Tag Archives: Ceative Review

Mozilla rebrand

Mozilla announced it would be rebranding after inviting feedback on possible themes for the new branding – the company announced seven possible design routes. Of these, four have now been scrapped, two have led to new ideas and one has been developed further.Possible design routes for Mozilla's new logo and visual identityTim Murray, head of Mozilla’s creative team, says the final four concepts were chosen based on feedback on the seven initially put forward, as well as “principles of good design” and Mozilla’s overall brand strategy. Protocol 2.0 is the only surviving option from the previous round – it uses a colon and two forward slashes as a reference to Mozilla’s role as a ‘building block of the web’.

Protocol 2.0

protocol_type_swap

“By putting the internet http:// protocol directly into the word – Moz://a – it creates a typeable word mark, and by doing so alludes to Mozilla’s role at the core of the Internet (and hence the ‘Pioneers’ positioning). We’ve also beefed up the blue to the classic RGB #0000FF (as used by Netscape) to further enhance its ‘roots of the web’ credentials,” writes Johnson.

The typographic word mark could also be expanded into a typographic and pictogrammic visual language with characters swapped out randomly for other fonts and emoticons.Protocol 2.0 features a typeable word mark

The Flame

The Flame merges an 'M' and a pixellated flame

The Flame is a new design route which combines a pixellated flame with the letter M. Johnson says the flame acts a symbol for Mozilla’s “determination to remain the beacon for an open, accessible and equal internet for all [one of the key aims of the rebrand is to better reflect Mozilla’s internet advocacy work] and something that a community gathers round for warmth.” Pixels can be swapped out for code and the flame can be adapted to incorporate flags from various countries.Possible applications for The FlameThe Flame could also be adapted to incorporate national flags

Burst

Burst is also a new concept. Jonson says it is inspired by Mozilla’s role in “recording and advocating the health of the internet” and experiments with data-led ideas. It is also loosely inspired by Wireframe World – one of the initial design routes put forward.

“As we looked harder at data sources we realised that five was a key number: Mozilla is collecting data around five key measurements as we type (and you read), and there are five nodes in a capital ‘M’. So we combined the two thoughts,” he writes.Burst is a colourful design based around a capital M

Dino 2.0

The final option, Dino 2.0, provides a link with the company’s now defunct dinosaur logo (a design that is no longer used externally but one that Johnson says there is “still a lot of love for” among the Mozilla community). The design builds on initial design route The Eye (pictured top), which has since been discarded, and uses a chevron and white type to suggest a ‘zilla’. The eye can blink and jaws can chomp, adding animated elements to the design scheme.

Dino 2.0The Dino mark can be used to create a range of symbols for sub-brands

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Royal Mail releases Agatha Christie stamps with ‘hidden clues’

The set of six stamps were created by Jim Sutherland of Studio Sutherl & and illustrator Neil Webb and include elements that react to UV light and heat.

One of the six Agatha Christie stamps by Royal Mail
And Then There Were None: A poem, key to the plot, is the moon’s reflection, and the mysterious U.N.Owen appears at the lit window.

Miss Marple investigates a body found in the library.
Miss Marple investigates a body found in the Library

Agatha Christie stamps by Royal Mail
There’s a killer in the shadows, and Poirot looks on from the flames

One of the six Agatha Christie stamps by Royal Mail
Murder on The Orient Express: Don’t be distracted by the red kimono character, she distracts the viewer from the killer hidden behind a heat sensitive ink curtain. The curtain disappears when the stamp is touched, and names of suspects are written along the train track in micro text.

A Murder is Announced
Murder is Announced

Agatha Christie stamps by Royal Mail
The Mysterious Affair at Styles: Poirot and Hastings investigate the crime scene – forming the skull, as the murderer used poison. The whole stamp is then reproduced in miniature on the poison bottle.

