Rufus Leonard designs Leibovitz show communications

Rufus Leonard has designed the communications for the National Portrait Gallery’s autumn blockbuster exhibition, which explores the personal life of celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz.

The consultancy, which repositioned and redesigned the National Portrait Gallery identity in 2003, was appointed six months ago from the roster, without a pitch, to create a suite of marketing materials for the exhibition, including invitations, posters, banners, bus ads and postcards.

The brief, according to Rufus Leondard strategy director Andrew Pinkess, was heavily instructed by Leibovitz, who provided only a handful of personal images to illustrate communications materials.

‘She was quite specific about what she wanted from the communications and expressed these views through the gallery. The exhibition is about her life over a 15-year period, and the two themes of her professional work against the backdrop of her private life,’ says Pinkess.

‘The look is simple and unfinished, with things like numbers around the contact sheet still visible, giving images a slightly grainy, earthy quality –that’s picked up in the images we’ve used. We also used whole images – one of the requests was that there would be no crops,’ he adds.

The exhibition includes more than 175 photographs comprising Leibovitz’s best-known work, as well as more intimate images of her family and close friends.

Annie Leibovitz: A Photographer’s Life, 1990-2005 opens at the National Portrait Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London WC2 today, and runs until 1 February 2009.

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