My D&AD Logo Troubles

So I’ve not really spoken about my D&AD project all that much since deciding on what brief to tackle. I’m working on the British Council brief, a sprawling monster of a task but the work itself is right up my street. British Council are hosting an exhibition in Russia called “Dressing The Screen: The Rise of Fashion Film.” This isn’t fashion in cinema, so leave those James Bond and the Devil Wears Prada ideas right there. Fashion films are created specifically to promote fashion brands or releases. They’re often 2–minute kaleidoscopes of beautiful people in extravagant clothes shot and edited in an ever more extravagant manner.

They need an identity which marries the seductive and elegant world of fashion with the fluid form and movement captured when fashion is committed to film. The identity also needed to be bi-lingual and represent national identity without resorting to clichés. For this reason I wanted to identity to be more visual than text-driven, to make the brand as universal as possible. It’s important all elements of the brand work by themselves without any supporting text.

I wanted to create a generative identity – a logo and subsequent set of elements which can be tweaked and changed yet always remain recognisable. This is achieved through laying out rules and parameters on how the logo is built and allowing these parameters to shift to create an icon which is different every time it’s printed. I thought it’d be a cool idea to draw out a weave or stitch pattern between a set of co-ordinates, and then be able to shift these co-ordinates to change the appearance of the logo. These co-ordinates could then double as co-ordinates on a map, all the emphasise how fashion changes dependent on location.

Some of the development for my branding for D&AD.

Some of the development for my branding for D&AD.

The problem is tackling this in a style that matches the abstract drama of the fashion films themselves whilst making it elegant and functional. Above is just a sample of the 80+ logos I developed whilst trying to nail a logo for this thing. I’ve still not gotten to a logo I’m completely happy with either, and my work so far has received some mixed reception. It’s a fine line between making something abstract and making it recognisably stitched or recognisably representing fabric. Furthermore I’ve got to think, how am I going to animate this thing?

My first main set of logo concepts for the project.

My first main set of logo concepts for the project.

Ultimately I liked the stitched logos the most. Crossing lines and trying to make a weave graphic that flexes always ended up looking clunky and complicated, especially when creating something that reproduces at any reasonable sizes and could be animated in any interesting way. The stitch logos on the other hand proved a little unrecognisable, so since then I have tried to add elements to make it more definitively based on a fabric stitch. I’ve added  a cross-stitch in the middle of the square, or a hem to the base of the ‘fabric’, or even shredding the edges to make it look like a patch of fabric, but ultimately adding a simple needle worked the best.

Further flexible identity development.

Further flexible identity development.

The needle seems to work best, and can be doubled as a device to stick into maps, much like a location marker on Google Maps. The issue now is that all of the co-ordinate points look rather messy and jumbled, to achieve that truly flexible logo. This is proving a really tough nut to crack, but I’m getting there slowly but surely.

The other elements we have to create are a brochure (complete with a few double-page spreads), exhibition signage, an invitation, plus an introduction to the films shown in the exhibition (an ident of sorts). For the brochure I aim to run with the stitching element and stitch the logo into a thick, black card, with a grid of punched holes to allow for quick sewing. The invitation could run along the same lines, or perhaps be in a sleeve where the inside design and the outside design crossing could create a motion element to the whole thing.

Those are still in the development stage until I finish the logo. After that I can riff ideas off of its elements to help me create something create  and playful.

Oh, and by the way. That bi-lingual typeface. WHAT. A. FIND.

Listening to: Last Goodbye by Jeff Buckley


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