Anyways Creative’s branding of Paul Smith's Foundation shows how welcoming creativity can be
Working closely with Paul and his team to define, visualise and name the foundation, the launch from one of the creative industry’s most appreciated voices couldn’t have come at a better time.
- Lucy Bourton
- 4 November 2020
- Reading Time
- 4 minute read
Although begun months before any hint of threat to the creative industry due to the pandemic, Anyways Creative’s branding of Paul Smith’s Foundation couldn’t be released at a greater time of need. As Charlie Sheppard from Anyways points out: “At a time when it could be said that many folks need some creative inspiration, positivity and wisdom… in steps Paul, right on cue.”
Launched in early October, Paul Smith’s Foundation is a charitable organisation which offers inspirational and practical advice to the creatively minded. Designed with Paul’s unique experience, outlook and curious temperament in mind, the foundation is built for anyone who has creative aspiration but may be a little lost, or in need of a creative energy boost to push forward. “When I first started out I had no formal training in how to design or make clothes, I really did just figure out things by getting stuck in,” Sir Paul tells It’s Nice That on the importance of this kind of advice. “There was never any big plan or expectations of the business going off like a rocket, I just slowly found my way and then steadily grew. I don’t want to sound swell-headed but I’m hoping that with my down-to-earth approach I might be able to help a few young people get on the right track.”
Finding a concise and engaging way to display this advice however was a job for Anyways Creative (It’s Nice That’s sister agency), which not only created the identity but worked “to define the core purpose, focus, audience of the foundation and how it is presented to the world,” explains the agency’s Callum Green. Bringing this to life via a website (designed and built by Official Business), an Instagram channel and even the naming of the foundation, Anyways’ identity is centred around a visual cue of “advice cards”.
Characterful, digestible and even digitally stackable, each card features a tidbit of advice from Paul across subjects such as defining your point of view, making an impression and decision making. Each piece of advice is also curated from a vast archive of talks and interviews Paul has given over the years, each pinpointing its resource for readers if the advice answers their creative conundrum. “Displaying the advice on cards was a nice hint towards a physical archive, whilst making it understandable for the Foundation’s audience,” adds Callum.
This approach, which Anyways’ Charlie coins as an “‘advice archive’ concept” then filtered through to forming “a visual language that referenced libraries and archives,” he tells us. Influencing decisions such as what typeface to use, “a modern take on a monospaced typewriter font”, it also led the team to aim for an identity that hints at “handmade elements and irregularity through annotation, a ‘folder’ based system of layering elements on top of each other, and physical stamps,” explains Charlie. All this is wrapped up in Paul’s signature colour palette from the Paul Smith brand “and his famous stripe,” notes Callum, “he is the master of colour after all!”
To add further visual flavour, Anyways worked with photographer and videographer Jamie A Waters. Making a series of images and a film introducing the foundation featuring Paul’s own eclectic archive full of “obscure handmade objects, to his priceless art pieces, to his piles of cycling jerseys,” each displaying how “Paul surrounds himself with objects that inspire him.” In turn, Anyways’ identity is one that is warmly welcoming, offering a new perspective on an industry which can often be difficult to break into. As Paul himself puts it: “Of course, aspects of having a creative job can be very serious but I wanted the foundation to be fun and hopefully that’s something we’ve achieved.”
These features act as accompaniments to the sound advice Paul offers, with the team constantly keeping in mind that “it was key to let Paul’s advice be the hero, giving his words the space to land,” points out Callum. However, by placing Paul himself so centrally in the visual identity, and also in specifically naming the foundation Paul Smith’s Foundation, this approach speaks of Anyways' want to make sure “the foundation aligned with Paul Smith the man, not Paul Smith the brand”.
Now available to view in a myriad of ways dependent of what you might be in need of, you can view Paul’s treasure trove of advice via the website here, or keep up to date with social updates on the foundation’s Instagram channel. For now, however, Paul explains the foundation has launched, “very much like the Paul Smith business,” in that “there are no fixed plans,” he tells us. “I’m looking forward to seeing how people respond, what they ask for and learning from that when deciding what to do next,” concluding that most of all he hopes to create “a moment of enlightenment or inspiration, that it sets off a spark.”
About the Author
Lucy joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in July 2016 after graduating from Chelsea College of Art. In October 2016 she became a staff writer on the editorial team and in January 2019 was made It’s Nice That’s deputy editor. Feel free to get in contact with Lucy about new and upcoming creative projects or editorial ideas for the site.