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Creative round-up May 2020

A selection of design and branding news items that have caught our eye over the last month…

Cultural Renewal Taskforce set up

The UK government has launched a Cultural Renewal Taskforce, one of five ministerial-led groups set up to develop blueprints for how integral parts of the UK economy can reopen in line with the National Covid-19 Recovery Strategy.

Representatives from the arts and culture spheres will meet weekly to discuss ways to get the sector, which has been hit so badly by the effects of the pandemic and lockdown, up and running again. According to Sir Nicholas Serota, Arts Council England chair, former Tate director and one of eight people selected for the group, “culture and creativity will be vital to rebuilding communities across the country and in sustaining our international standing a creative nation”. Dr Ambreen Shah from the Design Council suggests that design will have a significant role to play in developing creative solutions to problems and in “redesigning the way we live and work”.

Mental Health Coalition identity

The Mental Health Coalition is a new charitable initiative launched during Mental Health Awareness week earlier this month by Kenneth Cole, social activist and fashion designer. Its main aim is to de-stigmatise mental health conditions and get people talking and its striking “square peg in a round hole” logo has been created by Pentagram’s Paula Sher who hopes the icon will become a global symbol for mental health. In contrast to the gentler visual approach employed by others in the sector, the identity uses vivid colours and bold typography to symbolise confidence and empowerment. According to the World Health Organisation, 1 in 4 of us will experience a mental health condition at some point in our lives, a problem which has been exacerbated by the anxiety and isolation brought on by the current pandemic.

Creative animations

Use of animation can convey messages simply and with great impact. The following examples have impressed us recently:

The BBC Local Radio programme Make a Difference shares stories of acts of kindness during lockdown. A collaboration between BBC Creative and Strange Beast to promote the audio programme has used animation to bring the stories to life. Three delightful videos have been directed by Anna Ginsburg, Hannah Jacobs and Matt Lloyd with creative work by Adam Reincke and Sarah Fox. Mr Powels focuses on a teacher who delivered lunches to his students’ houses, Gravy highlights a woman looking after her disabled son during quarantine whose neighbours leave them food and flowers and Dino Mum tells the story of a mum who dressed as a dinosaur during her daily walk to cheer up passers-by. Animation provides the creative freedom to augment these heart-warming stories and bring joy to peoples’ lives.

Commissioned by King’s College London and NHS Maudsley Hospital, an animation series has been produced by Toad creative studio for families under pressure during lockdown. A total of 12 films so far offer simple, bitesized parenting advice covering topics such as helping your child cope with anxiety, promoting better behaviour and keeping calm when your kids act up. These charming animations have been created by a range of illustrators and have voiceovers by famous names such as Olivia Colman and Rob Brydon.

US Olympic and Paralympic Museum logo

Due to open in autumn 2020 at Colorado Springs, the US Olympic and Paralympic Museum has been designed by architects Diller, Scofidio and Renfro. The spectacular building is an assemblage of diagonal blocks wrapped in a ‘scaly’ skin of diamond-shaped panels. A cool logo by graphic design firm Chermayeff, Geismar and Haviv consists of a diamond tilted on its side comprising five stripes which symbolise the stripes of the US flag in the five Olympic colours, as well as suggesting an abstract Olympic flame. The logo gives a real sense of motion and speed and cleverly combines old and new – the new institution given its own independent identity while paying homage to the iconic symbols and familiar iconography of the US flag and Olympic rings.

Stay Home Stay Safe poster campaign

Last month we focused on a couple of poster campaigns that launched during the pandemic and Stay Home Stay Safe is another one, showcasing 1800 uplifting coronavirus posters from designers around the world. The poster platform was founded by Hague-based designers Menno de Bruijn, Max Lennarts and Ronald de Leeuw, to spread positive and often funny messages to help people through lockdown. Anyone is allowed to download, print and share them but the main aims were to provide support for hospitals and lifesavers, persuade others to stay at home, cheer people up as well as keeping creatives busy. The inspiring campaign has gained significant international press coverage and poster designs have been projected onto buildings and used in open art exhibitions.

Fountain of Hygiene design competition

Run by experiential design studio Bompass & Parr, London’s Design Museum and the Red Cross, the Fountain of Hygiene global design competition set out to find new and innovative solutions for dispensing hand sanitiser and encouraging hygiene to combat the pandemic and help take us out of it. A shortlist of winners in each of the 8 categories has recently been released and designs are displayed on the competition’s dedicated website and will also be displayed at the Design Museum when it reopens. Organisations can contact Bompass & Parr if they wish to develop any of the prototypes.

Ikea forts

Providing inspiration for kids’ activities during lockdown, Ikea have released instructions on how to build 6 different types of blanket forts following the visual aesthetic of their traditional flatpack assembly guides. Line drawings illustrate items needed, the different stages and finished fort. Featuring household items, the designs centre round a piece of furniture such as a table, sofa or kitchen chairs and all require a large blanket! Finished forts can of course be decorated with cushions and fairy lights and photos shared on social media. Another nice touch is use of Swedish accents to the English fort design names!

Lockdown London

Photographer Jan Enkelmann has captured the stillness and eerie beauty of deserted iconic London streets, landmarks and underground stations in photos taken on nightly cycling expeditions, his chosen form of daily exercise during the lockdown. One of many creatives currently with little work, he is involved with #artistsupportpledge, a campaign set up by artist Matthew Burroughs, whereby images of work are posted on social media to sell for no more than £200 each and every time you reach £1000 worth of sales, you pledge to buy another artist’s work for £200. Jan Enkelmann’s lovely shots are available as signed A3 prints for £45 each.

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