Design Manchester 2020

For all the obvious reasons, the festival is taking a more digital approach this year, and has partnered up with institutions and creative hubs from around the world to celebrate creativity and design in difficult times.

This year, Design Manchester’s annual celebration of creativity and design is going online and is set to feature virtual reality events and 3D exhibitions as well as some in-person activities for those based in the city. DM20 has embraced the challenges lockdown and the pandemic has brought on and decided to collaborate with partners all over the world to help bring the festival to life. 

The project will culminate in an auction of all the pieces on display on December 10, with proceeds going to the artists and makers and the We Love MCR Charity, which supports disadvantaged communities.

Finally, in collaboration with Design Manchester and Dutch Design Week, Manchester-based design studios Playground, Ben Clark Design and Barney Ibbotson Illustration are set to create a virtual gallery of the competition they collectively ran during the first lockdown. Called Playhouse, the competition kicked off in April and set the brief to design something to enable people to play at home during lockdown. Open to creatives from all disciplines from all over the world, Playhouse received entries from over 40 countries, and a selection will not only appear as part of the 50 Windows of Creativity commission but also in a special 3D room open to everyone. 

Ikea Christmas ad

Traditionally a time of extravagance, more people are beginning to consider the balance between indulgence and wastefulness as they celebrate the festive season.

Ikea Russia is tackling the issue head on this year with its new campaign, as it encourages a more considered approach to Christmas consumption.

Directed by Ilya Naishuller, the film starts out innocently enough with a typical Christmassy scene of a young boy playing in the snow, soundtracked by festive classic Carol of the Bells.

Virgin Money rebrand

There has been a movement among traditional financial institutions to adopt a more human persona in recent years – largely thanks to younger, cooler challenger banks like Monzoand Starling snapping at their heels.

Virgin Money approached Pentagram’s Luke Powell, Jody Hudson-Powell and Domenic Lippa to create a fresh look to go with its new proposition, as a brand that shares Virgin’s core values but happens to be in banking, as opposed to a financial brand that happens to be part of Virgin.

The new identity looks to move the brand firmly away from the often faceless, corporate look favoured by many financial services companies, and reflect a customer-focused approach to banking.

The design team created a bespoke mono-linear wordmark, with the wider Virgin Money headline font family being built from this geometric logo.

“The overall construction is a balance of geometric curves, nuanced humanist forms, and hard edges and angles, creating a visual form that references Virgin Money’s functional and pragmatic side while embodying its people-centred approach,” says Pentagram.

The instantly recognisable Virgin red is used as the brand’s primary colour, alongside a secondary colour palette of bright blue, purple and white.

A new book is celebrating Norman Ives’ deconstructed designs

Ives experimented with forms, techniques and materials ranging from painting and silk screen prints to murals, sculpture and bas-reliefs. His personal work also encompassed fascinating collage work, and he was a “graphic pioneer” of layering according to Heller.

Ives died in 1978 before the “the wall separating applied from pure art disciplines” had “cracked and shattered in as many places as they have today”, according to Steven Heller, who writes the book’s foreword. He believes that, had Ives lived longer into the 80s and 90s, his work may have been recognised more so along the lines of well-known artists whose practice is closely linked to type and lettering such as Barbara Kruger.

Among Ives’ commercial graphic design work featured in the book are various creations that demonstrate his curious eye for slotting letterforms into complex geometric forms, whether his labyrinthine logomark for BT: Bank, or a densely layered cover design for AIGA journal in the early 70s.

The book’s section on graphic design opens with an excerpt from an essay written by Ives himself in a 1960 volume of Industrial Design journal, where he muses on the limitations imposed on graphic designers, saying that these pave the way for ingenuity: “Restrictions are present wherever products are mass-produced – and they are necessary and desirable. It takes an ingenious and dedicated designer to overcome them or use them to advantage”.

