Grey London is putting its Jewish founders’ names above the door, rebranding to Valenstein & Fatt and creating a new identify. In 1917 New York, anti semitism was rife and they knew their names could cost them business, so they named the company after the colour of the wallpaper, Grey. So much has changed yet little has changed. Against rising xenophobia and political isolationism, the move is a statement of the agency’s commitment to diversity and openness. But more than symbolic, this move is also intended to be the spark for 100 days of action to drive diversity in an industry that has been too slow to change. CEO Leo Rayman says, “Recent events have sent shivers through our society and businesses, but they should also inspire a collective and determined attitude that our country and our companies will not change for the worse.” The move to Valenstein & Fatt has been launched with a powerful film, a new website, valensteinandfatt.com, and a new census.
Valenstein & Fatt Design Elements
The agency has dropped the famous Grey San Serif for a new logotype set in Century Schoolbook, a typeface designed in 1917 by a foundry just a few blocks from Lawrence and Arthur’s first office. The modern but familiar design uses a black and white colour palette to reference the founders’ time in 1910s New York and emphasises the fact that diversity isn’t just black and white. The installation of a beautifully crafted Valenstein & Fatt logo set in solid concrete at the agency’s Hatton Garden offices symbolises the solid foundation and building blocks of Lawrence and Arthur’s actions.
Century Schoolbook Typeface
Dan Rhatigan, renowned typographer, talks about the origins of Century Schoolbook and why it was chosen as the the typeface for the Valenstein & Fatt logo.
The Grey Pseudonym
Mary Ghiorsi, Grey’s archivist, paints a picture of the industry in the 1920s and considers what led Larry and Arthur to conceal their true identities.