Each stamp also has a hidden letter, which combine across the set to spell ‘Agatha’. The presentation pack for the stamps is like a bookshelf packed with original objects, photographs, book covers and a timeline of the the author’s life.

Agatha Christie Royal Mail

Mozilla rebrand

In the next stage of its unique ‘open’ redesign process, Mozilla and design studio johnson banks have released seven possible design routes for the group’s rebrand

Route 1: The Eye

Route A: The Eye. Mozilla identity proposal by johnson banks

The verbal theme has been translated into a graphic route named The Eye. “Even though Mozilla’s old Dinosaur logo is only used internally, not externally, there’s still a lot of love in the community for all things ‘Dino’. What if we could find a way to use just part of a reptile in a dynamic new design?” say johnsonbanks.

Route A: The Eye. Mozilla identity proposal by johnson banksRoute A: The Eye. Mozilla identity proposal by johnson banksRoute A: The Eye. Mozilla identity proposal by johnson banks

Route 2: The Connector

“Typographic experiments with the ‘Mozilla’ name led to this route – where the letters are intertwined around each other to create two interrelated marks, inspired by circuitry and tribal patterns,” johnson banks say.Route B: The Connector. Mozilla identity proposal by johnson banksRoute B: The Connector. Mozilla identity proposal by johnson banksRoute B: The Connector. Mozilla identity proposal by johnson banksRoute B: The Connector. Mozilla identity proposal by johnson banks

Route 3: Choose OpenRoute C: Choose Open. Mozilla identity proposal by johnson banksRoute C: Choose Open. Mozilla identity proposal by johnson banks“Mozilla stands for an Internet that’s open to all on an equal basis – but most people don’t realise that certain forces may divide it and close it off. How could we communicate ‘open’, quickly and simply? Could we find a current symbol or pictogram of ‘open’ and adapt it to our needs?” johnson banks say.Route C: Choose Open. Mozilla identity proposal by johnson banksRoute C: Choose Open. Mozilla identity proposal by johnson banksRoute 4: The ProtocolRoute D: The Protocol. Mozilla identity proposal by johnson banksRoute D: The Protocol. Mozilla identity proposal by johnson banksRoute D: The Protocol. Mozilla identity proposal by johnson banksRoute D: The Protocol. Mozilla identity proposal by johnson banks

Route 5: Wireframe World

Wireframe World looks at “a way to hint at the enormity of the internet, yet place Mozilla within that digital ecosystem”.Route E: Wireframe World. Mozilla identity proposal by johnson banksRoute E: Wireframe World. Mozilla identity proposal by johnson banksRoute E: Wireframe World. Mozilla identity proposal by johnson banks

Route 6: The Impossible M

“We wanted to show the collaborative aspect of the maker spirit in a simple typographic mark. Inspired by both computer graphics and optical illusions, an ‘impossible’ design developed that also revealed a cohesive design approach across all applications.”Route F: The Impossible M. Mozilla identity proposal by johnson banksRoute F: The Impossible M. Mozilla identity proposal by johnson banksRoute F: The Impossible M. Mozilla identity proposal by johnson banksRoute F: The Impossible M. Mozilla identity proposal by johnson banks

Route 7: Flik Flak

This route was developed in parallel with The Eye “as we searched for animalistic solutions, but built characters out of consistent isometric shapes,”johnson banks say. “The more we experimented, the more we realised we could construct a character that also spelt out the words, Mozilla.”Route G: Flik Flak. Mozilla identity proposal by johnson banksRoute G: Flik Flak. Mozilla identity proposal by johnson banksRoute G: Flik Flak. Mozilla identity proposal by johnson banksRoute G: Flik Flak. Mozilla identity proposal by johnson banks

 

Three exercises to unlock your creativity (whatever kind of organisation you work in)

Rod Judkins’ Developing Your Creativity course explores techniques for generating ideas. Rachael Steven talks to him about why everyone from surgeons to bankers want to get creative

appear on Creaive Review blog on 14th September 2016

Creativity is often thought of as something innate and spontaneous – something that can’t be taught. Directors, designers, artists and writers often speak of Eureka moments and unexpected flashes of inspiration – an idea coming to them seemingly out of nowhere, when they’ve just stepped out of the shower, say, or are out for a run.

