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New Work: Grant Thornton

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Angus Hyland and his team have designed the new identity system for Grant Thornton international, a major global organisation of accounting and consulting firms with member and correspondent firms in over 100 countries worldwide.

The identity creates a unified international brand for the organisation’s network of independently owned and managed firms. Hyland has created a completely new logo, along with comprehensive print and website systems based around a bold illustration-led graphic approach.

Hyland’s new logo was created to communicate permanence, consistency and flexibility. It introduces a new brand colour, purple, which is synonymous with dignity and governance and provides brand differentiation in a market sector traditionally dominated by the colour blue. The logo also features a custom-drawn wordmark designed in collaboration with type specialists Dalton Maag.

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As an organisation, Grant Thornton prides itself on the ability of its member firms to build relationships with clients that are characterised by the personality, communication and consistency of working relationships more typical of smaller organisations, supplemented by the collective resources and expertise of a worldwide brand.

The independently owned and managed firms that constitute Grant Thornton reflect the diversity of the markets in which they operate. Differences in scale, market share and local expertise means that no two member firms are the same. Key to Hyland’s work was the creation of an identity with global appeal, backed-up by scaleable design resources that would give member firms of any size the ability to comfortably adopt the new system.

Grant Thornton has defined its brand through a policy of “Thought leadership”: actively taking a position on issues that affect business and the wider public interest. Hyland has made this forthright approach a visual feature of the brand by basing his identity around ‘editorial’ illustration.

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The author of several best-selling books on contemporary illustration, Hyland has used his specialist knowledge to define a visual language that utilises illustration to communicate abstract themes and concepts in a confident, clear, personal tone.

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Hyland commissioned a team of leading illustrators including Alan Baker, Luke Best, Marion Deuchars, Shonagh Rae and Aude Van Ryn to create a set of thematic illustrations. Used in conjunction with an extensive set of guideline documents, these illustrations will form the basis of a central image bank. Also included in the guidelines are criteria that instruct member firms on how to commission illustration locally. Locally commissioned illustration will be added to the central image bank, ensuring that Grant Thornton member firms have access to up-to-date, high quality illustration with which to create globally consistent communications.

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A bank of illustrated icons created by Marion Deuchars will be used to enliven content and enhance the distinctive editorial look-and-feel established by the commissioned illustration. The collection already contains more than 150 unique icons in over 1,000 colour combinations and is intended to be expanded and updated in-line with the main image bank.

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<img alt="GT_website.jpg" src="http://blog.pentagram.com/GT_website.jpg" width="450" height="307"
title="The new Grant Thornton International website, designed by Pentagram with web production by
Apt Studio. Click on the image to visit.” />

Each Grant Thornton member firm maintains its own website, for which it has its own particular requirements and resources. As a consequence, Hyland’s solution for a Grant Thornton web presence draws on the centralised resources that were created for printed communications. In collaboration with Apt Studio, who acted as web producers, Hyland devised a set of customisable web templates that are scaleable to the needs of the individual member firms.

Photography by Nick Turner