Skewed, but spot on: Justified Studio’s cutting-edge brand for experiential art platform Wild
The idea of space, dimensions and an endlessly transforming world lies at the heart of Wild’s brand and digital platform. Built as the home of experiential art – ‘where everyone is invited to explore the unseen and the unknown’ – Wild celebrates experimental, immersive art, while subverting the inherent sense of preciousness that surrounds the white-cube, gallery-first art world. The brand collaborated with Justified Studio to craft a visual narrative and identity that can seamlessly capture their expansive offerings, and chart an effortless way to both experience and inhabit their world.
To meet the brief, the London-based studio created a design system that feels “dynamic and explorative, yet equally simple in order to hold the incredible range of work Wild showcases,” explains Design Lead Scarlett Chetwin. To create a basic unit for the system, so to speak, the studio designed the ‘pixel frame’ – used as a graphic element and a vessel for text and images – and defined an expressive, signature motion language. While the frame allowed to build uniformity, it could also be skewed endlessly, to create a distinctive set of ever shifting shapes. “Since the pixel is so simple, we spent time exploring how many ways it could be used as a consistent element which ran through the entirety of the brand,” notes Chetwin.
While the language had to be bold and boundary-pushing to reflect the spirit of Wild, it also had to ensure that it could both hold and hero the breadth of styles, formats and mediums of art at Wild, from generative stills and 3D spaces, to music and interactive pieces. Defining an overarching, yet simple system was key to achieving this – frames holding artworks and names of artists move and shift across the screen, injecting a dose of energy. “These perspective shifts allowed us to build out a seemingly limitless 3D space, to contain all the key elements which make up the Wild universe,” notes Chetwin, adding, “to ensure an artwork is always showcased as it was intended to be seen, we only ever applied distortion effects to framing devices, never the original works.”
The same ideas of movement were also applied to wordmark – which joins the symbol of a fluid, wobbly ‘W’ retained from the original brand language – set in Denim Ink by Displaay. “When choosing a typeface we were looking for something that was distinctively Wild, yet felt neutral enough to be legible when applied with our characteristic skew treatment,” adds Design Lead Charley Ray. The studio applied the treatment to a variety of typefaces to test how they held up. “Denim Ink Wide struck the balance we were after, with the width of individual letterforms helping to retain legibility across type treatment, even when dialled up,” notes Ray. To thematically tie in the wordmark with the brand and lend it a slightly off-kilter vibe, the studio applied a 10% skew to the ‘w’ and ‘d,’ as a nod to Wild’s ever-changing world in progress.
The colours, too, add to the world-building. The bright hues highlight the suite of artworks, the gradients add texture when used sparingly to signify signature collections chosen specially by Wild’s curatorial board, while the “rounded pills provide an opportunity for small moments of colour, holding the metadata that gives context to an artwork’s price and details,” says Ray, about chromatically rounding up the world of Wild.