7 identities that capture the playful side of branding, with projects from How&How, Wedge and more
As much as we love us some modernism, minimalism, and all of the other -isms, sometimes you can’t beat graphic design that worries a little less about the rules. Casting aside clean lines and monochrome palettes in favour of vibrant colours and loud typographic choices, the seven spirited projects you’ll find below showcase a more lighthearted approach to branding.
The ultimate power-up, convenience store Gogo’s products and packaging are designed for the busy, nostalgia-loving Beijing commuter. Working with Beijing Subway, Toronto and Beijing-based Meat Studio provided an identity filled with flavour where design elements take inspiration from the mundane daily commute and the restorative concept of ‘buffs’ (temporary upgrades) in video games. From onigiri to bottled coffee, products are charmingly labelled with familiar and nostalgic 8-bit illustrations, reminding workers that a tasty power-up is there if they need it.
Global design studio How&How took on the challenge to rebrand London’s first streetside bao bar, resulting in an identity as light, playful and enticing as the buns themselves. With a logo based on the bold footprint of Japanese Hanko stamps and a charming brand concept, ‘bounce and rise,’ the visual language is delightfully fun whilst respectful to Yum Bun’s origin and story. To wrap things up (in a pillowy soft bao), How&How also introduces the ‘bunrise,’ embodied in a sunny yellow leading colour, and the most charming brand mascot.
Studio Bang-Gu drew upon Singapore’s heritage and way of playing in their reimagining of Singapore’s dragon playground, one of the most famous playgrounds in Singapore. The pages of the accompanying zine, Play Play Laaaaah, aim to evoke memories of childhood – a simpler time when decisions were made based on a game of hand gestures. In a feat of delightful imagination, the San Francisco-based duo used the forms of the playground itself to construct a modular display typeface, providing endless possibilities within design outputs.
Hungry Worms is an initiative that invites the public to donate books to coffee shops, whereby carers then take these books into the homes of people living with dementia. London-based studio DutchScot developed the identity, strategy and copywriting, working pro bono due to their commitment to the cause. With a limited budget, the team were resourceful in their decisions and opted for black ink on a series of coloured papers. As an homage to literary aesthetics, DutchScot set the entire project in the typographic classic Plantin and include a library card that is punched with every read. These traditional bookish elements are complemented by illustrated ‘book worms,’ whose gleeful faces are entirely constructed of typographic glyphs – changing expression depending on the genre of the novel.
Audacious, lively and colourful, Little Troop’s identity for Le Puzz embodies the ecstatic character of Co-founders Michael Hunter and Alistair Matthews, as well as the wild, weird and wonderful vintage puzzles of the mid-to-late 20th Century that inspired the company’s creation. The identity system designed by the Brooklyn and Melbourne-based creative partnership is directly influenced by the graphic language of vintage board games and cereal box design, which results in a nostalgic and sentimental tone of voice.
Wedge sought to honour Gender Creative Kids’ selfless work – providing education, community, resources and services towards the affirmation of transgender, non-binary and gender-creative youth – with a vibrant, friendly, and inclusive visual expression. Inspired by ‘the truest part of you,’ a quirky central mascot stands tall and confident, providing an additional layer of optimism to an already upbeat identity system.
Tropic Gallery is an online concept store, founded in Barcelona, that provides sustainable and beautiful alternatives to typical family-orientated products. With responsible consumption at the heart of the company, the team approached Pràctica to provide a brand refresh and social media graphic development that speaks directly to eco-conscious families. Taking inspiration from the creative freedom of children’s drawings, the studio developed a series of hand-drawn elements (illustrated characters and an alphabet) which bring an imperfect, childlike, yet wholly endearing character to the brand.