2015 Brand New Conference
A few weeks back I received an email from Armin Vit who runs the branding & identity review blog Brand New. He emailed to inform me that I won a ticket to the 2015 Brand New Conference! Excited by the news, we purchased another ticket so that both Andy and I could head up to NYC and enjoy presentations from some of the top branding designers working today.
The conference was the perfect two-day design fest for those of us who agonize over font weight selection and spend (probably) too much time adjusting kerning (the space between individual letters). In short, we were among our people! There will be a bunch of great summaries written about the conference—Brand New’s Illustrated Overview is a wonderful sum-up full of images and videos. This post is going to focus on two presentations that stood out for being both visually compelling and insightful.
The Design Process is Incredibly Important (and Often Exhausting)
As a designer, the worst sort of feedback one can hear in regards to identity design is something like, “I could’ve done that.” Let’s deal with this once and for all: No, you could not have done that. That is the end result of an extensive process that includes research, lots of trial and error, a dozen (or dozens of) design iterations and moments of absolute desperation.
The idea that a visually simple design is always created simply is problematic. Designer Phillippe Apeloig’s extensive presentation featuring the evolution of the design process for a variety of branding projects addressed this problem head on.
— Jonathan Ratcliff (@jonwratcliff) September 24, 2015
Check out a great snippet from Apeloig’s full presentation which features about a zillion iterations for the branding of the Instituto Universitario di Architectura di Venezia:
Apeloig’s amazing presentation showed us that behind-the-scenes process with which designers are all very familiar. Seeing myriad iterations of a logo design animate into each another gave Andy and I (and most of the attendees) the feeling of “You Are Not Alone!” For me, a standout from the representation was Apeloig’s final logo for L’Ameublement Français with its strong shapes and minimal color palette.
And if you don’t think it’s anything to write home about, you haven’t seen it move:
And leave it to Apeloig himself to perfectly sum up the feeling that you get when looking at this work:
Make It Move, & Then Move It Some More
Speaking of movement, we are smack dab in middle of the era of brands in motion! Designers need to think about how motion can add meaning to a brand in the same way typography and color can.
Greg Hahn & Ryan Moore of NYC-based studio Gretel drove this point home during their presentation, particularly with their really exciting creation of “The Stack” for Netflix, a beautiful example of how updated branding guidelines and interactive motion can reinvigorate an existing brand’s identity.
Motion is a signature behavior for brands moving forward #bnconf
— Laura Powers (@LPPowers) September 25, 2015
Gretel‘s project for Centric—“The First Network Designed for Black Women”—includes a gorgeous combination of typography, textures, color and photography. I was surprised to see this style of layering—certainly not a new idea—seem so fresh and exciting in this context.
For Centric, most viewers will engage with the brand for the first time on screen; therefore, motion plays a huge part. Even the static materials created by Gretel are amplified in relation to the motion-filled designs which first establish the brand. The team discusses this and their project for television station IFC (a favorite of Andy’s) in this snippet from their presentation:
@CaptnChristina pretty much sums up my reaction: