PEN Centenary Archive

PEN Centenary Archive

PEN is a global charity, headquartered in Barcelona, that works on behalf of authors and poets fighting censorship and oppression.

I helped them bring their rich archive to life, creating an ontology-based experience that allows visitors to plot their own narratives through content from PEN centres around the world. As part of the project I extended their visual brand to create a unique identity for the Centenary Archive.

This project was a partnership with Long White Digital, who are building the site as you read this, ready for a November launch.

Services

User experience design
Brand strategy
Brand design
Visual design

User experience design
Brand strategy
Brand design
Visual design

PEN Centenary homepage on a large screen

The site was designed to position PEN's purpose centre stage. This isn't just a way of viewing their rich archive, it's a way of contextualising their mission and achievements through history.

An emphasis on stories throughout the experience humanises the archive, bringing it to life through the eyes of the people involved.

An emphasis on stories throughout the experience humanises the archive, bringing it to life through the eyes of the people involved.

PEN stories page on a large screen
A detail page for an item from the archive

As you delve deeper into the archive you're rewarded with rich context around people, places, and events. The site's ontological structure means you can follow narrative threads around the site, moving horizontally through the taxonomy based on each archive piece's attributes.

A quote from Storm Jameson, the first female president of English PEN: “We are fighting for the belief that all men, of all races and religion, should respect each other and minds should be free”
A screenshot of the style guide showing type

Typography and colour extended the existing PEN brand to create a unique identity for the archive. Ultimately, these elements will be used across digital and physical touchpoints.

Typography and colour extended the existing PEN brand to create a unique identity for the archive. Ultimately, these elements will be used across digital and physical touchpoints.

A screenshot of the style guide showing colours
The PEN archive homepage on a phone
Archive search results on a phone
Archive item detail page on a phone