Starting D&AD 2014

Courtesy of D&AD

It’s that time of the year again to look at doing D&AD. Last year I did an ident for the newly launched 4seven, and it was a solid project but I wanted to tackle something different this year. Something with a little more to show at the degree show than a 15 second animation. Instead I’ve chosen a brief for British Council, which rather interestingly I can only sum up as motion branding.

Basically what entrants are challenged to create is a bilingual identity for “Dressing The Screen“, a British Council exhibition on fashion films. The identity has to combine the high fashion sensibility of the designers and labels involved as the focus of the films but also portray how this translates to film and how fashion works when in motion.

Courtesy of British Council

Courtesy of British Council

I have to admit, I’m not big on fashion. I can here jaws hitting the ground so hard they’re getting fractured, but it’s true. I’m not that into fashion and so didn’t know a single thing about it. I still wanted to do this brief though, as it’s exactly what I’d ideally want to end up doing career-wise, a mix of motion work and branding. Additionally I can imagine it looking pretty striking, particularly at degree show. The deliverables for the brief are a brand, the brand in motion, a small sample of a brochure, and wayfinding signage for the exhibit itself. It’s a big brief, but one I think has a lot of potential.

Ultimately what should these branding items achieve? We want footfall at the actual exhibition, conversation both locally and online about the relationship between fashion and film and we want and an awareness of British fashion’s innovative and bold nature, without subscribing or referencing any one style too heavily.

I took a look at the Dressing The Screen promotional work that has come before and it hints as to what possibilities might be out there.

Courtesy of British Council

Courtesy of British Council

The first poster was for the very first iteration of the exhibition in Beijing. The poster’s type very clearly references cinema, making the film element isntantly apparent. Typesetting a fashion-focused title in a film-focused typesetting is an interesting approach, but maybe sends mixed signals on your initial impression of the poster. On first glance it does feel more cinematic than it needs to be. And why the need to reference cinema? Filmmakers working for fashion designers tend not to take their influences from Lars Von Trier and Nicolas Winding Refn. Instead they tend to reference early experimental graphic filmmakers like Len Lye, whose work harks back to the 30s.

 

Instead of referencing cinema in this brand it’s more important to reference motion and movement. Lye’s work varied from film material to sculpture, but all with the excitement of why motion makes this seem so much more alive. And I sure don’t want my brand to be all dead. And stuff.

Fashion designer Nick Knight, whose work was featured in the first Dressing The Screen exhibition, also talks of the importance of movement in fashion. He set up ShowStudio, a website dedicated to fashion film. If anybody knows about the connection between films and fashion it’s him. He says that any fashion designer won’t create a garment to only ever be seen from one angle, or to look good in a photograph or illustration but not in real life. This is why the catwalk has been the real litmus test of a garment. Now film can provide a similar scrutinous quality, to showcase what a garment is really like. Fashion designers, according to Knight, always design for their work to be seen in movement. THat movement should be the focus of the visuals of this brand.

Now I just need to figure out some brand values. But that can come another day. It’s no comic book project, but this is still pretty interesting. I just can’t wait to get out of the concept stage now!

Listening to: First Time Caller by White Lies

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