Branding the School of Visual Arts IxD Thesis Festival
I led the efforts to develop an identity for the 2018 MFA Interaction Design program thesis festival at the School of Visual Arts in New York. The identity is based around the theme STATE / CHANGE, which speaks to concepts offering solutions for change within a transient world.
The challenge was developing an identity to encompass seventeen wildly unique projects – ranging from civic tools for debate, connected toys to fight climate change, to a blockchain powered competitive meme game. The tone had to strike a balance between inspirational concepts and sophisticated solutions for wicked problems – across analog and digital products and services.
The final direction features a hybrid sans-serif on a static grid juxtaposed by a soft, undulating blob. The graphics were created to help promote the festival across digital platforms, social media, as well as for a variety of print materials, environmental graphics, and exhibition wayfinding.
Creative Direction · Branding
Azucena Romá, Design Lead and Art Direction:
Nour Malaeb, Generative Art:
Glenda Capdeville, Paula Daneze, Production
STATE / CHANGE Presentations
One of few students in my cohort with a graphic design background, I was first in line to volunteer to develop the identity for our thesis festival in the MFA Interaction Design program at the School of Visual Arts. The identity is based around the theme STATE / CHANGE, speaking to concepts offering solutions for change within a transient world.
The challenge was developing an identity to encompass seventeen wildly unique projects – ranging from civic tools for debate, connected toys to fight climate change, to a blockchain powered competitive meme gaming. The tone had to strike a balance between inspirational concepts and sophisticated solutions for wicked problems – across analog and digital interfaces.
Initial Concepts & Creative Direction
Nour and I kicked off the process by exploring current design trends. Both of us love typography, grid systems, and are really into the kinetic type work being done by Mitch Paone at DIA studio and the experimental forms from Zach Lieberman. I barely escaped the glitch type and gradient wormhole to mock up several aesthetic directions for our classmates to vote on.
The initial design directions featured flat gradients and and distorted type in motion. I was looking for a quirky, linear, neo-grotesque typeface that would work well on a grid system and remembered Px Grotesk from Optimo, which I’ve had a crush on for years. Px Grotesk’s is designed after the rendering of typographic curves on screens, so it seemed a fitting hybrid for interaction design projects by the class, which were a mix of physical and technology-driven designs products and services. The class preferred the static type contrasted by gradient spheres in faux motion.
Though the initial design direction featured flat gradients, we still wanted something more expressive to really capture the idea of a state of flux. Nour had been experimenting with Blender3D and was tasked with adding in the motion. Moving forward it was important to consider the relationship between the content and the layout. While the strong grid, bold all caps type treatment, and typeface conveyed a technologically progressive and serious tone, we were now relying on blobby’s motion and color palette to balance out the message with something harmonious and inspirational.
Nour came up with several different options to bring the design to life. The one that worked best was a single blob with a contrast between soft and hard edges, with a little tweaking Blobby was born. We were really happy with the way the strong type sat atop the soft colored, calming, fuzzy edged, undulating blob.