During this year’s Milan Design Week over 386,000 visitors packed into the Salone del Mobile. In the city, there were more. Creatives and design aficionados from around the globe filled the streets during the world’s biggest annual design event.
The subject that has dominated Milan Design Week in recent years is undoubtedly sustainability. Environmental impact was the overriding feature among designers and brands from around the globe, but the highlight of the week was the fantastic Broken Nature exhibition at the Triennale di Milano, curated by MoMA’s Paola Antonelli. It highlighted the concept of restorative design in an effort to fix some of the destruction of the natural world caused by humans. From the Capsula Mundi, a beautifully poetic approach to death, to insect architecture and marine cleansing solutions created from wool destined for landfill, it presented just innovative and rediscovered solutions that could literally, make a world of difference.
Elsewhere, organic new materials and plastic recycling initiatives were just some of the ways that the design world is trying to reduce our impact.
Estrima, in collaboration with Mandalaki Studio, presented Birò 02, “the first electric concept car made with 80% recycled plastics.”
As part of the Broken Nature exhibition, Aki Inomata recreated the shell of the prehistoric ammonite out of resin using 3D scanning and printing techniques, and placed it in an aquarium with a small octopus to explore the evolutionary knowledge of the species.
Capsula Mundi is an egg-shaped pod made of biodegradable material, containing the bodies or ashes of the dead. A tree, planted on top, serves as a memorial, while the egg is buried as a seed, in the earth. This cultural and broad-based project addresses death and burial in a poetic way and aims to convert graveyards into forests.
The Newsroom Office by StorageMilano. Four design studios converted rooms within the offices of Vogue Italia. The Newsroom highlighted the continued trend for soft pink, rose gold and gold tones, as well as a resurgence in the Art Deco style.
Art deco style meets 80s aesthetics at Armani Casa.
Fluid forms and organic hues herald a soft creative mood Spring is here. After the bleakness of winter, the sunlight has returned and colours begin to pop out around us. Although the cycle of graphic design trends extend beyond the seasons, a softer, more colourful creative direction has caught our eye. Organic shapes, soft pastels and simple fluid forms are bringing a softer edge to logos and graphic identities. From The Branding Collective’s minimal, Japanese inspired business cards for Life Goes On to Everland’s graphical concept for Danone’s new water brand, Blüm.
Colours also manipulate photography in the form of colour filters. They add a fantasy element and offer a striking contrast on a dark background, as seen in our recent Sony campaigns.
These directions lend themselves to the overriding creative trend for Instagram worthy imagery that applies to everything from products and packaging, to interior design and architecture.
As 2018 comes to a close, it’s time to look ahead to next year’s design trends. How will brands look, identify themselves and communicate in 2019? We took a look at some of the upcoming themes.
The biggest driver in web design is interaction. Websites are no longer just a storefront or information board. As brands vie for attention and engagement in a crowded marketplace, websites must be eye-catching, interactive and more pertinently, inclusive. Video content is replacing still images as a way of attracting and connecting with visitors. Layout is also changing. As smartphone traffic surpasses tablet and computer viewing, web design must be compatible with different formats. As a result, to accommodate thumb scrolling, navigation tools are moving south.
The rise of authenticity and storytelling has also had a visual impact as both original and new heritage logos create a sense of history. Styles vary from minimal and negative space, to ornate and detailed. Distortion and playing with perspectives are also some of the ways that brands are bringing life to logos.
From vintage mid-century modern, to 3D design and typography, anything goes as long as its on-brand. With eye-popping colour palettes and compositions in rendering, graphic design has never been so creative or exciting. Retro is a major source of inspiration, from the glamour of Art Deco, to hints of 60s psychedelia in the form of duotones and gradients. Colour, of course, plays a major role, as a theme, accent or even a brand identity.
Adentity recently visited European Month of Photography in Berlin. The biennale, which takes place simultaneously in various cities throughout Europe, is Germany’s largest photo festival and attracts museums, cultural institutions, galleries and photographers from around the world.
Throughout the month of October, more than 100 venues around the capital treat the public to a full program of exhibitions and events. This is a chance to see work from some of the stars and emerging talent of the 20th and 21st century, from Diane Arbus, Richard Avedon and Cindy Sherman, to Elmgreen & Dragset and Philip Lorca di Corcia.