Norman Ives: Constructions and Reconstructions is published by PowerHouse Books, priced $65; powerhousebooks.com

Design studio Blackburn brands Walthamstow based company the pinter

The Walthamstow-based company ran a successful crowdfunding campaign earlier this year to launch The Pinter, a brewing unit that allows you to brew ten pints of fresh beer or cider from the comfort of your own home.ADVERTISING

Studio Blackburn was brought in to create a visual identity for the parent company, along with packaging for The Pinter and the refill Pinter Packs that are delivered to home-brewers across the country.

“The Pinter is truly a world-first – never before could you brew fresh beer at home in around four days and enjoy a genuinely great tasting draught pint,” says Paul Blackburn, who heads up the studio.

“Our design challenge was to effectively define an entirely new category in the world of brewing – conveying the freshness of the end product and innovative technology that delivers it.”Video Player

Branding for Greater Good Fresh Brewing

Wayfinding in Moscow’s Gorky Park

Gorky Park Moscow

The park recently accumulated more grounds to include the Muzeon Park of Arts, Neskuchny Garden and the green hills of Vorobyovy Gory. However many visitors weren’t exploring beyond the original confines of the Gorky Park grounds, so Russian design firm Art Lebedev Studio was brought in to help visitors expand their horizons and discover what else Gorky Park has to offer.

Gorky Park wayfinding

The signage serves a more practical function during the day. By night, however, the signs transform into art objects thanks to backlighting, which showcases eye-catching graphics, animations, moving image works and even film clips, making for a surprising twist that demonstrates how form and function can coexist in harmony.

Drizzle yourself in Luxury

L’ange’s new body care line is clean & stunning in design, making it the minimalist flex in your shower or bathroom counter. Utilizing a stunning line drawing to denote product variants, the rest of the package uses negative space to convey extreme luxury. The funky disjointed brand name gives L’ange a unique personality that makes it jump off the shelves and onto your body. 

Editorial photograph

LA-based beauty company L’ange Hair is going to launch its new body line products. 

The package design is inspired by the natural honeysuckle fragrance that featured in the products. To keep the packages simple and elegant, only line drawing and minimum color are used. White containers with delicate black printing create a slim and graceful sense that corporates with the name “MIDSUMMER”. The differences in illustrations help to identify products and add interesting details for the product line.

Editorial photograph
Editorial photograph

Tea that perfect any time of the day

Every day should begin and end with a good cup of tea. 

Thankfully, Four O’Clock is a a cut above some of the generic tea brands on the market. Utilizing a rich navy that stays consistent across flavor variants, each rectangular box sports stylized images of the flavors contained within the tea, with cinnamon sticks breaking and chai leaves blooming. 

Each variant features a color strip that denotes that the tea’s flavor will be rich and tranquil. The bright colors are inviting and pair beautifully with the elegant serif font that makes up the logo. Our favorite element is a small touch-a simple tea leaf emerging from the letter “R.”

Editorial photograph
Editorial photograph

We worked closely with the company’s founders, mother and daughter, to elaborate the brand strategy and creative development of this new design. Bold, curious, generous, pure and creative the Four O’Clock brand is Obsessed with taste. The black/dark color was part of the Four O’Clock brand equity. We changed it to a blue/black more unique tint and added vibrant, appetizing and bright colors to not only convey the idea of bold flavors and generosity, but also make the brand color blocking more distinct and visually attractive.

Editorial photograph
Editorial photograph

Healthcare Brand Troo

Since their launch over ten years ago, the supplement market had become increasingly competitive. John North, director of Troo Healthcare commented, “We needed to increase standout for the products online and in health shops, giving a positive message to our existing customers and attracting new interest in the brand. Ideally, people using supplements should do so consistently to acquire the nutritional benefit they are searching for. Attractive packaging that helps people to remember to do this is also an important part of the product.”

Editorial photograph

We streamlined the logo and designed an adaptable identity system using bright, abstract patterns to be used across all materials. This included the packaging, replacing the original photographic treatment on the labels. The logo icon adapts subtly to match the changing color palette for the different products.