In the space of a week, Johnson Banks delivered the branding for the new educational platform, which uses an acorn as a metaphor for how learning works.
Teaching has taken a surprising turn amid the coronavirus pandemic. Juggling kids, work and home-schooling is a new reality for many families around the country, while teachers are having to adapt lesson plans and structures to keep children educated remotely.
In response to these new circumstances, a group of teachers and educators formed Oak National Academy, a free ‘online classroom’ and resource bank designed to support teachers and help create lesson plans. Given the pressing nature of the situation, Oak National Academy needed a quick turnaround – a week, in fact – and enlisted design studio Johnson Banks to get the brand up and running.Johnson Banks pulled together a team of designers, coders, animators, writers and illustrators, who collaborated across the brand identity, helpful icons, lesson plan templates, and the website at the heart of it all. The brand logo – a floating acorn – draws on oak iconography, which is subtly reinforced by woody tones of rich green and dark violet used across the plaform.
The website design is clean and simplistic, allowing the team to fully realise the project in such a short amount of time. However, the visual design of the platform also makes it straightforward and unintimidating for the vast number of users already recorded – 23,000 lessons were started on the day of the launch, and the website attracted over 200,000 unique visitors within its first few hours.
“We’ve done small identity projects fast before – but creating a nationwide brand across multiple channels, in a week? Very, very testing,” says Michael Johnson, creative director at Johnson Banks. “But very rewarding to do something which is already proving so useful to thousands of teachers, parents and families.”
The organisation provides free cancer support and information for people with cancer and their family and friends from support specialists, psychologists, nutritionists, therapists and benefits advisors in centres across the UK and online.
“Maggie’s was looking for a brand identity that was more visible than before, and would help them stretch from just campaigning to caring and supporting,” says Willer. “They needed to express their point of difference more clearly from lots of other voices in the charity world.”
The team started the identity project by “helping define or articulate the unique perspective a client brings to the world” – in Maggie’s case, being the “everyone’s home of cancer care”, says Willer. It then helped Maggie’s to create a new website and explored how the brand could work across multiple platforms – from print to social media and internal touch points.
“The colours are inspired by the spaces themselves,” says Willer. “Instead of the clinical lighting or materials that are often found in a clinical environment, the centres have very warm natural colours, tending towards tones of orange. In the same way that the new house logo has multiple shapes, we felt that a range of warm colours was more suitable to represent a family of spaces than just one. Each centre is quite individual, but all are extremely welcoming and ‘home-like.’”
A bespoke typeface was created, along with a “human and practical wordmark” set in entirely in upper case to resemble an architect’s handwriting (and avoid any possible confusion with the charity’s founder’s personal signature). Pentagram also redesigned Maggie’s magazine to give it a more lifestyle-like feel – and avoid the “institutional and unappealing” feel of many charity publications. The redesign extended to communications for hospital noticeboards and Maggie’s centres, which are again designed to feel human – rather than cold, clinical or impersonal.
Superunion has been working with LSO since 2017, when it launched a new brand identity for the orchestra inspired by the movement of conductor Sir Simon Rattle’s baton. Previous campaigns have featured CG artwork based on Rattle’s hand gestures, but for LSO’s 2020/21 season, Superunion opted for a different approach, teaming up with Found Studio and dancer Ella Robson Guilfoyle to create a dramatic live-action dance film.
The campaign takes inspiration from the theme of LSO’s upcoming programme, ‘Dancing on the edge of a volcano’, which will see the orchestra perform work created in Europe in the first half of the 20th century. According to Rattle, the phrase was used by Austrian composer Alban Berg to describe the atmosphere in 1930s Germany and captures the mood of an era that produced “some of the darkest music possible”.
For the first shoot, Superunion filmed Robson Guilfoyle performing a series of short dance sequences based on Rattle’s movements (which were recorded using motion capture) while wearing colourful clothing. Footage was captured from above at 50 frames per second using 5K cameras. Guilfoyle then performed a series of movements with flares, sparkles, smoke grenades and chalk dust, which was filmed at 100 frames per second.
For Canadian Tracey Sloga, the struggles of keeping her fashionable boots clean were all too real. After one particularly bad winter, she set out to create a solution that would be easy-to-use while keeping her shoes, boots, and other leather products such as handbags looking good for longer, using all-natural ingredients. Her company Boot Rescue now makes a line of products that includes protective waxes, spray cleaners, and wipes.
“If you were to take a brand new pair of leather boots and walk straight from the store home in them, through slush and salt, and then leave it to dry and soak into the leather, there’s a good chance that the leather would buckle and possibly discolor,” Tracey says. “Yes, even after that one wear.”
“So if someone wasn’t doing anything to care for their footwear before, using BootRescue products could extend their life by many years,” Tracey adds. “This would mean spraying boots when new, waxing from time to time, and always wiping salt off as soon as possible with the wipes.”
British Red Cross is putting goodwill at the centre of its new campaign by VCCP, titled Kindness will keep us together, which features poster designs from a number of UK-based creatives including Anthony Burrill and Supermundane’s Rob Lowe.
To help spread the message and drive donations, 100 limited edition prints are on sale on the Red British Cross website, while black and white versions of the posters are available for children (and adults) to download, colour in, and share on social media or in their windows.
“Today as our nation faces this virus, we want these inspirational artworks to encourage people to take action and join our kindness movement. Remember that though you may be anxious and uncertain, you are not powerless and you are not alone.”
Designer Jamie Paton chose a pair of contrasting typefaces for the identity, mixing a relatively sober sans serif with a more expressive line-drawn style to pick out the ‘I’ and ‘am’ of Lewisham. According to him, the combination reflects the energy and spirit of the area. It’s also expressed in the colour palette, which features purposefully clashing shades of primary blue, red and yellow, alongside pink and grey.
A collage of illustrated patterns and graphics create a sense of spontaneity, designed to make the brand feel as if it was created by the local community.
The identity appeared in posters and flyers across Lewisham in the run up to the bid presentation, to encourage locals to support the effort, as well as a booklet left behind for the selection panel. Studio Raw and Jamie Paton’s efforts clearly made an impact as well, with Lewisham just named London Borough of Culture for 2021 – which will see the area awarded over £1m in funding for cultural events for the local community.
TOTM wanted to be a disruptive femcare brand that stops you dead in your tracks when you see them on the shelf. So, for their redesign, they turned to Marsden/Mee to pump up the volume with these gloriously executed patterns.
“TOTM makes awesome, organic sanitary products for women. Right from the start, TOTM set out to be a disruptive brand, aiming to change the attitudes and behaviors of its target audience. We were initially brought on board to undertake a brand review and look at how the overall identity could better represent the mission and values at the heart of the brand.
The TOTM packaging instantly communicates the key aspects of the TOTM brand proposition: organic, bold, proud. It challenges conventional stereotypes of what an organic brand should look like, using vibrant color combinations and contrasting patterns inspired by shapes and patterns found in nature. Individually, each product is distinctive, and, as a collection, it has stand-out shelf-appeal. The packaging is designed to drive new online dialogue between TOTM and its customers, intentionally bold, and suited to social sharing, making a powerful statement about the values and attitude of the person sharing it.”