Studio Kiln’s identity for storytelling platform Alexander balances playfulness with maturity
Creating and distributing curious, creative and entertaining non-fiction tales, mobile app Alexander is a unique storytelling platform that features the most internationally acclaimed actors, authors, filmmakers and journalists alive. As the service stands relatively solo in the field, the British company turned to Penryn-based design practice Studio Kiln to create a playful, educational identity that paves the way for modern storytelling to follow – founded on the maxim of empowering stories.
The aesthetic language is led by a warm combination of illustration and type, with the studio deciding on Alfa Type’s Bianco Serif and Grotesque No.9 from Linotype as the leading headline typefaces. “Bianco offered a nice nod back to Alexander’s roots of highbrow print journalism,” Creative Director Charlie Hocking tells us, “whilst feeling rounder and more welcoming than their previous font choice,” a tone mirrored in the grotesque construction of its counterpart. “Grotesque No.9 was inspired by the traditional condensed sans typefaces found on film posters,” Hocking details, utilising the weight and presence of the latter throughout the brand’s communications and touchpoints. “As Alexander moves from written stories to films and beyond,” he notes, “we liked that both font choices embraced the company’s history as well as looked to the company’s future.”
The tender typographic treatment of Alexander’s identity finds further charismatic companionship through the brand’s personified ‘A’ – known as Alex. Working alongside Amelia Leuzzi and Bonnie Eichelberger of Melbourne and London-based illustration practice, A and B Studios, to shape the character, Hocking recalls, “we needed the audience to feel like they would willingly let Alex take them on an adventure.”
Bringing the brand together, Studio Kiln opted for a warm selection of colours to inhabit the brand, looking to steer the identity towards a broad, accepting audience. “The colours needed to feel accessible and inviting without undermining the sophisticated stories,” Hocking explains, using the hues sparingly in the context of its primarily monochrome palette to not overwhelm the identity. “The playfulness of the palette is literally embodied in the core brand character,” Hocking concludes – using Alex as the most notable application for colour. “Having Alex in the bright colours allows them to pop up in a whole manner of situations and always remain visible.”