But even the most successful creatives need help coming up with ideas from time to time. Most have practical systems or processes that can help on the days when those Eureka moments are nowhere to be found – whether it’s scouring books and blogs and magazines for inspiration, brainstorming or carrying out physical exercises that encourage creative thinking.

Rod Judkins is a painter and art and design tutor and has spent the past few years running workshops to help people be more creative. His Developing Your Creativity course at Central Saint Martins explores some of the techniques artists and designers use to get ideas.

In each workshop, Judkins examines a different method for creative thinking and asks students to apply that method to a particular subject or project – students might be asked to apply Barbara Kruger’s technique of cutting out words and pictures and arranging them to create thought-provoking visual displays.

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Sparking ideas

“Rather than creativity being thought of as something to do with inspiration and gut feeling, I wanted to show that it was more down to earth,” explains Judkins. “We look at a certain artist or designer’s process, analyse it, try it out on different projects and see how it works,” he explains. Judkins has since been asked to teach it at The London College of Fashion, Royal Free Hospital and companies including Microsoft and last year, published a book, The Art of Creative Thinking, which compiles various exercises from his classes.

If you’re an artist or designer, you can’t just sit around and wait for inspiration. It’s your job, your career – you need to walk in in the morning and start work

There’s often a certain scepticism around workshops or guidebooks claiming to help with creative thinking. But practical techniques that can help spark that initial idea – a fleeting thought that can be developed into something much bigger – can be a valuable tool for anyone in a creative role.

“If you’re an artist or designer, you can’t just sit around and wait for inspiration. It’s your job, your career – you need to walk in in the morning and start work,” says Judkins. “Most of the people I look at [on the course] have some way of keeping a constant flow of ideas – some kind of technique that means they can always be generating thoughts.”

Little Girl Looking to the Side

Judkins has also been asked to teach creative thinking to people in professions from medicine to accounting. He has recently been working with advanced medical science students at the Royal Free Hospital, encouraging them to think creatively about how medical tools or processes could be improved. “The surgeons there want to see more creative thinking among the medical students – instead of them just using equipment and being taught methods and medical processes, they want them to think about how they can be improved – if they see a piece of equipment isn’t working very well, to think ‘how can it be made better?” he explains.

This way of thinking is often a departure from what students on less creative courses are used to – but Judkins says workshops have helped them think up ways to improve surgical instruments and even redesign artificial liver devices to make them more efficient.

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Linear thinking

“When I go into a bank, or I’m teaching medical students, they’re much more linear in their way of thinking [than art and design students] – they’ll learn something and they’ll apply it in the way that they’ve learned. That’s not a bad thing – if you’re a doctor, and someone has a pain in their heart, there are certain processes you have to follow … but it means that students aren’t as used to thinking creatively.

“Before I started teaching at the Royal Free Hospital, one of the surgeons said: ‘a lot of our students come here and want to learn medical science and then apply what they’ve learned in a job, but there are others who want to do something different, they want to change things’. That’s where creativity comes in, because they’re going to have to think creatively to do things differently,” he adds.

At Central Saint Martins, Judkins teaches people from various fields, including advertising, writing, accountancy and law. 

“I usually set them a project, but if they have something they’re working on and it hasn’t gone well, I encourage them to bring it in and we’ll have a go at it as a group, to see if we can apply some of the different techniques we’ve learned throughout the workshops,” he says.

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Clamouring for creativity

“We had someone bring in a project a while back – he had been asked to advertise a vodka from Kazakhstan – and we ended up renaming the project and repackaging it,” Judkins says. “He took it back to the client, pointed out some problems with the existing project and they relaunched it.”