We visited a number of fantastic exhibitions, including PACK, which features portraits from Berlin’s Techno scene taken by Sven Marquardt, the notorious bouncer of the city’s most famous nightclub, Berghain. As a bouncer, Sven had access to some of the most famous German and international artists, so in 2005 he took his first musician portrait of Manuel Göttsching, a pioneer of electronic/conceptual sounds. This was the beginning of a parallel career that has taken his name beyond Berlin’s club scene, to the international art scene as a celebrated photographer.
The Galerie Pugliese Levi presents photographs by the agriculturalist and photographer Thibaut Duchenne, whose direct manner of looking is situated far from established traditions and techniques and shows a rural world that, while in the process of disappearing, lives on in various eloquent forms.
European Month of Photography Berlin continues until 31st October.
To see the full programme of events, visit www.emop-berlin.eu
The Adentity team took an inspiration trip to see the beautiful exhibition: Vogue like a Painting in Copenhagen. The show highlights the relationship between fashion photography and fine arts through fashion images from the vast archives of Vogue magazine.
Created in 1892 as a society magazine targeted at New York’s upper classes, in 1905 a young lawyer and publicist called Condé Montrose Nast bought the header and transformed it into a publication that celebrated fashion, luxury and the arts. To ensure the most unique and high quality images, Condé Nast built a stable of talented up-and-coming photographers from around the world, all signed exclusively to the magazine, and gave them the creative freedom that has become an integral part of the identity of Vogue magazine and indeed, Condé Nast’s successful publishing house. This then innovative approach gave rise to fashion photography as an artform.
Like artists such as: Egon Schiele, John Everett Millais, Johannes Vermeer and Salvador Dali who inspired some of the images on display, fashion photographers have risen to become the new masters of a burgeoning fine art genre. Cecil Beaton, Horst P. Horst, Erwin Blumenfeld, Bruce Weber and Annie Leibovitz have all become respected names within fine art circles. And while the market for fashion photography hasn’t yet caught up with the masters, the over 1 million USD Richard Avedon’s 1955 ”Dovima with Elephants” for Harper’s Bazaar fetched at auction in 2010 suggests it’s just a matter of time.
For Adentity, sustainability has been an increasingly important element when planning concepts and marketing strategies for our clients for more than 15 years. So we were pleased to see that our client, Tetra Pak, has risen from 39thplace last year, to 23rdon the Swedish index of this year’s Sustainable Brand Index Official Report 2018 – the Nordic region’s largest brand study focusing on sustainability.
The independent study, which is conducted in five Nordic countries (Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Netherlands) is divided into separate country results. For the study, more than 40,000 consumers from ages 16-70 were interviewed in relation to their perception of the chosen brands in terms of sustainability. The brands featured in the report were chosen to reflect brands that the consumer meets in their everyday life, with selection based mainly on: activity on the market of the country, turnover and market share and general brand awareness.
Key findings of this year’s report are that the number of consumers discussing sustainability remains the same as last year (although the number rose slightly in Sweden), but this isn’t necessarily bad news. According to the report, the reason is that this is attributed to the perception that sustainability is no longer something strange or different, but more of an essential topic that is not always considered to be of a particularly sustainable nature. However, the second and most worrying reason is that while companies and politicians are stepping up their efforts in terms of sustainability, consumers are lagging behind. The study cites that 73% of consumers in Sweden say that sustainability impacts their buying decision, compared to only 62% in Norway.
How can we change our habits before it’s too late? Well, it’s a long (and necessary) conversation, but for a start, we can think before we buy.
To read more about the Sustainable Brand Index and obtain a copy, click here
Adentity visited Milan Design Week in search of inspiration. As well as a preview of summer temperatures, at the world’s largest industrial design event we discovered new designs, thought provoking concepts and witnessed the truly global appeal of design.
In addition to the usual high tech marketing exercises, such as Panasonic’s Transitions exhibition – an exhibition featuring new technologies to mark the company’s centenary – there were some effective low tech, low budget alternatives to be seen.
The automotive brand Mini presented Mini Living, a customisable design concept for living. To communicate the message, Mini provided wood and plexi components, allowing visitors to build their own creations. This not only attracted visitors, but engaged with them, creating a more memorable impression. For the bloggers and instagrammers, the French luxury brand Hermès employed street artists to recreate patterns from the current season in chalk on the city’s streets, while Stokke built oversized children’s furniture to attract ‘selfie’ lovers.
