D&AD 2019 Day 1

Day 1

Year 3 of attending the D&AD festival, I thought it would be good to blog about my favourite talks again, as I got so much more out of it last year after reflecting on what happened each day. I am going to set it out similarly to last year, with what the talk was about, ending with a take away liner. So here is what I got up to in the 2019 festival…

The first draft of anything is shit - Alice Tonge (Head of 4 Creative)

To start off with, I love the work 4 Creative produces, and really like the rebrand they created last year. I think it works beautify, without being too different which would no doubt cause a lot of upset. I really inspirational rebrand project.

At Tonge’s talk today she began telling us about the identity they did for the Russian Winter Olympics is 2014, with their fearless #GayMountain ad (bellow), really brought gay rights to the front line, showing that we support it when there was very different views going on in Russia. Tonge used this example to explain her first point; Do the Obvious, then Do the Opposite.

The second tip was to Go Commando, by this she explained that when there is no brief, but you feel strongly about something, just do it. She used the #vote100 campaign which was a campaign celebrating how much has changed in 100 years since women have had the vote to explain this. This was not a brief set by Channel 4, but something they felt was important that it was noticed. The ad was created and Ch 4 loved it and took it on. However that there was no point having an idea and exciting it half-heartedly because its not paid, rather use the chance to make the most perfect thing you have ever worked on. Someone may bite, or at least it is a great way to as thinks to your portfolio of work.

Tip number three, Fail Harder. This was meaning be bold with your ideas and take risks, sometimes you will fall flat on your face… but sometimes it will really pay off. She said would you rather make something boring following the brief, or would you rather be bold and risky, possibly fucking up the brief, but maybe you wont.

Craft the shit out of it. Just because it is one thing, doesn’t mean it cant be many more. For the 2015 Grand National, 4 Creative fist of all, taking the first point off ‘Do the Obvious, then Do the Opposite’, they realised that all Grand National media always had the horse at the centre of attention, never the jockey. So to start with they focused on this. They wanted to get the rawness and grit of one of the most dangerous sports, and to do this they photographed jockeys immediately after the rase, where there was real blood, sweat and tears clearly visible. In doing this they noticed that men and women all compete together which I (and they) never knew before working on the project. Anyway, back to ‘Craft the shit out of it’. They created a fantastic identity for the Grand National, that was the brief answered. However they did it in such a stunning way that the portraits themselves, earned a place in the National Portrait Gallery for the photography alone! Truly stunning imagery.

2015 Grand National

The final tip she shared, was Think Bigger than the Brief. Channel 4 have always been a catalyst for taking risks, and being truly innovative across the UK television sector, so they are willing to do things that many other channels may not even dream about. Because of this they were open to some crazy ideas, allowing 4 Creative to really think bigger than the brief. This is clear when given the brief to get young people to get out and vote on the 7th of May 2015. They proposed shutting down the channel for the whole day, to persuade young people to get out and vote rather than sit inside and watch TV, anyone switching on that day will see friendly Darren.

Another example of when they thought bigger than the brief, was with the 2016 Rio Power Olympics games identity, where they famously took the work ‘disability’ and reimagined it to ‘superhumans’, with the fantastic and and song ‘Yes I Can’.

Final reflection: when sending work to a client, you should have butterflies. This is a way to judge if what you are sending is good, you care about it, and are taking a risk. It means you are probably doing something truly original.

Designing an icon - Rob Janoff (Designer of the Apple logo)

This was a fantastic talk. With stories behind the scened of the beginning of apple and the creation of one of the most famous logos in the world. Rob designed the breakthrough logo in 1977. Previously it had been a pen and inc drawing which he knew was just not the logo of a computer company. Evolution of the logo below.

Apple 1976

Apple 1976

Apple 1977

Apple 1977

Apple Current

Apple Current

Many people think the story behind the 1977 logo was something to do with Adam and Eve. Janoff explains this is totally wrong, it is simply because the company is called Apple. The idea behind the colours, which has since left the logo was that at the time the Apple computer was the only computer which could display colour, this was because you had the computer itself, which you plugged into your TV, rather than a computer monitor. This inspired the colours, as these bars were the TV colour test screen of the time. The colours were super important in the logo at the time because it was so (as often associated with apple thinking) revolutionary, and that set them apart form everyone else.

The graphic style at the time was still heavily pop art inspired and Rob explained how he got a lot of his inspiration from the logo from his favourite film, the animated film of the Beetles Yellow Submarine. Apple as we all know has revolutionised the technology world as we know it, you are probably reading this on one of their devices. It’s a logo that almost everyone has in their pocket every second off the day.

Top tips to take away:

  1. Always give it your best shot - (you never know when it will pay off)

  2. Stand up for your design

  3. Always have a backup! (however Rod said he didn’t have a backup for the Apple logo as he was young and he just knew what it had to be, which is risky. He explains that he never does that anymore though!)

How NYC Inspired Squarespace’s New Brand Identity - David Lee & Nessim Higson (Squarespace)

Targeted primarily at creative professionals, Squarespace has exploded onto the scene in recent years. It is fantastic. However it was actually launched in 2003 if you can believe. Providing people of all skill with beautiful websites, (like this one!). Lee and Higson explained why the rebrand was necessary, and what the core values and personality of Squarespace is, that they want to project.

Squarespace rebrand

Launched on December 3rd 2018, the rebrand of Squarespace was official. It was received well, many not noticing the subtle rebranded logo even happened, which Lee and Higson explained was probably a good thing. The most noticeable aspect of the new identity was how it interacted with customers. From the simple animation of the loading icon, to how the homepage worked and payments were processed.

So why a refresh? There were a few reasons. First, growth. Squarespace has grown considerably, from its original 7 employees to now, with its 950+ employees. They also wanted to create an even more consistent brand, along with their brand colours of simply black and white, they explain how diverse the usage is and how and when they use colour. They wanted a more legible brand, with good quality control of all touch-points. And finally they wanted the users to feel as if they owned that bit of space on the internet, describing it as selling real estate, people can build whatever they please on their bit of real estate, its theirs. You can build a shop, restaurant, gallery, blog, anything.

They then discussed what the personality is of Squarespace, that they are trying to adhere to with their tone of voice and identity, to put the rebrand into context. They want to create a brand that is truly fearless, ‘slightly left off centre’, a brand that is quietly rebellious and all importantly, design obsessed. They explained how with their rebrand, they went from an approach of a ‘logo as identity = static approach’ to a ‘behaviour as identity = kinetic approach’. The previous identity was static, where as the new one is, well, really not. See the launch video bellow.

There are a few unnamed quotes in their presentation that I really connected with and I wanted to share here;

“style comes and goes, design is a language, not a style”

“what’s the use of being legible, when nothing inspires you to take notice”

These are really motivational to think outside the box, and really consider what the outcome of a brief could be.

Top tips to take away;

  1. Embrace who you are

  2. Be unpredictable

  3. Make yourself uncomfortable


Those were my top 3 talks of today, a great start to the festival, follow the blog to Day 2!