Under Consideration presented the Brand New Conference this year in San Francisco. The overarching theme of the day revolved around how brands live outside the confines of a single mark, transcending graphic systems or effects – how as designers we are as much story tellers and anthropologists as we are visual communicators. This idea is certainly not a new one in the field of design (Brands as Patterns) but in the process of sharing their perspectives on identity design and crafting the stories of their clients, the speakers revealed their own stories – stories that revealed their methodology, vernacular, client interactions and even personal details. These presentations ranged from the more guarded and professional to very personal and very particular to the event.
Each presenter in short:
Vince Frost presented work guided by the Frost design studio philosophy: Care, Work, Rest, Play, Collaboration and Stories. Each project found a simple solution within the playful interaction of letters and words that formed the bases for brand languages full of life.
Christopher Simmons showcased the work of the Mine design office with a single hard won case study, a local branding project for Bun Mee Sandwich shop. An enthusiastic collaboration between client and designer, yielded a solution unique to the location, cuisine and intersection of client and studio cultures.
Representing Wolff Olins, Marina Willer presented her work as the Creative Director of WO London – work that she believes is informed as much by the internal culture of the studio as it is by each individuals experiences outside of work. Their process, solutions and contribution to global brand design has pushed the expectation around what brand design should be.
“Brands are for cows, stories are for people” was the opening slide from Paddy Harrington of Bruce Mau Design. Everyone’s body represents a story – a collections of memories that we carry and share with our communities. A brand can tap into these experiences, reminding us of it’s connection to our stories. Paddy shared the story of the re-brand for the community of Fogo in Newfoundland. The graphic language was reminiscent of the traditional quilts made throughout the region – an evolution rather than emulation of the familiar.
Brand New School’s approach to storytelling has been refined over the course of the last 10+ years. Founder Jonathan Notaro shared some of the studio’s recent motion work for major brands and networks. He described their process for engaging new clients and and in doing so opening doors for young designers to have the opportunities to direct. They believe that the best ideas are the ones that should be shared and while the presentation was just one member of the studio – the work obviously represented the ideas of a collaborative.
The story of Infinito studio is the country they work in. An energetic video introduced us to the colorful and playful world of Peru, where art and design tell the story of the country. On that epic foundation, Infinito designs brand stories for local clients big and small.
Ben Barry and Everett Katigbak shared their experience shaping and exploring the role of communication design within Facebook. Not only has their work helped evolve the external storytelling for the brand, but has acted as a tool and conduit for dialog within the company – no doubt creating a more tangible brand to continue to build from.
Last but certainly not least, just as we were all about to take ourselves seriously, Matteo Bologna and Mucca design reminded us that we are all just a bunch of self loathing design wankers who get hot when someone mentions a pair of slab serifs and some negative space.