Art trumps the message, said no one. But message does make more impact when crafted well. If an idea is the soul of a communication, then design is the body that one interacts with.
Art trumps the message, said no one. But message does make more impact when crafted well. If an idea is the soul of a communication, then design is the body that one interacts with. BrandWagon’s Meghna Sharma gets some of the best creative minds to shortlist two favourite design-led creatives each and why these make the cut. Enjoy the visual treat!
Executive Creative Director, Leo Burnett, Singapore
Recent pick: Roads that Honk
Why I like it: I have always had an unwavering belief in the power of creativity to make a positive impact. Fresh off the Cannes Lions design jury, I see it now more than ever. We awarded the Grand Prix for an ingenious use of wasted space to create the first irregularly-shaped football fields. But what also caught my attention was an anti-collision system built by HP Lubricants to prevent accidents on one of India’s most dangerous mountain roads. Perhaps it was because I had a scary experience recently or the fact that a lubricant company created something to save lives instead of running an ad. After we awarded it a Silver, I sought out the creatives behind it. It turns out that the impetus for the project was a road trip on the very highway it was designed for. Maybe to those chasing billions of digital impressions the effort of saving over 700 lives a year isn’t motivating enough; to me it’s genius.
Creator: Leo Burnett India
All time favourite: Tesla Roadster
Why I like it: This is creative brilliance from the past designed for the future — Tesla. Tesla first gained widespread attention in 2008 with the launch of the Roadster, the world’s first electric sports car. Not only has this design thinking defined a new category, but the ingenuity behind it is changing the future. Just a couple of weeks ago, Elon Musk tweeted that he has got an approval to build the first Hyperloop between NYC and DC, reducing a three-hour commute to 29 minutes; run on sustainable electric energy with magnetic levitation to travel in an underground vacuum environment. Talk about impact. We are in the business to create. Who says the answer to a brief is an ad? It might just be inventing the next thing that creates real positive impact.
Creator: Tesla Motors (now Tesla, Inc)
Director of Design, TBWA\Chiat\Day, Los Angeles
Recent pick: Google identity redesign
Why I like it: I have a lot of respect for good design on a large scale and this system is an example of that. The redesign felt like an effortless evolution, which is very difficult when millions of people interact with your brand every day. The team managed to create a solution which scales well in all applications, and the result is a cohesive look which is a vast improvement from where they were. Their system incorporates a well-made custom typeface (product sans), intelligent motion design (the dots) and takes into account the wide variety of media in which Google lives (G icon). Overall, it is an impressive effort that shows how a 21st century search brand should dress itself.
Creator: Google Creative Lab
All time favourite: 1968 Mexico Olympics identity
Why I like it: This identity programme is a wonderful example of a comprehensive design system, executed flawlessly. At the first glance, the logo itself is great, bravely combining the Olympic rings with the 68 in an op-art style. But the brilliance really becomes evident when you see the inventiveness and extent of applications. The visual language was applied to everything surrounding the event. The concentric rings became synonymous with the games. Perhaps what I love most is that this identity was done before the ease of vector illustration became an option for designers.
Creator: Lance Wyman
Mark van Iterson
Director, Global Heineken Design
Recent pick: Fearless Girl
Why I like it: Fearless Girl for me is one of the best ads of 2017 because it is extremely strong in its symbolic values. In hindsight, it seems so obvious to put a statue of a fearless girl opposite the iconic Wall Street bull to advertise a financial fund that invests in companies led by women (not per se out of idealism, but because they perform better!). But it’s not obvious at all, it’s brilliant. Simple, sympathetic, universal, perfectly executed and crossing all boundaries of traditional media. It is design, art, advertising, social media, PR, it is a movement. It serves a good cause and a financial business goal simultaneously. In the world of financial services, this activation stands out so well that it transcends the category. The citizens of New York rallied to keep the statue, and the Mayor agreed.
Creator: McCann New York
All time favourite: Lotus
Why I like it: The posters from (Bernard) Villemot from 1950s till 1980s, for me as a designer, are proof that design and advertising can blend together seamlessly. Bally (established in 1851) has a great tradition of craftsmanship, quality and style, and always works with great designers. The Lotus poster that Villemot created for Bally in 1974 is the ultimate example of beauty, the power of simplicity and iconic modern design. Imagine how daring it was and still is, to showcase the product (the shoes in this case) only very small and without any detail, and without any additional texts. Just the simple elegant shape of the two ladies, together forming a lotus bloom as a symbol of elegance, as an iconic image representing the timeless premium quality of the Bally shoe collection.
