Archives for category: Branding

We have a certain fondness for Scandinavian design; what’s not to love when functionality and simplicity converge? These characteristics extend through many facets of design, including architecture, furniture, household objects, and, of course, photography and graphic design. So it’s no wonder we’re so taken with this series of photographs by Danish photographer Mikkel Jul Hvilshøj. Commissioned by iconic, high-end Danish housewares brand Eva Solo, Hvilshøj captured these fantastic “visual recipes” in such a way that they could honestly stand on their own based on artistic merit. Hvilshøj’s work elevates marketing photography to another level. We not only love the concept, but it’s executed brilliantly.

Via hvilshoj.com

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No matter what you think of CNN’s new corporate font, aptly named CNN Sans, CNN’s investment in not only the font itself, but this humorous, highly-produced video touting its attributes seems like a win for those of us who hold the value of typography in the highest regard. As far as we’re concerned, increased awareness of the importance of typography can only be a good thing. Albeit, there are some haters who consider CNN Sans to be a blatant ripoff of Helvetica (CNN even acknowledges the, um, resemblance between the two). In case you’re wondering about possible copyright infringement, no worries… CNN Sans was developed by type foundry powerhouse Monotype Imaging, who has brought us ubiquitous typefaces such as Times New Roman, Gill Sans and Arial. Oh, and they own the rights to Helvetica.

Via cnncommentary.com

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Just this week, Uber unveiled a global rebranding that not only strayed a bit from its recognizable logotype, but also introduced a rather detached set of app icons. Can’t say that we suffered from extreme design envy over the previous Uber logotype, but it was fine. While their new logotype seems like a step in the right direction (thicker letterforms and tighter composition for maximum readability), the highbrow concept behind the app icons and larger identity seems rather misguided, and will surely be lost on most. Yes, Uber’s official statement references “bits and atoms” (“The unique aspect of Uber is that we exist in the physical world. When you push a button on your phone, a car moves across the city and appears where you are. We exist in the place where bits and atoms come together. That is Uber. We are not just technology but technology that moves cities and their citizens.”) In theory, the thought process behind the concept, which is customized identities for specific markets that aim to draw colors and patterns from “art, architecture, tradition, old and new fashion, textiles, the environment”, is a thoughtful one. But from a branding perspective, it seems to dilute the impact of the Uber brand as a whole. And that doesn’t even address that larger concern that the icon itself is not identifiable in any way as Uber. Though we had issues with the previous icon employing a dissimilar “U” letterform from the Uber logotype, at least it was just that, a letter U. This icon, or rather set of icons – one for riders, another for divers – make no effort to resemble the new Uber logotype in any way. Why abandon the “U”? Our view is not the basis of some pretentious design theory, but simple human nature. In our estimation, the biggest stumble here was not hiring branding experts for the task. We are not knocking in-house designers… they are often immensely talented with an invaluable familiarity and investment in a given brand. But this was surely not a 12+ months-long task meant to be spearheaded by a non-designer CEO. There are experts in the field who do this sort of thing, we are among them. We hear the cry among our peers: “Help us help you!” Sure, the presentation of Uber’s new identity is slick, but the principals behind the design concept as a whole indicate a lack of design leadership. An unfortunate case of just looking pretty, but not meeting a brand’s true potential.

Visuals via Uber

 

 

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The work of Montreal-based Mathieu Lévesque is, quite simply, a masterclass in food photography. We are in awe of Lévesque’s ability to apply his own creative vision to everything he (re)touches. His attention to detail is remarkable. And the wit and whimsy present in so much of his work elevates it to the next level. We are engaged on many levels by his work… inspired, envious and hungry!

Via Behance

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Bucking tradition, and just about every rule in a marketer’s playbook, global powerhouse brand Coca-Cola has taken a bold stance on topic du jour: equality and prejudice. In observation of the month of Ramadan in the Middle East, Coca-Cola has, for the first time in its storied 129 year history, stripped its cans of its iconic script logo in an effort to demonstrate a world without labels. Aptly titled “No Labels”, the campaign is sort of a social experiment to get into the minds of people regarding labels, preconceptions and stereotypes in general. Bearing nothing but its highly recognizable “dynamic ribbon” and the message “Labels are for cans not for people”, the limited-edition cans make a bold and beautiful statement. As designers, we are drawn to the visual simplicity juxtaposed with the powerful message. It’s actually rather telling of the current corporate branding landscape at large: businesses are opting to streamline their identities by making their logos simpler and flatter. Be sure to check out Coca-Cola’s masterful commercial to accompany the socially conscious campaign.

