Established in 1931 (originally as EMI Studios), Abbey Road Studios is a recording studio — arguably and self-described as “The world’s most famous recording studio” — located at 3 Abbey Road in London. Housed in a nine-bedroom Georgian townhouse, a English Heritage site since 2010, Abbey Road Studios has served some of the most iconic musicians from The Beatles and Pink Floyd to Taylor Swift and Kanye West. Today, the studio continues its recording, mixing, and mastering practice for artists as well as movie scores and remains as one of the bastions of the music industry. Earlier this year Abbey Road Studios introduced a new identity designed by London-based Form.
The connection between The Beatles and the Studios was cemented with the Abbey Road album with it’s iconic cover of the band on the zebra crossing. Rather than ignore the crossings’ black and white stripes, we have re-imagined it to celebrate a new era for Abbey Road.
Based around one black stripe moving across a 3 dimensional plane we formed a directional ‘chevron’ which points North West indicating the Studios’ location within London and is suggestive of the distinctive parquet flooring prevalent throughout the recording Studios. As the logo becomes more well known, the chevron shape will develop to be used as a container for other imagery as well as moving image.
The previous logo could have been for any recording studio in the world but while it personally gives me the hibbie jibbies with that extra tightly spaced Helvetica, it’s a relatively okay logo. The new one takes the black and white cue from the zebra crossing in The Beatles’ famous album, whose cover was photographed outside the studio, to wrap a thick, black line on a cube. (Why a cube? Not sure, but makes for a cool graphic!). It also hints at the parquet floor of the studio (see below). So although the resulting logo might also feel a bit generic — you can put any other company name inside the chevron and it would work — the solution is rooted in relevant ideas with a good story to tell. The logo is bold and energetic and the typography is so much better and perfectly typeset. The logo system is nice too, allowing for some additional messaging to be placed inside the black area.
The chevron logo is however only the tip of the iceberg: It develops into a whole visual language and a series of patterns. We commissioned graphic artist a href=”https://instagram.com/xpatrickthomas” target=”_blank”>Patrick Thomas to re-interpret and re-imagine the black and white stripes of the zebra crossing and which also feature the chevron and the new red sub-brand colour. This creates a dynamic visual world which lends itself perfectly to a forthcoming range of consumer facing merchandise as well as all new brand collateral.
In application, the logo’s chevron serves as the starting point for a range of abstract, geometric compositions that yield a fun and vibrant system that’s both designy and artsy. (I could do without some of the Charlie Brown-esque stripes but that’s a minor quibble). Overall, an enjoyable update that gives the studio its own voice.