Gillman Barracks

Rebranding Singapore’s premier visual arts precinct


National Arts Council Singapore

Year 2018—2020
  • Visual Identity
  • Content Strategy
  • Art Direction
  • Campaign
  • Print
  • Digital
  • Motion
  • Wayfinding

Constructed in 1936 as military barracks for the British army, Gillman Barracks (GB) was relaunched in 2012 as a contemporary arts cluster, housing leading international and home-grown galleries, alongside an array of cafes, bars and restaurants.

In 2018, Practice Theory was appointed by the National Arts Council (NAC) to undertake a full brand and visual refresh for the precinct. Our research led us to an archival photo of the barracks’ original signage. Recognising the historical significance of the place, the image proved to be a key point of departure for the rebrand, allowing us to authentically ground our design in one of barracks’ very first modes of communication.

Image of Gillman Barracks entrance 1956. Courtsey of Bill Mundy, 84 Survey Squadron RE.

We expanded the iconic signpost into a flexible visual system. With a strong voice and cross-platform adaptability, we devised the ‘GB Frame’—a grid system that simultaneously anchored the cluster’s general communications while laying a creative foundation for the barracks’ many unique standalone events. While existing brand colours were retained for effective recall, the rebrand introduced a fresh typographic approach and new typeface.

As the new identity matured over time, the GB logo took a backseat and became an understated sign-off. The overall visual language could then step forward and claim centre stage, allowing the system to function as identity.

Singapore Art Week, 2021

Art After Dark, 2020

Practice Theory