London’s National Portrait Gallery (NPG) has unveiled a new brand ahead of its reopening the summer following the biggest redevelopment in its history.
The NPG shut its doors in 2020 to carry out the Inspiring People project and used the closure as a chance to refresh its brand, which had not been updated for nearly 20 years. The new look was created by branding specialists Edit Brand Studio and Boardroom.
Inspiring People is the NPG’s biggest development since the building opened in 1896 in St Martin’s Place. It has been supported by grants from the Blavatnik Family Foundation, National Lottery Heritage Fund, Garfield Weston Foundation and the Ross Foundation.
“Our new visual identity, which is rooted on our history but ready for our future, represents us well as we enter this exciting new chapter,” said NPG director Nicholas Cullinan.
“Construction work is still ongoing in many areas of the building as we get ready for our reopening. And with the 22 June in sight, it won't be long until the big reveal, when we'll be able to show our magnificent building and new galleries.”
The Inspiring People redevelopment will see a comprehensive re-presentation of the gallery’s collection across 40 refurbished galleries. The project also includes restored historic features and a new and more welcoming visitor entrance and public forecourt.
The NPG has raised more than £44m for the Inspiring People project, which covers its original £35.5m target for the first phase. The extra money has enabled it to start a further phase of development, including the purchase of a ticket kiosk on Irving Street, just outside its new entrance and forecourt. This structure will provide opportunities for the gallery to expand its public space and programme offer.
The NPG received 1.5 million visitors in 2019-20, although these figures were impacted by the gallery’s early closure in March 2020 due to the pandemic. Its visitor target for the first year of reopening is 1.9 million visitors.
The first exhibition to open as part of the gallery’s programme for this year will explore the life and career of the 20th-century photographer, Yevonde, who pioneered the use of colour photography in the 1930s. Yevonde: Life and Colour runs until 15 October.
In the week that follows the gallery’s reopening, it will unveil Paul McCartney Photographs 1963-64: Eyes of the Storm (28 June – 1 October 2023). This display will share an archive of rediscovered and never-before-seen photographs taken by McCartney during his time with The Beatles.