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Creative round-up January 2023

2023 has certainly kicked off with plenty of exciting design and branding news. Here are some happenings from the last month that have caught the eyes of the Ingenious team…

Yayoi Kusama at Harrods

Harrods façade has recently been transformed into a gigantic canvas displaying the work of renowned Japanese artist, Yayoi Kusama to celebrate her collaboration with fashion label Louis Vuitton. The building is decorated with Kusama’s distinctive polka dot designs and a series of immersive, hypnotic lighting installations, as well as a 15 metre-tall statue of the artist painting her designs onto Harrods exterior, all of which highlight and complement the Louis Vuitton x Yayoi Kusama collection displayed in the store’s windows along Brompton Road.

This is the first time a brand has illuminated the outside of Harrods, bringing art to the streets in an unprecedented way. Running until 13 February, it is an eye-catching campaign with a real ‘wow’ factor!

Eurostar unveils new identity

Following a merger with French-Belgian high-speed train operator Thalys, Eurostar has been rebranded by DesignStudio. The Eurostar name has been retained but the wordmark and symbol have been completely overhauled, and the brand modernised to create an impact across digital platforms, with the new identity rolling out across all physical and digital assets by the end of 2023.

The new logo combines the Eurostar ‘E’ with a six-pointed star inspired by North Star, the original train service to link Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam. The star symbol returns after being dropped in a 2011 rebrand. The wordmark is in lower case italic letterforms with typeface, La Pontaise, providing a distinct, elegant feel. An updated colourway comprises a primary palette of ‘punchy blue and deep navy’, with six secondary colours inspired by the diversity of Europe and including red and dark red to represent Thalys.

These features are a response to the brief which stipulated that the new identity must ‘reflect the heritage’ of both Eurostar and Thalys. According to Gwendoline Cazenave, CEO of Eurostar, the new brand ‘will increase our visibility and help make us the cornerstone of high-speed rail travel in Europe’.

Arsenal FC artworks

Arsenal FC have unveiled eight artworks, each with a different theme, to be displayed on the exterior of the Emirates stadium. The project came together through a series of workshops which delved into the club’s heritage, culture and community and was co-designed by a group of supporters, artists Jeremy Deller and Reuben Dangoor and graphic designer David Rudnick, who created bespoke typefaces for the artworks.

Rudnick refers to Arsenal’s ‘incredibly beautiful and complicated graphic heritage’ since its inception in 1886 and the Art Deco style of the East Stand at the club’s old Highbury stadium influences two of the final designs. Banners were created by banner maker and Arsenal supporter Ed Hall before being photographed for the final stadium artworks. The project aims to build a deeper connection with the club’s fans, community and history and go beyond the ‘super high-impact graphic assets and materials’ of football branding. As Rudnick says, ‘what we’re sharing with the fans isn’t branding – it’s culture’.

New look for National Portrait Gallery

After an extensive refurb, the National Portrait Gallery (NPG) has launched a cool new brand together with its 2023-24 programme of exhibitions. Created with Manchester-based Edit Brand Studio and Boardroom Consulting, the new look aims to build a stronger, more focused identity and better reflect the gallery’s role of telling the story of Britain’s past, present and future through portraits.

The new monogram, logotype, typeface and fresh, modern colour palette are all inspired by historical reference points within the building, portrait collection and archival materials. The initials NPG are a central focus point and include a symbol based on an original sketch by the gallery’s first director, Sir George Scharf, who entwined and encircled the letters in a workbook dated 1893. A bespoke logotype was hand-drawn by Horridge and contemporary new typeface, NPG Serif, created by type foundry Monotype. The brand has been rolled out on the NPG website and digital channels and is about more than the gallery itself, extending to the shop, new café, fine dining restaurant, learning centre, family activities and even nights out.

David Sutherland, Beano illustrator dies

David Sutherland is described by the comic’s editor as the ‘single most important illustrator in Beano history’. He landed the job after entering a competition run by the comic’s Dundee-based publisher, DC Thomson. He worked on some of the Beano’s most famous strips including more than 1000 Dennis the Menace stories between 1970 and 1998, but it was on the Bash Street Kids, which he drew every week for 60 years, that he really created his legacy.

He received an OBE for services to illustration in the New Year Honours list and tributes have rolled in. According to Mike Stirling, the comic’s creative director, he was ‘one of Scotland’s greatest artists, not just in terms of comics, but completely’, an opinion borne out by the inclusion of one of his strips in the V&A Dundee’s opening exhibition. Nigel Parkinson, current Dennis and Gnasher illustrator, said ‘he has touched the heart, tickled the funny bone and amused the eyes of millions’.

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