Koto and The Washington Post’s vibrant campaign for Well+Being raises life’s overwhelming questions
Appropriately launched in one of the world’s most overwhelming locations, NYC’s Times Square, The Washington Post’s editorial section Well+Being raises the questions we all face in modern life – from the effect of stress and one’s work/life balance to nutrition and anxiety – through the lens of expert opinion and thought pieces. In need of a visual language to both encapsulate the issues faced and the clarity Well+Being offers, The Washington Post turned to international branding agency Koto; treating the output as a literal white space for one to express their anxieties, thoughts and feelings.
The partnership between Koto and The Washington Post energetically manifested in an all-encompassing, powerful sensory overload of questions and emojis in an innately digital landscape – truly reflecting the stress of modern living. “The questions,” Designer Max Friedman tells us, “are meant to represent the overstimulating swell of thoughts and concerns that flood our everyday lives,” translating this concept through a language system we are all familiar with: notes, thought bubbles, text messages and online searches. “The emojis are more the emotions we feel when those questions arise,” Friedman explains, adding, “sometimes a solid crying emoji says so much more than a handful of written words.”
The campaign’s typographic output is provided by Swiss foundry Dinamo, with Koto opting for ABC Favorit as their practical yet characterful choice. “There’s something about its immediate legibility and a combination of tech and humanity that we really liked,” Friedman recalls. “Well+Being sits at the juxtaposition of humanity,” he adds, “and the fact that it’s a digital platform, meant that Favorit felt like a solid interpretation of what Well+Being is.”
Looking back on their collaboration with The Washington Post, Friedman recalls the exciting freedom of the partnership, telling us, “The Washington Post were amazing in allowing us to take their initial idea and really make it sing,” noting their creative reign in choosing essential graphic elements. “The Washington Post came to us with the idea of clearing away questions to make way for the clarity of Well+Being,” he contextualises, having also written the around 800 individual questions featured. “They were super happy with the work and allowed us the freedom to make it as cool as we wanted,” Friedman concludes, “then we animated every single element manually to get the positioning just right and readable.”