• Logotype_and_youcannowlockup

    Matt Willey/YCN Studio: New YCN identity

Graphic Design

Graphic Design: Matt Willey oversees impressive new YCN identity

Posted by Rob Alderson,

We’re great believers in the going the whole hog here at It’s Nice That. Incremental change is all well and good, but sometimes it’s great to embrace a brave new world which is what our friends over at YCN have done. Originally launched in 2001 as the Young Creative Network, YCN has evolved into something quite different in the subsequent 13 years, although based on the same principles around supporting creative endeavour. To mark a change to YCN standing for “You Can Now,” they have worked with the peerless Matt Willey on a new logotype and graphic language based around the Founders Grotesk typeface.

We caught up with YCN founder Nick Defty to talk us through the changes which launched yesterday…

Why was this the right time to redesign the identity?

This was absolutely the right time because we want people to know how YCN has grown and to get familiar with the expression “You Can Now.”

This is how we now articulate what YCN stands for, which is helping creative people do new things. It’s like we’ve changed what YCN stands for, but we’ve not changed what we stand for. We’ve always been about helping creative people do new things, but through our membership we are now doing this for a much greater breadth of creative people, and in many more ways. We wanted to positively signal change.

It also coincides with a re-design of our membership offer. We’ve spent the last year talking to existing members (some in the early stages of their careers, many others further along the way) and friends of YCN about how we can best help them in their daily creative endeavours.

Having done all that we felt it was the right time to address our appearance; and to create an eye-catching flag on the top of the iceberg (to paraphrase Michael Johnson).

  • Membershipcard_anthonygerace

    Matt Willey/YCN Studio: New YCN identity

  • Membershipcard_carolsachs

    Matt Willey/YCN Studio: New YCN identity

  • Membershipcard_ryantodd

    Matt Willey/YCN Studio: New YCN identity

  • Membershipcard_saskiapomeroy

    Matt Willey/YCN Studio: New YCN identity

  • Membershipcard_valerodoval

    Matt Willey/YCN Studio: New YCN identity

What was the initial the initial brief?

It was discussed how important it was that any logotype would have to work in small spots and big ones too. Our website is often people’s first touchpoint with YCN, and a place that members engage with frequently so an important context for the identity to come to life in.

What did Matt bring to the process?

Matt was brilliant to work with as always. We’d only recently worked with him on the re-design of the YCN Members magazine; which was the first run out of the expression “You Can Now” on its masthead.

We have our own internal design team at YCN, but having enjoyed Matt’s perspective on the magazine so much, we decided to ask if he’d work on the identity brief too; and luckily for us he said yes. 

Matt and I discussed the idea of a cursor being a good metaphor for the whole You Can Now idea, the cursor represents all the different things that YCN can help you do as a creative person and that in digital contexts this could be a great, animated demonstration of all the things we can help you do. 

Hover Studio have brought this to life brilliantly as well (see below).

I am really glad that we got the chance to brief Matt because we trust his vision as a designer. If you respect the designer you’re working with and believe that they understand what your organisation is trying to do then it makes decision-making easy as you only really need to say yes, and thank you.

What do you think are the key strengths of the new look and feel?

The logotype communicates the idea “You Can Now” not just in words but through design. It suggests action, doing, being creative. These are ideas that sit at the very heart of what YCN membership means. The logotype feels like a fitting part of all of that. It can also work in tiny form as a Twitter icon, and then go nice and big as an animated event backdrop. 

The overall visual style (and use of our new typeface Founders) has a smartly fresh feel which helps us communicate that YCN has grown with its audience without losing that fresh, youthful and bright energy.

What were the biggest challenges you faced?

Getting everything done in a timely fashion when it’s something that you care so much about will always be a challenge. But Matt hit on the visual concept first time, and because we have the internal YCN Studio team supporting we managed to run things relatively smoothly and work as a very tight team.

  • Ycnbuildingsign

    Matt Willey/YCN Studio: New YCN identity

  • Www_home

    Matt Willey/YCN Studio: New YCN identity

  • Pricetag

    Matt Willey/YCN Studio: New YCN identity

  • Membershipcardstogether

    Matt Willey/YCN Studio: New YCN identity

Ra

Posted by Rob Alderson

Editor-in-Chief Rob oversees editorial across all three It’s Nice That platforms; online, print and events. He has a background in newspaper journalism and a particular interest in art, advertising and photography. He is the main host of the Studio Audience podcast.

Most Recent: Graphic Design View Archive

  1. Bedow-record_mania-int-list

    Swedish design studio Bedow isn’t new to branding musical enterprises. Back in 2013 it produced a clean, minimal identity for Canadian record label More Than Human. That work was nice, but its latest offering for Stockholm’s internationally renowned store Record Mania might be even better.

  2. Isabellucena-tarot-int-list

    When it comes to Tarot cards we’ve pretty much seen it all. Since the arrival of the Rider Waite deck in the early 20th Century nobody in the western world has really changed the game and made The Fool, The Ace of Wands or The Hierophant look all that different from Pamela Colman Smith’s incredible drawings. But recently designer Isabel Lucena has had a crack at it, and the results are surprisingly refreshing.

