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.
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.
The brief, which is being managed by Talenthouse, calls on agencies, creative communities and individuals to come up with “iconic and visually arresting” content spanning illustration, audio, video and copy. The content can be related to any of the UN’s key messages around the actions that the public can take to help combat the virus, which include personal hygiene; physical distancing; knowing the symptoms; kindness contagion; myth busting and do more, donate.
“This is the first time that we are fighting a war where everyone is on the same side,” says Clare McKeeve, CEO of Talenthouse’s parent company, TLNT. “Looking back at how the famous Rosie the Riveter and Your Country Needs You posters galvanised the public into action during wartime, we believe the creative community can create today’s iconic posters, images and artwork to impact all communities across the world as part of this global mission to help save lives.”
Image by Kaiq
The open brief is running until 9 April, and submissions will be made available for local authorities, organisations, brands and the public to download from Talenthouse’s website. A panel of industry experts will also be selecting a number of winning submissions to be shared more widely across a range of media channels.
To read the full brief and submit your work, head here
French beauty chain Sephora has launched a new campaign called The Unlimited Power of Beauty, which signifies a shift in its brand positioning. “The Unlimited Power of Beauty is a new, powerful campaign that is deliberately different from previous years,” explains Olivier Vigneaux, the CEO for BETC Digital. “It is both universal in its casting and intimate in its tone and imagery, allowing viewers to see themselves in the story and discover the potential of their own beauty.”
The three-minute ad, directed by German creative Jonas Lindstroem, tells the story of a woman’s relationship with her reflection throughout her life. Tender and intimate, we follow the lead character from childhood to adulthood and are taken through relatable moments of both doubt and strength.
From experimenting with vivid makeup as a young girl to using it as an adult as a confidence boost after a hard day, the ad aims to highlight how the same person can explore the many facets of beauty in a lifetime, and even in just one day.
The campaign signifies a more grounded approach to the way we use makeup and beauty products, taking us away from the more theatrical. It acknowledges the ways in which beauty has evolved, going beyond catwalks and magazines, and how it can now be presented to us through friends’ selfies or uploads from influencers.
The brand overhaul was done by Angus Hyland and his team at the Pentagram London office, and according to the design studio is an attempt to reconnect with existing readers, as well as find those all-important new ones.
Hyland has kept the the open book shape that people will be familiar with, but reduced some of the detail – allowing it to work more effectively at different sizes and in different environments. The serif typeface is now gone, replaced by a bespoke serif.
While many of us might have had a soft spot for the old logo, this is undoubtedly an improvement. There was always a hint of clip art about the previous motif, and it very much felt like the symbol of an educational company rather than a publisher.
Pentagram’s work brings it up to date, but also transforms it into a surprisingly elegant mark. It’s easy to imagine it embossed on books of all kinds.
The agency have also introduced a new tagline – For the curious – which reflects the diversity of content DK publishes.
Its latest campaign also addresses the topic, using a print ad in the new issue of Vanity Fair to illustrate the recurring pattern of coercive control behaviours often carried out by abusers. Created by Engine, the striking ad takes the form of a colourful, patterned graphic, which on closer inspection reveals hidden messages of abuse.
“In this difficult time awareness of the work Women’s Aid does is even more crucial, especially as some people will now be forced into isolation with their abusers,” says Engine creative director, Chris Ringsell. “This creative execution highlights the menacing form of abuse that is coercive control, a pattern of repeated, controlling and abusive behaviour.”