D&AD 2019 Day 2
Day 2 of the festival was another action packed day, from talks, discussion panels, live Q&A’s and a workshop by Belgian, visual artist, Musketon. In a workshop sponsored by Adobe and Microsoft, where we used their new Surface Studio desktop, which was really cool. A screen that doubled up as a standard monitor, and was also able to be pulled down to be used as a huge tablet on the desk, really nice for calligraphy. (However, sorry, but Apple and the Apple Pencil are still leaps and bounds ahead). Anyway, Musketown showed us some of his recent work on the Chainsmokers video ‘Who do you love’, where the lyrics were painted on a wall in a stop motion animation, which was a really great outcome overall.
He explained how fun and intense the project was, however how it could also have been done digitally, Teaching us how to create type in Illustrator, then take it into After Effects and animate it. Unfortunately I don’t have a copy of the video.
Building un-corporate identities - Chris Moody (Wolf Olins)
The first talk was by Wolff Olins’ Chris Moody, on building un-corporate brands. Here he discussed many things to consider, when designing a brand identity. First of all he asked; What is a brand? Explaining some common misconceptions. A brand is not simply a logo, but a set of ideas, carefully articulated to use the same language to convey the core values of a company, to the right people. However, branding is also not advertising.
This was an interactive talk, so we were given a number of quick tasks to put this idea into practice. The first thing we discussed was purpose. To create an effective brand you need to understand and define the companies purpose. The experience. You need to work out what the experience the brand needs to have with its customers, you cant please everyone, so aim to please the brands ‘ideal’ customer. Then there is the overall theres the identity and how it works. A 360o identity covers many, many things, but are mostly contained into 4 areas. Verbal assets, seasonal assets, interactive assets and visual assents.
Top tips to take away;
No one ever brought slide 23. By this Moody means that you need to be selective of what you show to a client, and don’t bombard them as this will be to much to take in and they wont connect with any that well. The sweet-spot he explains, is about 6 strong ideas.
There is never enough time (just accept that).
‘Nearly’ is the same as ‘never’.
Portfolios are for estate agents. Moody explained that he doesn’t care so much about the portfolio, but how well you can tell a story. Make people feel a part of the story. - Im not sure how much of this I agree with, but it definitely made me understand how important it is to focus on how you tell the story of the project through the portfolio.
On freedom and risk - Edel Rodriguez (Edel Rodriguez Studio)
I was not previously aware of Rodriguez’s work, which is one of the best things I think about the D&AD festival, being introduced to things and people you did not previously know. Rodriguez is a Cuban born artist, who immigrated to America with his family in 1980, due to the revolution making it such a problematic place to live.
He is most famous now for his bold, often controversial magazine covers, especially for Time magazine and Der Spiegel, most recently for his work orientated around Trump and current affairs. He has now made about 150 magazine covers which he explains are designed as mini posters, as they do a similar job. They are made to capture the eye on a magazine stand from someone on the other-side of the room.
When ‘the whole Trump thing’ started happening in America, Rodriguez knew he had to do something for it. He begun designing images almost daily, posting them on his Twitter, Instagram and other social media, in the hope someone would pick them up. They did. Time magazine asked him to crate a cover, the outcome was ‘meltdown’. They then came back and asked for a sequel following the meltdown, which was ‘total meltdown’.
This sequel, completely unexpected by Rodriguez, Time asked for more, and more, and more, which lead to all of these… the style we all recognise, and instantly associated with Trump. Really fantastic story of creating off his own back, turning into the most recognisable imagery of the time.
If all of this was not controversial enough, he also did a series of ISIS when that was big in the news in 2014. doing a number of incredibly powerful posters. One of them was a poster which was around the hype of the ice bucket challenge, he created an ISIS version called the blood bucket challenge, so while all the ice bucket videos were kicking around the internet he threw this into the mix, slapping everyone back to reality and to notice what is actually going on at the time.
His boldness and courage to do controversial, powerful art is inspiring. Not the political side personally, but the fact of making something so strong and so recognisable. With the trump imagery, this was so powerful and mostly all used only 4 colours, B&W, orange, yellow and red, that almost anything he designed using the colours was instantly associated with Trump. He decided to see how far he could ush this by creating a smoking pipe, which yup, sure was instantly recognisable, and fantastic with all the other things he created.
In conversation with Professor Green - Steven Manderson (musician & mental health activist)
Finally on day 2, an event I have been most excited about, Professor Green. Back at school I guess I was some sort of mega fan, falling in love with his ‘lucky’ neck tattoo and the extremely lucky encounter he had with it just a few weeks after getting it. I drew the tattoo type on all my books at school and everywhere that looked like it could do with something cool filling it’s space. Looking back, this was probably the first time I really begun to appreciate typography, little did I know back then that typography would shape my University experience and career. I also saw him back in the day at his 2012 At Your Inconvenience tour in Brixton, my first gig and still one of the best to date. - You can see why I was so excited to see him again!
PG then took a break from music, and begun focusing on documentaries, becoming a mental health activist and patron of mental health charity Calm in 2015. He told us about his story, of how the passing of his Father at aged 24 due to suicide, shaped his career and led him to the path of mental health awareness, doing lots of fantastic work.
He then told the story behind the song ‘Photographs’ featuring Rag’n’Bone Man. The story was that he had taken a girl home to meet his Nan, who did the classic thing of pulling out old embarrassing photographs. However, one was with him and his Father, bringing up all these emotions that had been shut away for so long. This led to the writing of the song Photographs. The song is about how you can never have enough photographs of loved ones, and to take more while you still can.
Wish that I took more photographs of us
Said goodbye now, our love's collecting dust
Just a memory of you is not enough
I wish that I took more photographs of us
The release of this song lead to a huge conversation on social media. We all thing social media is such a negative thing, but when it comes together for the good, like in this instance, it can be a beautiful thing PG explains.
PG explains that after focusing all his energy on documentaries and mental health, he has gone back to focus on music again for a bit. After being in the studio for the past year and a half, we are soon to see 2 new EP’s this year, followed by his next album next year… soon to be announced.
One tip PG made to take away was to never underestimate the audience. Don’t play down things for the audience, don’t treat them like they are dumb, they will notice, and that will impact negatively on you.
The session ended with a thorough Q&A session and then I managed to bag a selfie with the man himself!