In the time he has spent teaching, Judkins says he has noticed a growing interest in creative thinking workshops among people and businesses in various fields – with more and more companies understanding the value of helping staff be more innovative.

“It’s definitely a growing area – I think banks and all sorts of industries have realised that if they’re got creativity and innovation [in their organisation], it really helps move them on. It can give them a real advantage. A few years ago, they would have been very sceptical about the idea – a lot of them couldn’t see what the purpose was – but now, they’re really clamouring for their employees to be more creative,” he adds.

For more on Rod Judkins, see rodjudkins.com. The Art of Creative Thinking is published by Sceptre

Perplexed Woman With Book

NOW TRY THIS:

Switch roles

When starting a project with a team it is essential to start off on the wrong foot. Give the members of the team different roles. This prevents them from falling into familiar patterns of work. I was asked to help a TV station develop a new soap opera with the team of cameramen, scriptwriters, soundmen etc. They had become stuck and so had called me in to help. I found they were very fixed in their ways. They had the attitude ‘I’ve been doing this for years’. That’s why they were not coming up with ideas. They wanted to do things the way they’d always done them. I swapped their roles – I asked the cameramen to write the scripts, the costume designers to write up characters and so on. Fear of failure vanished because the weight of expectation had been lifted and they no longer had a reputation to protect. They were exploring new territory instead of repeating what they knew. They improvised and played around. New ideas poured out.

I employed the same technique recently when I delivered a creative workshop at a bank. In that case it helped to break up the hierarchical structure. By reducing everyone to the same level l was able to free them of their inhibitions and they suggested ideas more readily. Even if you’re working alone, switch tools. Use the wrong equipment for the task. It breaks up expectations and opens your mind to new possibilities.

A project is not a problem.

Often when I am helping a team with a project I find that they think of it as a problem they have to solve. That can be useful, but to start off in that frame of mind is very limiting. I ask them to create a game or game show based on their product or subject. With large sheets of paper and thick felt tips we quickly create a rough set. They have to work out a format for the show and devise a game based on their subject – maybe with teams, a competition, an element of chance. Thinking of the project as a game creates a positive mood. But it’s not pointless play. The game may involve asking questions based on their subject so they search for unusual information. They learn more than if they researched in the standard way. Research from psychologists has proved that people solve problems more easily when they are in a playful mood. It helps the team to work together and kick ideas around better than if they thought of their project as solving a problem.

Don’t brainstorm in a group

When working with a team I try to avoid the standard methods of brainstorming. It becomes a social event rather than an idea generating event. They feel under pressure to appear clever, people start to worry that a ridiculous idea might be laughed at and tend to suggest sensible, reasonable ideas and someone usually starts to dominate the group. I send everyone off to work alone. I instruct them to go away for half an hour and return with a ridiculous idea. By asking them to produce an idea that seems impractical, I free them up and enable them to explore unusual concepts. When they get back together we display all the strange ideas and we see if we can apply them to the task. It’s easier and more fun to look for ways of making a ridiculous idea work in practical terms than try to make a dull idea radical. Recently I was working with shoe designers and gave them materials they wouldn’t normally have used to design and make shoes such as wire, bubble wrap and other unusual materials. It forced them to think differently.

Designs of the Year – Design Museum

Architecture

This year’s architecture nominees include a vintage theme park, the Tate Modern’s Switch House extension and Assemble’s Granby Workshop in Liverpool – winner of this year’s Turner Prize.

Herzog and De Meuron's Switch House extension for Tate ModernHerzog and De Meuron’s Switch House extension for Tate Modern

Graphics

Fourteen projects were shortlisted in the graphics category this year. These include Irma Boom’s Cuyperspussagi tile mural in Amsterdam’s Central Station – an impressive seascape made out of 77,000 tiles – and Studio Joost Grootens’ redesign of the Dikke Van Dale dictionary of the Dutch language, which uses colour coded text and illustrations.

