Typo London 2012 Social

The way we approach design is changing. In a world where social media can play such a pivotal factor in a brand’s success, we no longer own a brand. The consumer does.

On the 19th and 20th October the University of London was taken over once again by a plethora of industry leaders, budding designers and flamboyant eccentrics for the annual Typo London Conference.

With guest speakers such as Vaughn Oliver, Anthony Burril, Ken Garland and Paula Scher of Pentagram, Typo London 2012 ‘Social’ set out to investigate the myriad of ways in which designers can function socially. From Sustainable Graphic Design to the analysis of an idealistic design process, there was much on offer for attendants.

Highlights of the Day included Sara De Bondt’s evaluation on the unsustainable and overtly destructive techniques found in many commercial print and production processes, raising awareness of the social responsibilities of being a Graphic Designer and their role in reducing the adverse effects on environmental impact.

Areas of discussion included the ‘Sustainable Graphic Design’ Widget, designed to be used as a tool of reference when materialising design concepts. Sara also highlighted the current developments in Eco friendly Typography designed for use with inkjet printers, typefaces that have minuscule holes in them that reduce the amount of ink that is used and the need to replenish cartridges.

Another Key speaker of the day was Simon Manchipp (SomeOne). Simon highlighted the current status of the branding world and how one would go about tackling a brief in today’s socially driven industry. He stated that Logos are dead.They are a hangover from old-school thinking about branding. There is no desire by the public for a new logo. They are simply an old-fashioned approach to differentiating products or services.”

David Law, Manchipp’s partner at SomeOne had this to add.

“When you look at brands like O2, its success lies in the richness and depth of its brand world (bubbles, blue grad etc). This forms a flexible branded platform that is instantly recognisable. You could remove the logo and still know the brand. The logo in itself is not the ‘hero’. Brands now ‘move’ as standard — being ‘Apple‘ implies all sorts of physics that lend attributes to the brand and do not rely on the logo to do everything.”

Law continued to say that “The number of platforms, media, applications (and now ‘experiences’) that need to be branded has multiplied significantly with technology. People simply get bored quicker and brand worlds allow the conversation to ‘flow’.”

Interestingly if we look at Paula Scher’s recent rendition of the Microsoft Windows logotype for ‘Windows 8’, the topic of a much heated debate when it was prematurely leaked on the internet prior to its official launch, we can see how a somewhat reserved application of a logo design plays a relatively minor role when looking at the emotive attributes that are evoked when creating a ‘brand world’.

Does this mean logos should be disregarded altogether? What if a client insists on having a logo? In conclusion; it would seem logos are no longer the catalyst of a brand. This does not mean they should be disregarded, but the ethos of a brand should be developed through creating dialogue, conversation and emotive links that engage with the consumer.

As designers it is important that we recognise these social changes. As the industry evolves, so must the way we approach design. In today’s socially driven market, designers who are socially aware will have a considerable advantage in dealing with the challenges we face as an industry.

Further Reading

Creative review – How to be Greener


Tags: Branding, Theory