Borde Hill country gardens’ identity inspired by organic forms

Here introduces botanical design language across the identity, from a leafy wordmark to its floral monogram.

Here has developed a new identity for English country house and gardens Borde Hill, with a monogram that features the funnel-shaped white flower of a rare Chinese Henry’s emmenopterys tree.

Though 400-year-old, family-run house has attracted visitors to its gardens throughout its history, but its branding had taken on “a slightly functional, generic feel”, targeting predominantly older audiences, according to Here design associate Thomas Lacey. He says the family reached out to Here looking to reposition the destination in a way that would better convey its outdoor education programme and hospitality offer, while also showcasing “the restorative power of nature”.

Lacey describes how walking through Borde Hill’s gardens for the first time was “very different from a standard English Country House”, as there is “a wildness alongside the more rigorous plant husbandry and moments of real surprise”. This links to Borde Hill’s philosophy – right plant, right place – which means it “eclectic diversity of trees and flora” are planted in places wherever they have the best chance of thriving, creating “informality in the garden rooms” through “interesting, idiosyncratic combinations”, says senior strategist Chloe Schneider.

Here wanted to carry this “nature first approach” into the strategy and brand world, according to Schneider, starting with the wordmark.

Botanical design language – specifically the form of leaves and stems – features in the wordmark. The dot of the ‘i’ is a subtle nod to a seed and “speaks to the continued growth and change that lies at the heart of Borde Hill”, says Lacey.

Each character has been drawn using contrasting widths, with “wide, open counters to add elegance and lightness”, while the short serifs seek to convey a “grounded yet contemporary” feel, he explains. Depending how you view it, the font demonstrates both “moments of delicacy and strength”, Lacey adds.

The Henry’s emmenopterys plant – a rare deciduous Chinese tree – was first planted at Borde Hill in 1928. The tree is “so rare as to almost be unique to Borde Hill”, says Lacey, which is why the studio chose to weave one of its funnel-like flowers into the BH monogram.

A suite of illustrative icons was also designed for Borde Hill, to be used as a wayfinding system across the site. Some are more overt, like the “unique oak” and acorn that direct visitors to the parklands and woodlands, says Lacey, and others more subtle, such as the keys that signify the soon to be opened onsite accommodation which also feature “little fronds” from the plant in the monogram hidden inside.

Looking to the plants in the garden, Here opted for a bright core colour palette to indicate “the modern future of the brand”, says Lacey. It includes forest green, magnolia pink, bud green and sunshine yellow.

The studio commissioned South Korean/Danish photographer (based in the South West of England) Emli Benedixen to shoot the new photography for Borde Hill. Lacey describes her ability to “capture nature and peoples’ interactions with it in a way that manages to blur the line between aspirational and incredibly relatable”, adding that her photography “elevates simple things like mist hanging in a field, or someone de-heading a rose bush”.

For the brand voice, Here was tasked with devising an “egalitarian” tone, appealing to everyone “from families to foodies” to “locals and London day trippers”, says Schneider. She adds that the new voice is “warm and welcoming, with an unexpected twist”, defined by its headline phrase: A Garden of Possibility.


Start the discussionStart the discussion
  • Post a comment

Latest articles

From the archives: Picture Post

As we head back into our archives, here’s a gem from March 1990. Jane Lewis looks at the creative ways design firms promoted their services through mail-outs.