This week the design Twitterati were all over the new Airbnb logo from DesignStudio. While many were impressed, there’s always a range of opinions (and usually the inevitable Tumblr lampoons) around redesigns these days; see Michael Bierut’s excellent essay Graphic Design Criticism AS Spectator Sport for more on this phenomenon. It got us thinking though about some of the best logos and identities we’ve seen so far this year; and so we present a selection of the most interesting examples from the first half of 2014. We’ve also opened comments so you can agree with us, slate our bad taste or suggest some we might have missed…
Sagmeister & Walsh: The Jewish Museum
Inspired by an ancient geometric system on which the Star of David is based, Sagmeister & Walsh’s identity for the Jewish Museum in New York was a great example of combining tradition and heritage with a contemporary aesthetic that works across platforms.
Dot Dash: Fatties Bakery
London studio Dot Dash have established a real reputation for exceptional design in the hospitality sector, but this identity for the terrifically-named Fatties bakery is a real treat, based around the pleasingly simple and joyfully communicative elongation of either the “a” or the “e” in the name.
“Capturing the soul of one of the most innovative companies of our lifetime is a big challenge,” explains fuseproject founder Yves Behar about the much-talked about PayPal redesign unveiled in May. The idea was to create a “bolder, more progressive” expression of the online payment company, and although reactions were mixed (see the comments on this Creative Review article for a flavour) I like the evolution of the look.
Made Thought: G . F Smith
G . F Smith is a brand with a prominent and well-established role in the creative industries; as such its redesign was always going to be the subject of some scrutiny. But thankfully Made Thought’s perfectionism and the company’s own sense of both its past and its place in the contemporary culture led to a redesign that not only lived up to expectations, but exceeded them.
Michael Bierut: Penguin Random House/Penguin Press
As James Cartwright wrote about Michael Bierut and his Pentagram team’s work on the Penguin Random House merged identity, the pressure of " creating a new set of brand guidelines for two of publishing’s biggest names and their 250 individual imprints…hardly bears thinking about." Michael’s solution was deceptively simple; its success lay in its restraint and not trying too hard. But personally I’m just as impressed with his work on the Penguin Press imprint, inspired by the proofreader’s paragraph symbol to give the “PP” acronym some real style. And while we’re here, a word too for Matt Young’s work on Penguin’s Pelican range and the epnymous new logos, in both their flying and standing iterations.
Noeeko: Branch Creative
Warsaw studio Noeeko knocked our socks off with this tree-mendous (sorry not sorry) identity for production studio Branch Creative. It’s fun, it’s flexible and (although not a major consideration) it’s superbly documented.
- Bow down witches, it's a Best of the (cob)Web Halloween special!
- Photographer Philippe Chancel captures North Korea’s intensely choreographed ceremonies
- From a family-run “famzine” to a 30p grime mag, it's October's Things
- Wellcome Collection publishes book of early infographics, charts and diagrams for organising nature
- Sophie Koko Gate, an animator with immense illustrative skill
- Artist and illustrator Jamie Johnson's gently surreal compositions
- Bompas & Parr explores the strange world of sploshing (NSFW)
- Working Not Working reveals the top 50 companies creatives would kill to work for
- Kodak returns to its 1970s symbol, joining the retrobrand bandwagon
- Kodak unveils the Ektra: its first ever smartphone
- Retracing and recreating historic reggae record sleeves with photographer Alex Bartsch
- William Knight's socially conscious portfolio of graphic design