As a graphic design studio in Newcastle we always take note of what’s happening in the wider design world. Lots can happen in just one short week so here’s a quick roundup of some of the bigger stories we’ve followed from the past seven days.
DePaul UK are a charity devoted to helping young homeless and disadvantaged people. One way in which they do this is through a scheme called Nightstop which provides emergency accommodation for vulnerable young people in the houses of local volunteers. In order to better promote this scheme, a poster campaign was started last week around London. The posters are set on building corners with the design split across the two walls. When viewed from one angle, the message is one of fear and reticence in getting involved with helping homeless people. But when looked at across both walls, the design ‘completes’ with the sentences taking on a different message of hope and understanding. It is a simple but effective idea utilising very intelligently written copy that reads accurately from both viewpoints.
What is also interesting about this project is the manner in which the posters have been deployed. Located in areas of well-known homelessness, it would seem that the posters are unlikely to reach their required audience, those who don’t know about the scheme and would want to get involved in helping. Instead, the idea appears to be for those who do see the posters to be intrigued by the concept, photograph the posters and share them online. It is an intriguing hybrid of traditional print promotion and social media viral marketing. The posters have already appeared on a number of blogs (mainly of a design or creative nature) and hopefully the images will spread and gain much needed traction.
The last few years have seen a raft of rebrands and revamps of Scottish whiskies – Chivas in 2012, Laphroaig in 2013 and Glenfiddich last year. At the beginning of this month, Glenlivet joined the ranks with a revised logo. The long-standing thistle icon has been replaced with an illustrative rendering of an old bridge that crosses the River Livet which runs through the distillery grounds. The icon was initially hand-sketched, then underwent a traditional lino-cutting process before being finally tweaked digitally. The press release makes much of this artisan process, as well it should since the final logo is handsomely rendered – unique, stylish and individual. As the word mark remains untouched, the only other real change to the brand has been in shifting the colour from the industry-standard green to a more idiosyncratic and luxurious purple (which also retains a link to the thistle). The new logo has dispensed with the generic Scottish-ness of the thistle in favour of a more individual icon which they hope will play better in the global market – Glenlivet is the world’s second biggest selling single malt whisky, and the number one selling in the United States.
The branding project was taken on by London-based SomeOne. In 2011, Creative Director Simon Manchipp wrote an article called ‘The Logo Is Dead?’ in which he condemned the continuing reliance on logos. His opinion, one that has since been closely tied to the agency itself, was that logos no longer serve a relevant purpose and that companies – and the creative agencies that they employ – should be building BrandWorlds™, rich, immersive experiences of image, colour and typography in which the logo can be discarded. It was, and still is, a divisive stance. And so it comes as no surprise that comments on design blogs featuring the Glenlivet rebrand have been filled with righteous indignation. Many commenters see this very logo-centric project as a huge contradiction of the agency’s anti-logo ethos. Undercutting your own widely-known design ideals in such a manner is always likely to play badly with your contemporaries, no matter how beautifully crafted your logo work may be.