We were inspired by the intricate metalwork of Japanese craftsmen at Superstudio, who created beautiful cut-outs and surface effects, as well as the wealth of indigenous hand crafts and weaving techniques, which further exemplified the diversity of the event.
Sustainability and 3D printing were high on the agenda, with upcycling, closed loop production and on-demand production inspiring some interesting discussions and raising awareness.
As Condé Nast launches a postgraduate programme dedicated to social media influencers of the future, legacy brands provide insight into building relevant brands with staying power.
Photo: Jonathan Daniels
Condé Nast Italia recently announced the launch of Condé Nast Social Academy in partnership with one of the world’s most prestigious business schools – Milan’s SDA Bocconi School of Management. The certified postgraduate degree programme will offer classes on communication, social marketing and digital media, with graduates becoming a part of Condé Nast’s network of 300 social influencers.
According to the group’s Chief Executive Officer Fedele Usai in an interview with WWD, the academy’s aim is to “invest in education in order to have a well-trained and, most importantly, ethical category (of influencers)”. With the media company’s combined digital properties registering 35 million users in August 2017, the programme will offer the lucky students valuable insight from leaders of some of the group’s most successful platforms.
While the new programme, along with social media in general, is driven by progression, it will do well to take lessons from its elders, such as Vogue – Condé Nast’s 125-year-old fashion bible – and Vanity Fair, which received a record-breaking 11 million unique users in one week, following the debut of its new online redesign and editorial channels. The most important lessons that CN’s future influencers can learn from both titles are:
Strong storytelling skills
A cohesive cross-network strategy that leads back to the source
Most importantly, always maintain a clear and strong brand identity.
As media continues to expand and open up new channels, everyone’s looking for unique ways to connect with customers. Here are just a few innovative examples:
You either love sports shirts, or you hate them. However, Nike has created a seriously cool shirt that builds on the fan bond. The sportswear giant recently launched NikeConnect, a special technology that is integrated into sportswear, allowing fans to follow their favourite teams through their jersey. For the launch of this year’s NBA season, the company launched a range of basketball vests fitted with a near-field communication (NFC) chip. Using NikeConnect’s new app, the wearer can place their smartphone against the chip to access exclusive team content, taking fans “closer to the game than ever before.”
Singer/songwriter FKA Twigs recently launched the first issue of what is considered to be the first Instagram magazine. AVANTgarden is a “digizine” published using Instagram slides. This unique creative route offers the innovative artist a new way to connect with her 1.1m Instagram followers. The first issue: Roots. Shock. Beauty is a 10-page slideshow with Twigs as Editor, featuring magazine style photography and styling, complete with creative collaborations and credits.
A bright idea
This December, London’s South Bank will feature a Christmas tree with a difference. The UK charity, Marie Curie has developed a memory-powered interactive Christmas tree. To highlight the charity’s work caring for people with terminal illness, the fairy lights on the tree will be powered by people sharing their memories on social media. For every post on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #LightUpXmas the lights will grow brighter.
The US online clothing retailer Zappos came up with the idea of promoting its renowned excellence in customer service by reenacting some of the funniest true customer stories. From a budding ballerina and her quest for the perfect ballet shoes, to the husband who had to intercept his wife’s returned Zappos package in which he’d packed her jewellery, these simple, low budget commercials are a funny way of illustrating the brand’s core value in a way that we can all relate to.
It’s safe to say that right now we are loving all things retro, from sneakers and food packaging, to hand crafts and computer games. New York-based illustrator Wahyu Ichwandardi has taken nolstagia to a step further by creating a teaser trailer for the forthcoming second film in the Star Wars sequel trilogy, “Star Wars The Last Jedi” on an Apple IIc. Using an Apple II series computer from the 1980s, he hand drew each shot and recreated each frame using Dazzle Draw, a bitmap paint programme and a vintage KoalaPad graphics tablet. Whatever can we expect next? Hand written letters?
With the huge selection of baby strollers on the market, it’s hard for parents to know which one to buy. American baby product manufacturer, Kolcraft offered parents the chance to experience stroller travel from the other side of the handlebar, thanks to its Contours Baby Stroller Test-Ride.
