Hong Kong-based designers StudioWMW have recently been selected for the Tokyo TDC Annual Awards 2019, and it’s no surprise. The award recognises the studio’s design work for the Hong Kong International Photo Festival’s visual identity, created at the end of last year as a refresh to the annual festival’s brand.
An identity which started as a “deep dive into stories through the lens” of a camera, the studio, led by founder Sunny Wong, enhances elements of photography. The design concept is originated in “a minimal visual system”, isolating blocks of bright colour against contrasting black and white photography. The design’s rectangular structure mimics the pixels of a photograph in a satisfyingly stacked manner, which is easy on the eye and easily transferrable across various platforms. In an attempt to rejuvenate the festival, Sunny’s design campaign was rolled out across print, publication and bus exteriors to help promote the photography festival.
“When we were first contacted about the project, we were so excited that this year will feature the legendary Japanese photographic magazine Provoke,” explains Sunny. As a result of the studio’s excitement of the contributors, the designer’s first approached the identity by considering the origin of photography in the form of a roll of film. The studio then made the connection between the “continuous scroll on digital devices” with the linear qualities of a roll of film, highlighting the link between how people view photos in the modern age with the analogue rolls of the past. “Thus we designed a linear visual identity that allows the graphics to be repeated to symbolise the change in photography," continues Sunny. And with the use of bold sans serif titles, the studio fulfils its aim to introduce the festival to a new audience by bringing a certifiable visual impact to the public.
Similar to most client’s demands, the Hong Kong International Photo Festival requested that the identity should exist for a few years. To ensure adaptability over time, Sunny and his team have created a modular design that can easily interact with type and interchangeable imagery which will be resultantly “easy to handle" over time.
In other works, the creative studio showcases its visual wit in its design for the contemporary German play Die Firma Dankt, in accordance with the play’s narrative which explores “the fight between old and new forces” in the workplace. The designers utilise contrasting colours amidst repeated portraits which are designed to resemble a darts board. The design cleverly evokes the idea of “pulling pranks on colleagues” with a quirky sense of tongue-n-cheek illustrations applied to the otherwise highly sophisticated piece of print. In another project for the Fashion Farm Foundation, StudioWMW takes on the fashion world, creating an innovative identity based on the key elements “F” and “5”. The identity pinpoints these two graphic letterforms and incorporates the three colours of blue, silver and black in an experimental design which aims to “break through the fashion world” with this studio’s visually arresting creative output.
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