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Creative round-up August 2022

Being August, it’s perhaps been a bit quieter than usual on the design and branding news front but here’s a selection of items and happenings that have caught the eyes of the Ingenious team over the last few weeks…

Adidas solar powered headphones

Adidas and speaker brand Zound Industries have collaborated to create the RTP-02 SOL wireless headphones which can be charged by sunshine and artificial light. The headband includes a solar cell fabric called Powerfoyle which converts sunlight and indoor light into electricity and is modelled on the way plants transform light into energy during photosynthesis. Although the best charge is from direct sunlight, they also work on cloudy days, garnering energy from the invisible UV rays that pass through clouds.

Designed for exercise enthusiasts, the self-charging headphones play music for up to 80 hours on full charge and were released on 23 August.

Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games set design

Renowned production designer Misty Buckley designs sets for live touring shows, TV and large-scale events and this month saw her creativity in action at the opening and closing ceremonies of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. Overseeing design of staging, sets and props for both two and a half hour shows, Buckley worked hard to include as much detail as possible in conveying ‘the greatness that has come out of the West Midlands’.

In recreating the historical complexity of the region for the opening ceremony, she emphasised the importance of being honest and reflecting the true nature of the city. The darker side of Birmingham was thus also included, as well as celebrating its significant contribution to invention and innovation. A 10-metre high, 5-tonne bull inscribed with the names of victims of multiple historic injustices was counterbalanced with a ‘Carnival of Firsts’ showcasing different inventions from ‘buttons and pen nibs to police whistles and the Baskerville font’.

The closing ceremony focused on Birmingham’s music scene with a multi-level, multi-stage set design to mimic the ‘movement, rhythm and textures’ of the production lines and factories of the West Midlands. Each show was a fantastic spectacle and celebration to bookend an exciting and successful Games.

Asda’s new Just Essentials range

Asda’s value range has just been given a new name and visual language by Our Creative. The store previously had two value ranges, now merged under the Just Essentials brand which has been given a ‘joyful and optimistic yellow’ in contrast with other supermarkets’ bland essentials ranges, and which has been designed to stand out across the store. A backlash from press and social media suggesting the new look is patronising and draws attention to customers struggling financially is counterbalanced by Asda’s feedback to Our Creative saying that customers are ‘loving the range’. What do you think?

Rebrand for search engine Ecosia

Ecosia is a search engine which harnesses profit from web searches to plant trees. It has just been rebranded by Koto, with illustrations by Adrian Johnson which visualise the ecological regeneration the brand hopes to foster. Ecosia plants many species of trees and it was a challenge to represent them all, but Koto have succeeded in doing so using a variety of soft-formed shapes to indicate diversity, together with motion design which breathes life into the graphics. The illustration style is simple but delivers ‘complex ideas in a wonderfully clever way’ say Koto’s design leads, Tim Williams and Johann Laeschke.

A new logo is inspired by the music scene of the 60’s and 70’s, evoking themes of ‘positive action and changing the world’ and Ecosia are doing just this, with 20 million users who have helped the platform plant over 150 million trees!

New branding for Language Supp Ukraina

Language Supp Ukraina is a free online language platform. It supports children from refugee families who have fled Ukraine in learning a new language to aid their transition to a new country, in this case Poland. Warsaw-based design agency Podpunkt are behind the new identity and their main aim was to create a warm, safe and friendly space for children and young people to find familiarity in an unknown language.

Illustrated characters called ‘wordcreatures’, with bodies built out of letters and symbols from various alphabets, communicate via speech bubbles and find greater understanding with each other as the course progresses. Blossoming flowers are also woven into the identity and the logo and typography are based on handwriting, with irregular shapes indicating the trial and error that is integral to the journey of language learning.

Eternally Yours exhibition at Somerset House

If you are looking for a free activity in London then make your way to Somerset House for this wonderful exhibition which explores ideas around care, repair and healing. Showcasing diverse examples of creative reuse, from historical samples of the Japanese art of Kintsugi and Bovo which embrace upcycling and repurposing, to works from contemporary artists who put repair a the heart of their practice. On a philosophical level, the exhibition also explores how ‘repair’ can guide individual and collective healing.

With textiles, ceramics, furniture and more, there is work from a broad range of creatives, including lifestyle range TOAST, and on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays the talents and skills of designers and makers can be seen in action at the Beasley Brother’s Repair Shop, an installation modelled on traditional East End repair shops.

At the Terrace Rooms, South Wing, Somerset House until 25 September 2022.

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