The specially created adult-size stroller not only gave parents a chance to test out their baby’s ride, it also provided the company with a highly successful PR opportunity.
With all the advertising platforms available within digital technology, it’s ironic that outdoor advertising is bigger than ever. Outside of the digital jungle, well executed, real world marketing exercises not only create a lasting impression for those who experience it first hand, the spreading of images and experiences virally allows the message to be communicated globally. Here are some of our favourite examples:
To celebrate the opening of the new IKEA store in Paris, the Swedish furniture retailer built a 9×10 metre vertical roomset that customers could climb.
SBAB Bank, Sweden
The bank raised “interest on a savings account” (sparränta) by celebrating every new customer account opened with a fanfair. Pity the poor neighbours.
Coca Cola, Germany
As a play on the tagline “It’s the little things that make us happy” the soft drinks giant placed miniature kiosks selling mini cans of Coca Cola throughout five major German cities.
As we bid a fond “arrivederci” to this year’s Milan Design Week, it’s time to assimilate the impressions of the more than 3,000 brands on show around the city last week. From furniture and lighting, to technology and architecture, Milan remains a centre for creativity.
The ubiquitous use of colour added to the playful, childlike element of the Salone del Mobile. La Triennale di Milano featured Giro Giro Tondo, an exhibition of Italian Design devoted to the world of children, while at Superstudio, designer Tokujin Yoshioka imagined the future through a child’s eyes when developing the futuristic S.F chair for LG’s impressive S.F_Senses of the Future installation. Using cutting-edge technology from LG, the designer created seventeen illuminated chairs made from thin, double-sided organic light-emitting diode (OLED) that emitted brilliant flashes of colour across each surface.
Nendo presented a more subdued, but no less impressive installation at the store of fashion designer Jil Sander. The Japanese design studio, headed by Oki Sato, presented Invisible Outlines, a collection of works based on how we identify and position objects by subconsciously following invisible “outlines”. The action of opening a door or drawer and 3-D graphics were brought to life, while a poetic, jellyfish-like collection of submerged vases showed a delicate, moveable boundary between the objects and water, defined only by colour.
Sustainability has become an increasingly prevalent element within design. From renewable materials such as bamboo, to traditional hand craft techniques, among all the technology and innovation, it is good to see that the human element of design is alive and flourishing. One of the most beautiful examples of sustainability in the city is Il Bosco Verticale – Vertical Forest – a pair of apartment blocks whose facades are home to almost 17,000 species of trees and plants. Designed by Boeri Studio and completed in 2014, the 76 and 110 metre high landmarks have become a model for green building.
This week Adentity will be taking to the streets of Milan in search of inspiration. Milan Design Week is the biggest event on the annual design calendar, where manufacturers and designers from around the world present the latest products, trends and concepts in industrial, furniture and lighting design.
With thousands of exhibitions taking place simultaneously around the city, innovative marketing is key. Stand out events from last year included Lee Broom’s clever “Salone del Automobile” mobile installation and the godfather of lighting, Ingo Maurer, who set Milan’s landmark Torre Velasca aglow, transforming it into a red beacon to mark the location of Audi’s City Lab exhibition.
Today Apple launched yet another new product – the iPhone 7 in red. “But the iPhone 7 was launched last year, so what’s the big deal?” you may ask. Well, this is just one of the latest branding exercises for a good cause. Take the desirability of a premium product, produce it in a limited edition colour, give all the proceeds to a worthwhile cause (in this case it is RED, an organization dedicated to fighting AIDS) and you have a winning campaign that benefits everyone.
Of course, branding for a good cause is nothing new, particularly in the fashion and cosmetics industry, where limited edition t-shirts and lipsticks are just some of the items that have historically raised awareness of both the brand and the cause in question. Who can forget the fantastic Marc Jacobs’ “Protect the skin you’re in” t-shirt campaign featuring naked celebrities, which raised awareness of the dangers of skin cancer?
However, it’s not just charities, or products that benefit from the CSR aspect of marketing. The toothpaste manufacturer, Colgate, recently launched a clever Snapchat ad encouraging us to turn off the water tap when brushing our teeth to coincide with World Water Day. If brands can raise money and awareness that potentially help us all, while raising their profile at the same time, it’s a win-win situation.