’ve developed a more in-depth design system to accommodate any kind of application,” Cosmo Jameson, senior designer at SomeOne.

UK Parliament’s new design system is hosted and managed on the Cloudlines platform. This enables anyone developing, designing or producing new parliamentary communications to access the full system, its principles and key applications.

The move towards further establishing a digital identity for parliament comes amid a time of change in the UK political arena. In July 2017, the governmental Department for Media Culture and Sport became the Department for Digital, Media, Culture and Sport; January 2018 saw the first minister of digital, Matt Hancock MP, appointed secretary of state for digital, media, culture and sport. This was followed by the launch of the Matt Hancock app, a true hint at how the notoriously staid UK parliament and the government more generally hopes to revolutionise its future internal and external communications strategies.

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UK Parliament Responsive Logo from SomeOne on Vimeo

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Houses of Parliament rebrands