  3. Thamnesandhudson-cover-list-int

    For a young boy who grew up in the suburban Midlands, the west coast of the USA is really the America of my imagination, far more so than the refined cities of the Eastern seaboard, the vast expanses of the rural states or any of the other myriad landscapes to be found between sea and shining sea.

  4. Jorgeleon-amigo-int-list

    It’s always refreshing to see a creative being really honest about the challenges of a particular brief before showing us their solution. So it is with Barcelona-based graphic designer and art director Jorge León, who sets up his work for the Amigos skate shop by referring to the “many problems” it had encountered with its brand.

  5. Unnamed

    International design agency IS Creative Studio has done some elegant branding work for both rotisserie AND grilled chicken restaurants. And both identities look refreshingly tasteful. The studio’s work spans print, product and retail design, and its practice is based on extensive research and a desire to always go beyond the product at hand. Or indeed the chicken. Founded in 2010 by Richard Meza, the agency produces great work that shifts aesthetics seamlessly. From visuals that wouldn’t be out of place on a summer’s day in Capri in 1965, to fast food stereotypes and what is described as “type [broken up] to simulate chunks of fruit swimming happily in cream,” it’s a bunch of consistently impressive design work.

  6. Screen-shot-2015-01-26-at-10.12.37

    It’s little surprise that Mike Lemanski’s graphic design work has been something of an It’s Nice That favourite, and since we last posted about him in 2013 he’s not let his style slip. Mike’s site boasts some beautiful, mature designs for Feuilleton magazine, which takes articles from various international publications such as The New York Times, translates them into French and publishes issues every quarter.

  7. Hardyseiler-hannover-list-int

    When Hanover-based designers Bureau Hardy Seiler and web design agency Created by Monkeys decided to pitch to design the identity for the Freies Theater Hannover, they found themselves faced with a dilemma. The theatre hosts every flavour of live performance going, from puppetry and musical shows to experimental dance, and all in one flexible and family-friendly space. How could they create a graphic language to match that?

  8. Charlottedelarue-list-3-int

    Illustrator and art director Charlotte Delarue’s varied work shows her to be an uncommonly talented illustrator, conjuring incredibly realistic portraits out of paper and pencil safe in the knowledge that she doesn’t need to do anything more to make them impressive. Her art direction is of another ilk entirely, however – she works with the likes of electro acts Chromeo, Justice and Kavinsky to draw up impactful logotypes and album artwork concepts that can be spotted from miles away, from the golden legs which reappear on almost every Chromeo album cover to Kavinsky’s mysterious blue-tinged scenes.

  9. Parades-artdillier-sale-int-1

    When you’ve got a load of Christmas stock to flog at the start of the new year there’s only one way to go; have a big sale. But everyone else has had that exact same idea, and it’s a pain in the arse to make a sale look good right? Wrong! If you’re smart you’ll hire Bordeaux’s Bureau Parade to come up with a bespoke solution to communicate your low, low prices. Geometric shapes, bold colours and a playful use of typography meant that everyone knew about the sweet deals at Bordeaux’s most high-end shoe retailer, Michard Ardillier, without the store having to Xerox a bunch of giant red signs à la Tie Rack. Nice solution to an often overlooked problem if you ask us.

  10. Cometsubstance-sleeve-1-int

    We’re big fans of Comet Substance, graphic designer Ronny Hunger’s poster-producing alter-ego. Since we last featured him back at the tail end of 2013 Ronny has shifted from the Xerox collage aesthetic to slicker lines and high production values, without losing any of the depth or attention to idiosyncratic details of his earlier work.

  11. Oyalstudio-dishonestmanifest-int-list

    Portugal’s Royal Studio are not just winningly adept at creating bold, interesting and creatively ambitious visual treatments – they’re also terrific at writing the most intriguing project summaries I think I’ve ever seen. There’s a fine line between being weird and funny on the one hand, and gratuitously wacky on the other but these guys manage to pull off descriptions that mirror the invention, and occasional iconoclasm, in their work. Take The Dishonest Manifest, a series which seems to be ridiculing the preoccupation with how posters look as opposed to how well they do their job. The clearest indication of this is a long, thin creation with the phrase “Don’t give a fuck about content” repeated over and over again.

  12. Bonhams-auction-catalogue-int-4

    The idea of London’s auction houses, all stuffed to bursting with hushed voices, incredible art, taut-faced women and a nonchalant yet overpowering scent of money (I’ve never been to one, if you hadn’t guessed) make them feel like something of an alien concept. A place not for the likes of me, and one happy to remain in its exclusive bubble. But recently a series of innovative redesigns have suggested that perhaps a new aesthetic sensibility seems to be settling into the high-end fabrics of these places. There’s a sense they’re working to rethink their approach to their brand and how it looks.

  13. Mobydigg-aaberaward-1-int

    How many design studios can you think of who are named after a mis-pronounced classic novel? Because Munich-based design studio Moby Digg is, and that fact, coupled with their fun, bright site, propels them above most straight-laced studios in our book.