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Pentagram Unveils Sleek New Brand Identity For Sotheby’s

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The new logo for Sotheby’s features the Mercury serif typeface

Pentagram has unveiled a sleek new brand identity for venerable auction house Sotheby’s.

The unveiling is the culmination of two years of work, during which the agency was tasked to revamp the company’s website, magazine and catalog. The last time Sotheby’s underwent a branding facelift was 12 years ago, after its CEO Alfred Taubman was caught in a price-fixing conspiracy with rival auction house Christie’s.

Established in London in 1744, the auction house is now headquartered in New York City and has salesrooms in Paris, Zurich, Milan, Geneva, Beijing, Hong Kong and Doha.

The new Sotheby’s logo features a typeface change from the Gill Sans sans serif to the Mercury serif, providing a modern and elegant visual update befitting the stature of the 300-year-old firm.

Unlike the old typeface, it is scalable and maintains its design well. Benton San was chosen for the secondary typeface which will be used across communication channels, while Freight will be used for display and headlines.

According to Pentagram partner Abbott Miller in an interview with Fast Company, the new logo “has a great new/old sensibility to it” and is “chiseled, classic, and refined.”

The website now features dramatic, full-bleed photographs of the art pieces, presented in such a way that better shows how they will look like in a buyer’s home. Sotheby’s also hired its first-ever photo editor to curate and handle the slideshow on its homepage.

The clean and minimal redesigned magazine and catalog presents images against a white background, letting buyers better envision how they will look like in galleries and museums.

This meticulous attention to detail extended to invoices as well–“An invoice is actually a really important brand expression. Frankly, the old invoice form wasn’t very nice. It seemed like it came from the accounting office and not the brand itself. It should feel as cared for as the catalog that you saw that led you to bid on the object,” said Miller.

Head over to the revamped Sotheby’s website to see the changes for yourself and read more about the rebranding here.

What do you think of Sotheby’s new identity?


Above: The old Sotheby’s logo featuring the sans serif Gills Sans typeface; below: the new Mercury serif typeface provides a modern and elegant update

The redesigned Sotheby’s website features a slideshow on its homepage and large, full-bleed images

Artworks are presented to show how they will look like in museums, galleries, and potential buyers’ homes

The company’s editorial direction is highlighted in videos

Redesigned Sotheby’s catalogs

Benton Sans is the typeface used for catalogs

Covers of the redesigned Sotheby’s magazines

Stationery featuring the new brand identity

The meticulous attention to detail extends to aprons and bid paddles

The Mercury typeface is used for the bid paddles

The redesigned wordmark on a banner

[via Fast Company, images via Pentagram]
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