A first aid kit for refugees which uses pictograms.A first aid kit for refugees which uses pictograms. Idea & Design: Erwin K. Bauer, Anne Hofmann, Dasha Zaichanka, Katharina Hölzl, Miriam S. Koller
Cooperations & Partners: Red Cross Vienna, Caritas, Medical Aid for Refugees, New Here, EOOS design / Places for People at Biennale di Venezia 2016, Urbanize Festival ICC Berlin

unspecified-15HelloRuby, a book by Linda Liukas and Jemina Lehmuskoski. The pair have also created a website and accompanying apps. helloruby.com

Product

Nineteen projects made the product shortlist – alongside furniture, ceramics and objects designed for urban living environments, nominees include the BBC micro:bit, a pocket-sized computer that children can use to create games or virtual pets:

The BBC micro:bit, a collaboration between the BBC, Tech Will Save Us (which designed the shape, look and feel of the device), ARM, element14, Barclays, Lancaster University, Microsoft, Nordic Semiconductor, Samsung, ScienceScope and The Wellcome Trust
The BBC micro:bit, a collaboration between the BBC, Tech Will Save Us (which designed the shape, look and feel of the device), ARM, element14, Barclays, Lancaster University, Microsoft, Nordic Semiconductor, Samsung, ScienceScope and The Wellcome TrustThe Drinkable Book. Senior designer: Brian Gartside. Graphic designer: Aaron Stephenson. Chemist: Dr. Theresa Dankovich, PhDThe Drinkable Book. Senior designer: Brian Gartside. Graphic designer: Aaron Stephenson. Chemist: Dr. Theresa Dankovich, PhD

You can see the full shortlists at designmuseum.org

The Metro Project

Two years ago, Montreal-based photographer Chris Forsyth began paying attention to the spaces he travelled through day after day and developed something of “a mild obsession with metros”, seeing in them a kind of beauty that would be lost on most rush-hour commuters.This love affair took him across the world in search of interesting metro networks and stations. “From the hand painted cave-like stations in Stockholm, to the bright, open, and modern platforms of Munich’s U-Bahn”, Forsyth has documented his favourites in this ongoing series.www.chrismforsyth.com

Tate brand

To coincide with the opening of its new building, Tate invited design studios from around the world to pitch for a possible identity redesign. North, however, argued that the exisiting identity could still do the job – all it needed was a ‘deep clean’ and some clarity about its usage. North’s Sean Perkins and team explain why, sometimes, the best solution is to stick with what works

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It’s not just Bankside that’s been evolving. Three years ago, Tate Britain got much more than a paint job with a £45m renovation. An ambitious refurbishment and extension project is set to transform Tate St Ives by mid-2017. Tate keeps upping its game.

Tate’s branding was a central part of its relaunch in 2000. Having come up with the core ‘look again, think again’ brand idea, Wolff Olins scored a big hit with the identity that sprang from it, with its striking introduction of not one but a whole range of logotypes that moved in and out of focus, ‘suggesting the dynamic nature of Tate – always changing but always recognisable’.

Like the rest of Tate, the brand has kept changing over the years – but not in such a good way. In fact, in the words of North’s Sean Perkins, whose studio has just completed a ‘deep clean’ of Tate’s brand, the whole thing was “a mess”. With a total of 75 different logotypes to choose from, a Tate font with several weights and no formal guidelines on grids, colours, positions, sizes and formats to aid decision-making, Tate’s in-house design team had been struggling with consistency for years. “They were paralysed because every time they designed anything, there were so many potential expressions,” says Perkins. “Having no rules, which was the original idea behind the brand, led to it looking tatty. If you look at the Barbican or the Whitney or the Stedelijk, there’s lots of beautiful expression and newness, but beneath it there’s a consistency that helps recognition and offers a guarantee of quality. With the Tate, the lack of consistency was getting in the way of that engagement with people.”

