Creative round-up JULY 2023
July has been an eventful month on the design and branding news front! Here’s a selection of happenings from the last few weeks that have caught the eyes of the Ingenious team…
X v Threads
July has seen Twitter officially rebrand as X while Meta launched Threads. Following a series of changes to Twitter, Elon Musk announced we will be bidding ‘adieu to the Twitter brand and, gradually, all the birds.’ He asked users to submit a new X logo and the winner was posted by Sawyer Merritt. The white X on a black background will replace the blue bird and posts will now be called x’s instead of Tweets.
The Threads logo taps into the @ sign used across social media networks. Described as an ‘Instagram app for sharing ideas and trends through text’, people could sign up using their existing Instagram accounts. The company announced 100 million sign ups within a week of launching, although daily active users now stands at around 13 million, down from 44 million on 7 July, while Twitter still has 200 million active daily users. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg made it clear that Threads is his company’s attempt to poach the market long enjoyed by Twitter – ‘I think there should be a public conversations app with 1 billion+ people on it…Twitter has had the opportunity to do this but hasn’t nailed it. Hopefully we will.’
This remains to be seen! In the meantime, which platform will you be using?!
New branding for Natural History Museum
With 80 million artefacts in its collection the Natural History Museum is visited by 5 million people each year, as well as playing an important role in the scientific community. Its rebrand needed to appeal to both sides, speaking to the scientists while inspiring, entertaining and educating visitors. The new strategy was developed by Heavenly and interpreted by branding studio Nomad and Marina Willers team at Pentagram.
The identity celebrates patterns and sounds found in nature. At its heart is a beautiful symbol which turns the museum’s initials, NHM, into a concentric ‘sunburst’ motif which also resembles a Hoberman sphere, the structure used in collapsible children’s toys, reinforcing links with science. The team also built a custom tool which allows the museum to create contextual permutations of the logo with other text or images while maintaining consistency. The system, called Generator, has motion capabilities which can be applied to the circular symbol, choosing from four motion patterns again inspired by nature – ripple, glow, pulsate and orbit. With a bright and playful colour palette, accessible and inclusive typeface, animal and environmental sounds such as lion’s roars and water droplets are used in a series of animations and AR filters designed to appeal to a younger audience.
Penguin crime series revived
Penguin has just revived its Modern Classics Crime and Espionage series with green the centrepiece of the new book covers. Penguin books launched in 1935 with a series of ten colour-coded titles, green being synonymous with crime. The shade of green has changed over the years and the latest hue is similar to that of the 1960s, vibrant and toxic, offering a strong contrast to both black and white typography and pairing well with graphic illustrations, collage and textural elements.
The series features titles from the 1930s to 60s, most of which would have been written using a typewriter. Appropriate then that lettering is in typewriter face FF Elementa. The visual language gels seamlessly with the genre – collage, newspaper, stamps and blotchy textures evoking anonymous notes, secret correspondence and fingerprints. Grab one for a holiday read that’s both riveting and stylish!
The Mayor of London’s office has launched a follow-up to its 2022 anti-misogyny campaign created by Ogilvy. OOH billboards and flyposters feature printworks-style design and use colloquial language advocating ‘Say maaaate to a mate’ if they are behaving problematically towards women. A campaign film directed by Koby Adom centres on a group of young men in casual conversation which takes a misogynistic turn. An interactive feature in the form of a ‘skip ad’ style button, developed in partnership with Vimeo, enables viewers to interject and change the course of the conversation, with 270 variants.
Ogilvy’s behaviour science department found that men don’t want to shame their mates but ‘call them out with respect and levity’. The ‘Say Maaaate’ campaign therefore aims to enable them to challenge inappropriate behaviour in an effective way.
With a design revamp that began in March, kids TV channel Nickelodeon has just reinstated its iconic splat logo, redrawn with rounded edges by design studio Roger, who have also created a circular grid system for a secondary set of splat shapes together with a new motion language which, combined with bold typography, comes to life as 3D bubble letterforms.
Their signature orange colour has been retained but additional pairings of purples and pinks add depth. Bright green slime also makes an appearance, both as a 3-D texture and prop in live action IDs. Overall, the new branding provides consistency whilst allowing flexibility and conveys a sense of imagination and exploration. According to Roger creative director Braden Wheeler ‘kids are all about trying everything out, so we wanted to make a brand that allowed for revisionism, randomness and irreverence…’ We reckon they’ve smashed it!
Remaking the avocado
Designer Avina Shokouhi has created ‘a new local low-impact version of the avocado’ in response to unsustainable farming methods required to produce the real thing. The project for her masters in material futures at UAL addresses environmentally unsound veg in the same way that recent food start-ups have replicated meat and seafood. Scientist Jack Wallman, at the Food Innovation Centre in Nottingham, helped Shokouhi analyse the avocado and find substitute ingredients to recreate its delicate flavour. Hazelnut, apple and rapeseed are mixed with the main constituent, broad beans and an alternative stone is provided by a walnut! Named the Evocado, aesthetics were also a consideration and although not yet in production, Shokouhi hopes to make it a commercial concern.