A design is invented through inspiration; if inspiration is lacking, its execution would become ordinary. Conceptualising is crucial in the early stages of any design process. Conducting general research and exploring ideas for context, method, and audience can articulate an intention. Yet innovative design and typographic treatments can bring the idea to life, becoming an effective and well-informed design project.
The облик Project created by Chi Lok Steven Lau is an exemplar of bringing the conceptual to reality. From its minimal logo, striking poster series and complementary identity features, it’s a clever blend of creativity and style. Recently, I was given the opportunity to interview Steven, he provided profound insight into his design project, including inspiration, concepts, typeface, and purpose.
It’s categorised as a brand identity for exclusive events, “iterated for audiences who enjoy sit down engagement”, where ‘облик’ is Russian for ‘Face’. A strong campaign for the event was necessary to generate brand awareness and consumer interest within the entertainment industry. Thereby, a thematic based poster series was created, where he revealed that they were “initially inspired by the architect Zaha Hadid and the theme Parametricism implemented in her design”. The geometric lines across the Face posters connect the typography and photographs, which is a distinguishable characteristic from Hadid’s deconstructive building interiors.
"Parametricism as the theme, basically behind all my design"
He continued by saying “Hadid designed for multipurpose events in some of her buildings which cater for Ballet performances, film premieres, and a range of music concerts”. The audience was Steven’s priority when designing as he utilised a gender-neutral colour scheme of flat blue and coral pink and dramatic photographs to suggest a “unique experience” and evoke emotions from the recipient before attending the event. Different cast members were involved in the event promotion like the posters as they’re the individuals that make the production happen and this may motivate the audience to explore the event and see the cast member in action.
To seamlessly integrate the underlying concept throughout the identity he first used “a typeface called BASE_BLOOM that worked with the contemporary theme”. However, it was “flexible and adjustable for a glitched effect”, he manipulated the type in animation programs like After effects and blender to create fragments of the letters that are all dissimilar but still legible. This creates imaginary movement that highlights the keywords to improve message retention and subtly indicates the exciting performances and conferences that would be featured in the event. The authentic type is also reminiscent of parametric design, where the shapes produced by the fragmentation are different and shift according to the connected lines. The logo text in Russian “had a twist on the original Corbert Condensed W00 Heavy”. It’s a functional and versatile font that suits this multifaceted event, as intended by the name, where the ‘Face’ could have many sides. This bold yet simple font allows the BASE_BLOOM font and it’s altered version to be the focal point of the identity. These attractive qualities included in the Face campaign elevate the brands possibility of becoming unprecedented within a competitive and already creatively bustling entertainment industry.
The posters set the tone for the remaining features of the identity, including banners, tickets, program, and navigation. Steven provided background into the theatre banners and tickets, saying that “’FLUID’ is the name of the made-up theatre and ‘TIY’ stands for ‘Try it yourself’”, which supports the “tailored event… with hands on technology and artists weaved into every aspect of the conference”. The geometric theme and fonts were further adapted into the program and navigation design, presenting a clean and cohesive identity.
The conceptual and technical strength of the Face project is based on the influence of Neo-futurism, which in turn shaped the design elements like the innovative kinetic typography. The campaign showcases a progressive interpretation of branding in the entertainment industry which also accommodated for an expansive audience.