Some design decisions were causing confusion among visitors. Locking up the name of each of Tate’s four sites with the logo rendered the locations almost illegible. “People weren’t seeing them at all. You’d get off the train in Manchester and see a poster for Tate Britain and think it was Tate Liverpool. You never knew where to go.”

Tate recognised its brand was suffering, and potentially doing costly damage to its standing among visitors, sponsors and the global art community. The ‘look again, think again’ ethos was finally extended to the brand in 2014. Tate invited an international list of studios to tender for an identity review, calling for a solution that could show younger audiences, in particular, an exciting, dynamic way of experiencing art. The board was ready to contemplate a completely new look, but North persuaded them otherwise. “Our view was, they had something that worked; why throw that away?”

The project, led by North’s Jeremy Coysten and Stephen Gilmore, has been as much about establishing a stable set of design ground rules, or ‘building blocks’, for Tate’s in-house team as about developing new expressions and applications of the brand. “Having more parameters helps creativity,” says Perkins. “It unplugs designers from a lot of politics and helps them focus on creating something with impact.”

North selected just one version of the logotype and made it the sole wordmark, then re-created it with 340 dots in place of the previous 3,000. The reduction means that each dot can be individually animated and occasionally redrawn, as with the special edition produced to mark the Switch House opening, with square dots to echo the building’s architecture. Location names will stand free of the wordmark, in specified positions on the grid.

The most visible innovation is the animated ‘blur’ logo that will punctuate Tate film clips and ads, from mobile devices to dynamic displays at railway stations. Crops of the animation will cover merchandise of every kind, from shopping bags to umbrellas to Superga shoes. Wolff Olins’ original vision of an active identity has been realised. North’s Stephen Gilmore: “We’ve retained the dynamic, ‘ever-changing’ spirit without needing to have multiple logos and all the practical problems that entails. The logo artwork we’ve chosen feels energetic, porous and captures the blur in all applications. We animate that logo whenever it b adds to this spirit, but sparingly and not when it detracts from the content.”

Tate’s head of marketing, Rob Baker, agrees. “In many ways what North have created has allowed us to realise the potential of the identity, ensuring it can exist seamlessly on different platforms, using the Tate logo and typography in more expressive ways in our communications and on products in our shops and applying colour creatively.”

The decision to remain with Miles Newlyn’s rounded Tate font, but to strip the choice down to just a single headline weight was “massive”, says Perkins. “It allows designers to just think about the content and the messaging of a piece of communication, rather than just decorating it with different weights.” Georgia has been introduced for body text, and a palette of ten colours (based on work for Tate by artist Martin Creed) will be refreshed every two years.

Brand applications will follow guidelines developed by North since January, sharing projects with the Tate team. North will remain creative directors for Tate for the next 12 months, while the new system beds in.

Coming hard on the heels of the revival of the Co-op cloverleaf logo, Tate’s decision to also build on the brand assets in its locker, is likely to be seen as the start of a trend – a new age-of-austerity pragmatism on the part of clients, fuelled not just by budget considerations but also by headline-making social media maulings of other rebrands. North were responsible for both solutions. And Perkins believes that’s what both solutions are about: being responsible. “It would be arrogant and unprofessional for designers to say that [the Tate identity] was completely broken, to create something new for the sake of new without respecting the equity and the good things about the identity. We went in with honesty and said, ‘you’ve got something really powerful, let us make it work for you’,” he says. “We’ve always believed in creating a solution for an identity first and then deciding what the visual elements are to achieve it. The application of an identity is so important. It’s about beautifully designed systems and applications that bring it alive. If you can do that with an existing identity – tidy it up, unclutter it, show them how to make fresh and beautiful communications – it’s a great solution.”

For many brands about to scrap an identity with time left to run, Tate has shown the value of looking again and thinking again.

Michael Evamy is the author of LOGO and Logotype. See evamy.co.uk, @michaelevamy