On New York’s 8th Avenue, a new museum rich with interactive experiences promises that the visitor will “see yourself and the world around you more clearly through the lens of spying”. We look at how a team of creative talent brought this ambitious new experience to life.
Led by Walter,SomeOnewere appointed to work on the brand, developing the Question Everything tagline. Working with type designer Gareth Hague of Alias, SomeOne devised a visual identity scheme in which a bespoke typeface with three cuts plays with the notion of concealment, privacy and cryptography. “The typeface is unusual as it consists of three cuts that can be connected,” says Emily James, Project Lead Designer at SomeOne. “Two ‘redacted’ cuts show only part of the letterform, but often enough to distinguish what character it is. The third cut is a complete letterform that can either be used to hint at the remaining stroke, or used in its entirety for total clarity.”
Why do so many tech companies’ logos look the same? From Google and Airbnb to Spotify and Pinterest, these companies have gradually shifted their branding from idiosyncratic typefaces to remarkably similar sans-serif fonts. This month,a viral tweet from the type studio Oh No Type Co compared those four companies’ former and current logos, demonstrating how alike each company’s current branding looks.
SANS SERIF = SIMPLIFICATION
“My theory is they want to integrate their look and feel from a logo standpoint with their UI. They’re looking for a really cohesive identity, a cohesive experience and look and feel. As they look at their UI for their apps, for their website, or their interface, they’re trying to simplify it. As you simplify, you move away from some of the quirkier and more unique logotypes that these companies originally launched with.” –Howard Belk, co-CEO and chief creative officer at Siegel+Gale
“The amount of visuals the consumer is bombarded by every day is tremendous–in the street, on a laptop, or a smartphone. A visual chaos that makes it hard to navigate into. Impact and, most of all, clarity, have become keywords for all brands. All these bold and neutral logos are telling the consumer the same message: Our brand and our services are simple, straight-forward, and clear. And extremely readable.” –Thierry Brunfaut, creative director and founding partner at Base Design
THE MORE GENERIC, THE MORE RELIABLE
“I see this as a natural step for brands to take as they grow from scrappy startups into established brands. Your goals have shifted from making noise and standing out to being a trusted, dependable part of people’s everyday lives. That heartfelt personality and idiosyncrasy that defined you as you started out, and won over your early adopters, can be a limitation as you aim for broad appeal (and bigger revenue).
“There is an equal danger that we think brand equals color/type/logo, but this avoids the world that brands are now thriving in. More established tech brands deliver their personality through their service, their content, their voice, the way they sound and behave. They can afford to make their personality more present and alive than a startup with one app or one site can ever be–viewed like this, the friendly corporate typefaces of the world aren’t much of an issue.” –Andy Harvey, creative director at Moving Brands
THE LOGO ISN’T THE BRAND ANYMORE
“People at the head of these powerful digital brands, as any strong brand, know very well they are not defined by their logo anymore but by the product or service they provide. They are strong, thanks to what they allow you to do with them. Before, logo designers would look for a ‘concept’ when designing a logo. That is obviously not needed anymore: The brand is the concept. Their logos may look similar, but what they offer is totally different and effective, and that’s what finally counts for the consumer. They are 100% recognizable.
“These brands are now so good at what they do and so widely used they have become part of our everyday life and culture. That’s why they do not need logos anymore, as they become words (or even better, verbs) in our daily language. Sayings like “I will just google this” is the best example. Becoming words, these brands will be articulated in sentences and texts more and more. To reinforce that, most of those brands now spend on designing custom typefaces instead of logos: a custom typeface becoming their recognizable voice on every platform or device.” –Thierry Brunfaut, creative director and founding partner at Base Design
“I think another trend right now is that the logo is not doing all the work. It’s doing a lot less work in terms of defining the identity. So much of the identity now is defined by a lot of elements and experiences that surround the logo, that are supporting it. My metaphor is, think about the logo as the keystone in the bridge. It’s central but there’s a whole bunch of other things around it that keep that bridge intact and get you from one side of the river to another. It has to fit with a lot of other component parts.” –Howard Belk, co-CEO and chief creative officer at Siegel+Gale
SIMPLER LOGOS WORK BETTER ON SMARTPHONES
“Since the great rejection of skeuomorphism in 2007, the tech sector has been endlessly repeating the same ‘flat’ design style chiefly because we don’t need metaphors in UX like we did in the early days of popular tech, and because it just works faster and better on small-screen smartphones. Tech typography has been influenced by this to such an extent that it’s all becoming quite stale and straight-out-of-the-box predictable. But it’s no different to many other categories where visual codes become so entrenched, to see anything else would invite rejection.
“I think if you look across many categories (but not all) you can see the same thing happening. Perhaps not with exactly the same fonts, but certainly a category style. For example, if you look at luxury brands they can be very conformist, as can categories like Scottish whiskey or pain relief. They all have their familiar codes, tropes, and clichés.
“So we’re probably stuck with it for a while yet, until someone blows it all up again. And to that I say, bring it on.” –Nick Clark, executive creative director at Superunion New York
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It is now eight months since a fire ripped through Grenfell Tower in West London, killing 71 people and leaving hundreds without a home.
An inquiry into the fire is still ongoing but as yet no arrests have been made and many of the building’s former residents are still awaiting permanent housing.
To remind people of the tragedy – and the need to seek justice for those affected – community organisation Justice 4 Grenfell has been driving three billboards around London that read: “71 deaths. No arrest. How come?”
The billboards were created by BBH Labs and inspired by the Oscar-nominated film Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – about a mother who hires ad space to raise awareness about her daughter’s unsolved murder. (The billboards in the film feature the same black-and-red design and read: “Raped while dying. And still no arrests. How come, Chief Willoughby?”)
Billboards were driven past St Paul’s and the House of Parliament. Writing on its website, Justice 4 Grenfell said: “These three billboards are here to keep this tragedy in the national conscience, to make our voices heard.”
Many buildings around the UK are still awaiting replacement cladding (the fire at Grenfell is believed to have spread rapidly through the building as a result of cladding which contained a highly flammable material) and local councils have claimed that requests for money to fund refurbishments are not being met.
Penguin Books launches its new Penguin Modern series of editions retailing at £1 each. Echoing its Little Black Books range of 2015, the new covers again rely on a typographic treatment – this time showing off the inventiveness of Avant GardeThe Penguin Modern series launches on February 22. Editions will retail at £1 each. See penguinmodern.com
A sliver of wood was cut from one of the many trees used to build Shakespeare’s Globe in the 1990s. This was used to create the theatre’s new logo. The logo is part of an identity system that aims to challenge perceptions of the Globe as a heritage site aimed at tourists and instead show it as an exciting place to experience Shakespeare’s work.The theatre’s new logo – a 20-sided ring that resembles an ‘O’ – references the theatre’s distinctive shape.
The ‘O’ can be moved around and has no fixed position – it appears in various places and at various sizes on posters and printed material created so far.
The identity also features an all-caps wordmark in typeface Effra (chosen for “its historic roots”) and a red, black and white colour palette (the colours available to printers in Shakespeare’s era).
A successful company has a brand not only a logo. The public should be able to say what the product is without haven to see the logo. A brand is a logo, a fixed colour pallet, the same type used across all media and similar layout on all print material.
As a graphic designer I can help you to create brand guildlines that will take your business to the next level. I can create guildlines from a already formed logo or can create a brand from the start.