The Best Flexible Brands

I’m continuing my research into my D&AD project on branding a fashion films exhibition in Russia. I was trying to think, what do British Council want out of this? They want footfall to the actual exhibition, conversation in the fashion community, both online and locally, and recognition of the influence of Britain in the fashion and film industry. The whole thing isn’t about cinema, it’s about motion.

Well that would’ve been a quicker way of writing my last blog post…

I’ve made up my mind on a few matters. First off the branding should revolve around an icon of some sort, immune from language barriers. Secondly the identity should be flexible. Flexible identities are becoming increasingly popular, but I feel it’s especially relevant here considering the ever-changing trend-based nature of fashion and the focus on motion the films in the exhibition have too.

For bilingual identities I looked at Minsk’s recent branding.

Courtesy of... Minsk I guess.

Courtesy of… Minsk I guess.

Their identity worked seamlessly over each languag and that’s what I really want to achieve here too. Online font foundry FontFabric offer a fantastic range of cyrillic typefaces, and so they’ll be the first place I go when typesetting this whole thing.

As for flexible identities I’ve looked at a number of examples. An interesting one is scandenavian cold-weather outfitter Nordkyn.

Courtesy of Nordkyn

Courtesy of Nordkyn

Each logo follows a template but is totally different and can be created using a custom algorithm, mathematics or some other form of confusing computer-based wizardry. Ultimately what it creates is a custom, unique little mountain shape to be used and morhped and played with throughout the branding. It’s an incredibly simple but elegant solution.

Another example is Current TV, a rebrand by Wolff Olins I’ve already featured here before.

Courtesy of Current and Wolff Olins

Courtesy of Current and Wolff Olins

They animated their logo as a flag blowing in the wind. Each static logo is a screenshot from that animation, a totally unique idea and one that creates a different yet recognisable logo each time.


Courtesy of ITV

Courtesy of ITV

Another very interesting approach was implemented in ITV’s most recent rebrand. Their logo uses an algorithm which samples whatever image it’s placed on and changes the colours of each segment accordingly. Once again, a simple idea but it looks incredibly elegant in application, even it is does depend on what image it’s placed on as to whether the logo sucks or not.


Courtesy of Ontario College Of Art and Design

Courtesy of Ontario College Of Art and Design

Finally I looked at OCAD University (Ontario College of Art and Design) and their new identity which is simply composed of blocks which rearrange themselves in each application. Once again, it couldn’t be a simpler device but I actually really like this identity, despite some criticism on its initial release. It’s bold, but not overbearing, and the flexibile nature of it give the school an almost Bauhaus feel of freedom.

Now it’s a case of nailing my brand values and applying these thoughts. Will just have to wait and see how that goes then!

Listening to: Everything Is Connected and Everything Matter by Empire! Empire! (I Was A Lonely Estate)


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