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Creative round-up February 2022

It may be a short month, but February has no shortage of interesting branding and design news! Here’s a selection of items and happenings that have caught the eyes of the Ingenious team over the last 28 days …

Super Bowl half-time show design

One of the best Super Bowl half-time shows of recent memory featured some of the biggest names in rap music including Dr Dre, Eninem, Snoop Dog and Mary J. Blige, performing to a crowd of 70,000 at California’s SoFi stadium.

The stage design by British set designer Es Devlin re-created nearby Compton Street, the home of West Coast rap, and featured five buildings which gave the stars their own spaces in which to perform and looked like a set of five adjoining house-parties. A floor cloth was created from aerial photos of the Compton area, each building had a special significance to the performers and were encircled throughout the spectacular 14-minute show by lowrider cars, a central part of Compton culture. The greatest challenge for Devlin and the production team was to create a set that could be assembled, performed in and dismantled in just 30 minutes. Requiring military precision, the set-up was a show in its own right!

Birmingham Royal Ballet (BRB) rebrand

A bold new brand has been created for BRB by London-based design consultancy NB Studio with the aim of reaching more diverse audiences. A new wordmark in large, punchy typeface Compacta, is placed front and centre on all visual material. Previously on posters and billboards, the show’s name would take priority but now the BRB name is the framing device ‘to make them the big show’, says NB Studio design director Sam Pittman. The new typographic identity can be adapted to the company’s wide range of performances and works well for both classical and modern shows. Also important for a touring company which needs to stand out in locations across the UK and internationally, it is hoped the new look will appeal to less traditional ballet audiences.

Protest-inspired identity for Assembly gin

Assembly is a new spirit from women-owned and LGBTQ-led US distillery, Republic Restoratives. Its protest-inspired identity has been created by Midday and uses Martin typeface (named after Martin Luther King) designed by Vocal Type, a foundry which uses protest signs of the past as inspiration for new typefaces. The brand uses the phrase ‘Freedom of Assembly’ in its marketing, which refers to people’s right to protest as outlined in the First Amendment of the US Constitution. The guiding principle and tagline for the gin is ‘a spirit greater than the sum of its parts’ and as Will Gladden, creative partner and co-founder of Midday explains, while the turquoise colour scheme embraces the ‘botanical feeling’ of gin branding, when overlaid with the ‘blunt typography’ it provides a ‘modern interpretation of protest language’ to match the image of the spirit itself.

Brighton show home inspired by local artists

Award-winning interior design practice Honky has taken inspiration from Brighton artists while styling the first of 168 homes for sale in the city’s new Edward Street Quarter development. ‘Brighton is packed with incredibly creative and inspiring people, so our aim was to celebrate that’ says Paul Dawson, Honky design director. The aim is to ‘capture the spirit of the seaside location’…‘using soft lines and our chosen colour palette, we hope to create a calm and elegant space without losing the lively Brighton vibe’.

With artwork by local artists including Faye Bridgewater and Polly Arnett, the colour scheme also references the turquoise of Brighton seafront’s ironwork, pastels from the myriad colours of houses in nearby Hanover area, deckchair stripes and a raspberry pink entrance hall inspired by Brighton’s famous beach huts.

Royal Mail David Gentleman collection

A set of stamps has just been unveiled honouring David Gentleman, the designer who changed British stamp design in the second half of the 20th century. Featuring six stamps, each with a different design from Gentleman’s 103-stamp back catalogue, the collection has been designed by Hat-Trick Studio in close consultation with Gentleman himself. According to Royal Mail, ‘Gentleman recommended much more interesting subject matter’ and was a big influence on stamp design in the 1960’s and 70’s, introducing issues of commemorative stamps, special themes and a small cameo-style portrait of the Queen instead of the more detailed version used previously.

It was a hard task to narrow down the extensive collection to just six that would ‘convey the sheer breadth of talent and range’, and the six very different designs chosen are linked in their detail, with Gentleman ‘phenomenal at being able to incorporate so much detail onto such a tiny canvas’. Each stamp is represented picture-in-picture style, with a neutral beige background allowing the designs to really stand out.

Big Design Challenge

Premiered this month on Sky Arts, the Big Design Challenge sees eight creatives battle across five episodes to be crowned ‘Britain’s next design superstar’. Hosted by Lauren Laverne, with judges Morag Myerscough, Tej Chauhan and a series of guest judges, the series has been developed in partnership with the V&A and Lexus to ‘introduce and deconstruct’ design for a wide audience as well as creating entertaining TV.

Challenges include creating a children’s outdoor play sculpture, developing a ‘national reading chair’ for public libraries and reinventing the clock. Focusing on the two basic stages of the design process – thinking and making – a big challenge was to ensure the integrity of this journey was conveyed for a wide TV audience. Brainstorm sequences, research and sourcing inspiration capture the ‘thinking’ element of the process and the ‘making’ takes place inside a workshop where the contestants work together to prototype and build designs. According to executive producer Ian Sharpe, there are ‘some great moments across the series that show how design can contribute to a better tomorrow’. We will be watching with interest!

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