Via coca-colacompany.com

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Given the late breaking, historical news that a NASA probe, launched some nine and a half years ago, and traveling an astounding 3 billion miles, has finally reached Pluto just hours ago, we thought it fitting to showcase this series of custom astronomy logos by Berlin-based designer Jonas Söder. We love Söder’s style here, sort of giving a nod to sci-fi graphics of the 1950s, but with a modern twist. His use of texture is quite nice, with a clear typographical prowess, as demonstrated by his custom letterforms. Out of this world, indeed.

Via Behance

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So, we stumbled upon this viral video recently, and were in complete awe. You will be too, if you haven’t seen it already, guaranteed. It made us ponder the irony of being so taken with corporate logos carefully drawn by hand, even though that’s exactly how they were developed in the not so distant past. It’s no wonder this video has circulated so rapidly… we live and design in a time when doing things without the use of a computer is such a novelty. Armed with little more than some calligraphy pens, London-based Seb Lester, a trained graphic designer with a penchant for calligraphy, miraculously recreates distinct and recognizable complex letterforms with complete ease and surprising accuracy. Sit back snd marvel, as these logos seem to just emerge from his steady hand. We bow down to Lester and his tremendous talents.

Compilation video below, plus a few of our other favorites follow. Can you guess what’s about to materialize as he starts each logo?

Keep up with Lester and all of his hand drawn logos on his various social media channels: Instagram, Facebook, Vimeo, YouTube, Twitter

Via seblester.com and Vimeo

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More doodling.

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Harry Potter

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I doodle a lot.

A post shared by Seb Lester (@seblester) on

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Latest doodle

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News doodle

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Balancing work and family is an issue close to our hearts. The culture at Barbour fosters this balance brilliantly, so we listened intently when Amanda Altman of Rochester-based A3 Design took the stage at Create Upstate (see related posts here, here and here) last week. Her speech, entitled Mind My Own Business, explored the ins and outs of Altman’s experiences of not only running, but also refocusing and repositioning, a design studio with her husband, Alan. And all while juggling the demands of marriage and family. We were taken with Altman’s sincerity and candor on a subject that’s not often brought to the forefront. If her articulation was any indication, Altman could honestly have a second career as a life coach for creatives. If we had to choose a highlight, this frank pearl of wisdom pretty much sums it up: “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life… bullshit!”

Altman made a smart choice to show “pretty pictures” of A3’s outstanding body of work while speaking (scroll down for a sampling). Needless to say, the Altmans seem to be balancing masterfully. Really well done.

Via a3-design.com

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A couple members of the Barbour team had the honor of witnessing a speaking engagement by the incomparable Dana Tanamachi at Create Upstate in Syracuse last week. The event itself was terrific, from the impressive venue (great food, btw), awesome vendors, and stellar lineup of speakers. One highlight was undoubtedly the inspirational work and philosophy of Tanamachi. Honestly, we’re not saying anything new here, just bowing down, as most who are exposed to her transcendent work tend to do. Texas-bred, Brooklyn-based Tanamachi, whose lettering work is quite ubiquitous (you’ve probably seen it, or a rip-off of it, and may not have realized it was hers), seems quite gracious, humble, passionate and sincere when discussing her craft. She’s not some Brooklyn hipster who is too cool for school. Her tremendous talents seemed to have emerged over time, and her rise in the design world happened organically, which we truly admire. Tanamachi is a rock star among our peers, and we are just happy to have spent an engaging hour in her presence. Here’s a small sampling of her formidable body of work… prepare to drool.

Via tanamachistudio.com

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Few food items are more iconic than the beloved Oreo cookie. Introduced 103 years ago tomorrow (Happy Birthday, Oreo!), this sandwich cookie has long been recognized as the best-selling cookie in the U.S. With credentials like that, it’s no surprise that the Oreo brand has a massive advertising budget that allows for some terrifically creative campaigns. Its most recent, Play with Oreo, has spawned a commission of 10 global artists (Shotopop, Jeff Soto, Ryan Todd, McBess, Andrew Bannecker, Geoff McFetridge, Andy Rementer, Alex Trochut, Craig and Karl and Brosmind) to create Oreo-themed masterpieces. Spearheaded by advertising firm The Martin Agency, these whimsical ads will be showcased outdoors in New York City, Los Angeles and Indianapolis, and across Oreo social media channels, throughout March. Makes us wanna reach for a tall glass of milk, and dunk.

Via playwithoreo.com

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