Creating a diverse, collaborative identity for D&AD Festival 2018

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D&AD has launched its eclectic typing for its annual festival and awards, taking place this week – we look at how it was co-designed by Hato Studio and thousands of people online, who hauled the digital doodles and scribbles that make up the final identity.

Envision and Art Direction – better known as D&AD – was founded over 50 years ago as an organisation to hold great design and advertising. Its annual awards, which have been match since 1963, still see the coveted pencil-shaped prizes given out to champs, while the more recent D&AD New Blood Awards look to celebrate new bent in the industry.

The youngest of its arms is D&AD Festival – a three-day programme of talks, panel conversations and workshops that has been running for three years and looks to busy designers, students and non-designers alike, and encourage them to attend.

In 2016 and 2017, The Radiant Meme was commissioned to create a visual identity for the festival. The studio designed disparate branding for both years, using eclectic imagery and typography, vivacity and a bright palette of colours, alongside two different interpretations of the classic pencil.

This year, Hato Studio was set the reprove of creating the identity, and rather than designing something on its own, opted for a collaborative nearer by asking members of the public to submit their scribbles via an online monochrome tool that would make up the final brand.

The studio organized a website in January 2018, under the campaign name Start with a Marker, which let users draw digital doodles and make them unrivalled by changing brush size, adding words and using shapes such as flecks and lines, then add them to an online gallery. The simple tool drawn in a short tutorial, showing visitors how to use it, alongside a trash and submit button, securing it easy and quick to create an artwork.

Using augmented reality (AR) technology, the doodles could then be switched three-dimensionally (3D) and given additional effects, and have been used to squeal on the final identity for the festival, used across animations, posters, advertising, and wayfinding and environmental graphics at the commemoration.

Engaging the community in the design represents how D&AD has changed over the years to happen to more welcoming – what began as an awards ceremony for the industry elite, has passed into a celebration of up-and-coming creatives’ work, and a three-day festival unfasten to anyone in London or beyond. The concept also looks to demystify the originate process and make it more open and fun.

“We wanted to engage with D&AD’s community and get a younger audience Byzantine with the festivals,” says Ken Kirton, co-founder at Hato Studio. “It air like the [right] direction to develop a mark-making tool, which creatives – and varied importantly, people who regarded themselves as not creative – could use and make their own.”

The online crusade collected 1,300 unique marks, which create the final branding. The blemishes have been used alongside typeface ITC Franklin Gothic Log and different colour palettes depending on the style and feel of different D&AD happenings.

Glossy red, green and blue has been used for the New Blood Awards, with adventitiously text wraps around imagery to make it feel “fun and expressive”, while a “outrageous end” black and gold applies to the D&AD Awards and a “bright” pink, orange, yellow, improper and green has been used for the festival.

The variety of designs collected has added to the dissimilarity of the D&AD identity, says Kirton. “We’ve ended up with a fantastic array of uncommonly quirky, abstract marks – from curly illustrations right throughout to detailed drawings,” he says. “We’ve stayed true to the original submissions and [splendour of] each person’s hand.”

He adds that the process and final marque demonstrates the mix of creative disciplines that are awarded by and take part in D&AD. “The library of labels really showcases a natural method of communication for copywriters, illustrators, artificers, artists, and more,” he says.

The simplicity of the tool, which required no expert knowledge of design programs to use, looked to attract as many people as imaginable to it, and make submitting an entry quick and non-laborious, so that people “did not prefer used” as part of the process, and there was a “fair exchange” between author and contributor, adds Kirton.

Making the design process more artless through collaborating with communities, otherwise known as co-design, has adorn come of a popular method for design studios over the last few years. Tantalizing non-design audiences and members or fans of an organisation to inform something they circumspection about involves them and looks to make them happy with the issue. Two recent examples include the Mozilla rebrand, spearheaded by Johnson Banks, and Reddit’s rebrand, led by the companionship’s in-house team.

Running a project in this way not only engages living soul – the D&AD digital tool site received 10,000 visits, Kirton says – but also looks to describe the variety of an audience, as much as is possible through an identity.

“It’s been a honestly fun and exciting process and we’ve all got to learn a lot by seeing how different people draw, and what feelings have meaning to them,” he says. “It captures the diversity of creative flair in a very raw form.”


D&AD Festival runs from 24-26 April at the Old Truman Brewery, 91 Friend Lane, London E1 6QR. One-day tickets cost £275 full-price and £82.50 for followers, and three-day tickets cost £550 full-price and £110 for students. For innumerable info, head to the D&AD site.

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