Kickstarting Classics: Reissuing the Standards Manual

Curator: Peter McClelland
date: September 29, 2014
Categories: Brand & Identity Design, Information Design, Typography
Tags:

We probably all think of kickstarter as an outlet for wacky new inventions. Luckily some design nerds (no offense to Jesse Reed & Hamish Smyth) saw an opportunity to share a piece of design legend with the world. They’ve rebuilt Massimo Vignelli and Bob Noorda's signage and way finding system, the NYCTA Graphics Standards Manual. 364 pages of perfectly crafted letterforms and information design. So if you’re an admirer of Vignelli and you’ve got some money lying around—hurry up and back it.

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Helsinki's 2014 Flow Festival Branding by Finnish Studio Tsto

Curator: Dan Blackman
date: September 19, 2014
Categories: Advertising, Brand & Identity Design, Design in Music, Environmental Design, Typography
Tags: branding, identity design, music, signage
Recently on a trip to Finland I happened upon the amazing design work for Helsinki's Flow Festival by local studio Tsto. The banners and event posters enticed my girlfriend and I so much that we decided to go and check it out.
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Copenhagen's Frost Music Festival Has One Hot Identity

Curator: Sue Murphy
date: September 12, 2014
Categories: Brand & Identity Design, Design in Music, Motion Graphics, Poster Design
Tags: animation, Copenhagen, identity design, music
Like just about everything else in Copenhagen, the identity design for Frost, a series of music events held every February, is beautiful. To keep things exciting, designers Marcus Fuchs and Mads Botker haven't taken the easy route, but have created a fresh look for the festival each year since 2011.
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Gretel NY's Extremely Authentic IFC Rebranding

Curator: Sue Murphy
date: September 9, 2014
Categories: Brand & Identity Design, Entertainment Design, Motion Graphics
Tags: branding, media

IFC Branding from Gretel on Vimeo.

Creative studio Gretel NY gave comedy network IFC a whole new rebranded self. I'm not talking about just a logo here. Like, if IFC were a person, they got a whole new wardrobe, refined their accent, gotten a ton of cool hobbies, started eating right, hanging out with awesome people, etc. 

But enough metaphors. Besides the awesome design, what wowed me was how well Gretel did their homework.

"We started with a thorough brand audit. We met with everyone: marketing, on-air, off-air, digital, social, scheduling, research, programming—everyone."

After all this thorough research (something all us designers quest for), Gretel noticed that IFC is loved by fans on social networks. Their blog, Facebook and Twitter were filled with "Bite-sized chunks, lists, memes, quotes. It all felt fresh." 

That insight ended up informing everything from the new brand voice to how they structured promos and IDs. Gretel sure did tick all the boxes in terms of execution, but this deeper insight has given IFC a rebrand that feels super authentic.

Nicely done, niiiice-ly done. 
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Colorplan Sample Book for G.F. Smith by Made Thought

Curator: Wade Jeffree
date: August 14, 2014
Categories: Brand & Identity Design, Packaging Design, Typography
Tags: logo, paper, printing, Typography

For some time now, paper merchants have been looked upon by designers as an opportunity to produce “print porn."  Yes, most are beautiful things in their own right, but what were they beside a designer's wet dream?


This is where the strength of design studio Made Thought’s rebrand and repositioning of paper manufacturer G.F Smith, and more specifically their new Colorplan paper sample book, is brilliant. Not only does it show a level of restraint not shown in many other sample books, but its core value and offerings are evident in every piece. It's paper, and beautiful paper at that, so why not show the paper for what it is? It's a really strong concept that makes you think “I wish I did that,” executed to the utmost perfection of quality. Made Thought truly nailed this.


The effortlessly simple confidence and beauty of the product itself is always prevalent. All the pieces have minimal printing crafted using techniques that are exceptionally gorgeous. From the business card that uses a very traditional piece of craft called paper marquetry to showcase not one or two, but three styles of Colorplan offering at once, the three papers represent three signature aspects of the range: color, weight and embossing.


The same technique is also used on the sample booklet, which uses simple fold techniques to minimize material waste, and once again, showcase the paper. Minimal printing is used, with only the necessary details. You're clearly informed and understand how the paper will hold a texture and print when needed. The concept is inherent in the product and has been used with craft and high production value to form a real gem for the designer to truly salivate over, whilst having a piece that is useful for the potential specifier.


The transition from something that's inherently physical to the digital world is also somewhat seamless, and the best use I have experienced. You can view and get a gauge for how different stock weights bend and look just by viewing videos on the site. The colors and textures are fully viewable in hi-resolution downloads—I've used many in image mock-ups for client presentation. The production introduction videos are all exquisite.


Being so wrapped up in the paper and online components, I almost overlooked the bespoke typeface for the logo designed by Colophon. It’s subtlety only helps by heightening that the product is key through and through when showcasing their offering.


When a good product is coupled with strong thinking, beauty will take shape. It's obvious with this example. I implore you to get calling or emailing to get your hands on a piece. Below are further examples that incorporate the beauty shown in the above.

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