Creator: Bernard Villemot
Founder Director, Scarecrow Communications
Recent pick: Goafest 2008
Just before starting Scarecrow, I was working for Contract Mumbai. My team and I won a pitch for the communication of Goafest 2008. We thought, technically, Goafest communication would be all about warming up our advertising fraternity to attend the two-day event. But instead, we wanted to tattoo Goafest 2008 on every ad person’s mind permanently. Hence, over and above the standard social media videos and posters to be sent to agencies, we created an extensive multi-dimensional design package for the event. The logo designed then is being used by AAAI even today. We also created an official website of Goafest 2008. The signage, merchandise, etc were designed in a particular font created for the purpose (TTF). Also, to engage the delegates with the font, we created customised bags and also played font hunt games with delegates. As a result, the event is considered to be one of the most attended Goafests.
Creator: Contract Mumbai
All time favourite: Havaianas Identity
Why I like it: Havaianas is a Brazilian brand of flip-flop sandals made out of rubber. In India, the most common use of such slippers is bathroom chappals. Bata to many other local brands sell this low-cost rubber footwear at every nook and corner of India. The standard look of the slipper is white and blue. However, Havaianas chose to take the graphic design route and converted a boring white and blue pair of bathroom chappals into a vibrant, fluorescent, psychedelic graphic design canvas. It even took the graphic design ethos from product appearance to its packaging, carry bags, point of sale to even its advertising. This was, I think, a paradigm shift in product strategy with the best use of graphic design.
Creator: Almap BBDO, Brazil
Chief Creative Officer & Co-Founder, Taproot Dentsu
Recent pick: Adidas Odds
Why I like it: Today, design is not always about looks, but what counts is the impact. Every blade runner buys a pair of shoes when in reality they just need one — either a left or a right shoe. To counter this problem, we created a special pair of shoes called Odds that had a pair of two lefts or two rights for para-athletes. Odds could have also been a pack of one shoe priced at 50% less but the idea was to give them one more and not remind them that they have one less. What I love about the idea is its ultra simplicity. The brand did not have to invest in a new plant, machinery, product line-up or R&D to create this special pair. To launch it, we roped in Major D P Singh, India’s first blade runner, and made him the face of the campaign. Odds became the most talked about campaign during the Paralympic Games. Even sports stars and celebrities like Virat Kohli, Sania Mirza, etc took part in the conversation. The idea was so simple that Adidas is working to globally introduce Odds as a variant for all its products.
Creator: Taproot Dentsu
All time favourite: Life is Electric
Why I like it: Panasonic did this wonderful initiative to reach out and encourage consumers to think about the real value of electricity. They charged 21 eneloop batteries in 21 different ways. The batteries are outwardly similar, but each contained a very different kind of electricity — some charged with hamster power, others with the power of romance, youthful enthusiasm or sheer joy. When you know how each one was charged, it changes the way you think about electricity. The idea got wonderful support of modern, cool, beautiful, new age, stylish, illustrated packages illustrating everything from the action of a hamster on an exercise wheel and the routines of cheerleaders to the sunlight required to help a cat sleep comfortably. Such initiatives will certainly change the way people think and more such initiatives will make people aware about their social responsibility as well — the subtle messaging of transforming electricity from something that is taken for granted into something cute, beautiful and cool that individuals can relate to on a personal level. It managed to use the power of design to change the perception of a product that has become a commodity. I loved it as it didn’t try too hard to make a point.
Creator: Dentsu Inc Tokyo
Co-Founder & Chief Creative Officer, Out of the Box
Recent pick: Alt Court Banque Nationale
Why I like it: The Alt Court work is a heady cocktail of sports, technology, branding, art, fashion and music. When the National Bank of Canada sponsored the Rogers Cup, it wanted to win over millennials without alienating other target groups, as well as form an association between the bank and the sport of tennis. The solution defies classification, and how! Alt Court is part an invitation-only nightclub, part an art installation, and all original. The attention to detail is meticulous; you can see it in everything from the shape of the hashtag to the fluorescent walls. It is remarkable that a bank — one which wouldn’t normally associate with such energetic, electric work — is behind it. Indeed, a game changer.
Creator: Sid Lee
All time favourite: McDonald’s Originals
Why I like it: Perhaps this is one campaign that only McDonald’s could have pulled off. The brand name does not feature in the work, but one can tell at a glance that it is for McDonald’s (on close inspection, you can see the tiny Golden Arches, but if you ask me, it could have been easily done away with). It’s fun, it’s intriguing, it’s youthful, but above all it’s a masterpiece in sheer simplicity. How much more minimalistic can communication get? Some might argue that when the message is pared down to basics, the essence of the brand will get diluted; however, as this work demonstrates, it only accentuates the brand image. What’s even more interesting is that the pictogram campaign led to the creation of McDonald’s Originals restaurants.
Creator: TBWA Paris