The Brand Identity

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Mast’s rebrand of outdoor photography platform wildist takes a nostalgic, nature-inspired approach

Inspired by the great outdoors, wildist helps photographers with their personal growth and career development through a series of workshops, classes and an online forum. Building on the adventures as an outdoor photographer, founder Alex Strohl combines with an ever-evolving group of field-tested photographers to offer an unparalleled experience packed with world-class tools and industry-leading knowledge. The journey to such a platform wasn’t an overnight success, however, as Strohl initially ran the company entirely on his own under the moniker Strohl Works before deciding it would benefit from becoming a community much bigger than himself. A crucial part of the transition to wildist was its rebrand, for which Strohl turned to Denver-based design studio Mast.

Working directly with Strohl and his team, Mast set out to create distinction from Strohl Works, aiming to build equity for wildist in its own right. The new symbol makes haste with that aim, building on Strohl’s nature-focused background through a multi-faceted construction that combines a ‘w’ with hints of mountains, trees and upwards movement. By creating a symbol that’s open to interpretation, Mast have mirrored the varied pathways wildist members can take throughout their learning journey.

The accompanying wordmark, which is typeset in Neue Haas Grotesk, balances contemporary traits with the simplicity of historic film packaging. Travis Ladue, Principal and Art Director at Mast, describes the type choice to us as one that will “not stand in the way of the photographic work while injecting a feeling of nostalgia.” On its purely lowercase typesetting, Ladue adds it helps to balance the typeface’s maturity “with approachability and friendliness.”

The wordmark being intentionally straightforward left room for a more expressive supporting typeface, with Mast opting for Hanken Design Co’s HK Guise – a rather fitting sans serif for the brand not only visually but due to the foundry’s description of its design as “for the adventurous graphic designer.” In addition to its unusual character, HK Guise possesses a technical undertone, which Ladue explains “nicely reinforces the technical learning members gain through the platform.”

Diverse in its range, wildist’s colour palette is inspired by the many tones of nature while aiming to not detract from accompanying photography. wildist simply wouldn’t exist without nature, so using the destinations and landscapes that inform and inspire the work of its instructors and members feels like an inarguable choice. “While some systems benefit from rigid colour use, wildist thrives in its open colour use,” Ladue explains, adding that they “wanted to bring the emotion of the outdoors into the brand while still leaving room for the members to imagine their work in the wildist world.”

The typography and colour choices come together to form a robust, restrained and responsive design system, that since its launch, has been effortlessly implemented by the wildist internal team.

Typefaces: Neue Haas Grotesk by Linotype / HK Guise by Hanken Design Co.
Photography: wildist

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