Liberty is a luxury department store in London, England, located on Great Marlborough Street. Housed in a mock-Tudor building, the store stocks its renowned fabrics, as well as selling clothing, beauty and homeware. The Liberty brand is instantly recognisable and synonymous with the very best in contemporary design. Pentagram were tasked with taking the identity and brand forward, and future proofing Liberty’s position in the next chapter.
Colophon collaborated closely with Harry Pearce’s team at Pentagram London. The brief was to create a typeface that would be able to strike a balance between different and opposing qualities, being both timeless yet timely, masculin and feminine, craft as well as machined. Pentagram referenced the original sign that hung above the store’s Great Marlborough Street entrance, redrawing it and using this as a catalyst for the full typeface. Working alongside Pentagram, Colophon developed the typeface into a robust and working typeface that would withstand the numerous environments it would be applied to.
The typeface’s main characteristics include tapered stroke endings, alongside a low x-height, and a variety of nuanced characters such as a distinctive curved ‘Epsilon’ style letter ‘E’. These elements manage to balance being idiosyncratic, whilst still feeling contemporary. Lasenby Sans is named after the founder of the Liberty Department Store, Arthur Lasenby Liberty (1843 – 1917), a merchant who opened Liberty & Co in 1875 selling ornaments, fabrics and miscellaneous objets d’art from the Far East.
The application of the typeface included its use within the wordmark, but also a series of unexpected and unapologetic typographic executions, which captured the essence of the eccentric Liberty brand. The craft and detailing of the typeface allowed for these uncommon applications.
Ensuring the brand refresh was cost-effective and sustainable, the new branding will gradually be introduced to customers over a period of time through Liberty’s different touchpoints. This new identity will help widen Liberty’s appeal, and attract further customers worldwide, whilst allowing internal teams to have the tools to future proof.