The Brand Identity

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Decade’s characterful identity for Social Studies pulls on modern sophistication and 70s nostalgia 

Modern party platform Social Studies is a purveyor of rentable ‘tablescapes’ to outfit your dinner party needs alongside catering. With the aim to curate a sophisticated and nostalgic brand, Social Studies approach New York-based design studio Decade to handle the task of creating a dynamic and playful identity.

“A lot of our references were from the 70s,” Decade explain, “thinking about a time when hosting would be asking your neighbours over to your yard and things like checkered tablecloths.” With this in mind, yet wanting to also harbour a modern sophistication, Decade decided on red as the brand colour. “That red is both modern and vintage, and plays well in print and digital,” Decade tell us, “it can be bright on screen, and print well as a core colour even in CMYK.”

Similarly in their typographic decision making, to complement their “heavier, bubbly and wide” custom logo-type Decade landed on ITC Weidmann as their primary typeface; a vintage serif whose condensed structure and contrast contribute to a characterful contemporary twist. “Whenever we think about brand fonts for a client (especially a client that doesn’t have an in-house creative team),” Decade explain, “we always give them a body font that can be a workhorse.” Wanting something as functional and effortless as possible, the team chose Left by Heavyweight, finding it well-drawn and with little work needed to set it. “Left had a more modern feel to contrast the vintage serif,” Decade add, “but still has character and personality.” The final companion of their typographic trio is Commercial Type’s Atlas for smaller ephemera and collateral, contributing to a greater sense of typographic hierarchy across the identity.

With the theme of ‘party animals’ to bring their identity to life, Decade approached illustrator Ilya Milstein, whose work is, whilst being incredibly charming and fun, appropriately detailed for the brand. Social Studies is a new offering,” Decade explain, “and we knew there was going to be a level of education to help customers understand what they did.” Capitalising on Milstein’s candour and humour, the illustrations match in an unexpected way, seemingly both out-of-place and wholly pertinent. “He brought so much to the project and gave the party animals personality while keeping them grown-up and sophisticated,” Decade adds, “and he added so many really funny touches along the way.”

Illustration: Ilya Milstein
Typefaces: ITC Weidemann by ITC / Left by Heavyweight / Atlas by Commercial Type
Photography: Matteo Montanari / Ryan Slack

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