Icon magazine’s Rethink feature – which challenges studios to redesign a well-known identity or industry – has long been a source of innovation and inspiration. In the past we’ve covered Design by St’s fish packaging, Manual’s new US road signage and Studio Makgill’s funeral parlours.
So we were interested to see that one of our favourite studios – Sweden’s Lundgren + Lindqvist – recently uploaded its Rethink effort to its website, and it is very timely given the events in Ireland last week, when the country voted to legalise gay marriage and Rainbow flags were everywhere. Because the flag is unrecognisable when printed in black and white, this challenge became the starting point for Lundgren + Lindqvist to look at the visual language of the LGBT (or HBTQ in Swedish) community.
“Not only is the community an extremely diverse group, including a host of sub-groups, but it is also a community that has been using a multitude of symbols over the years,” the studio explains. The first task was to create an icon that didn’t need to be reproduced using six colours and the team went for a stylised asterisk, which “alludes both to the Rainbow flag and to the flower – a symbol which, historically, has been frequently adapted by gay men and women.”
But the ideas kept on coming, and so after the project appeared in Icon, Lundgren + Lindqvist brought together its manifold ideas in a 32-page newsprint publication, as well as a website where users can download images, dingbats and icons. This is the Rethink feature at its best – thought-provoking, contextualised and intelligent – and it’s great to see the Swedish studio giving their design thinking free rein in this manner.