Film production company B-Reel Films has unveiled a rebrand, created in-house by a team led by B-Reel design director Vincent Lowe. We spoke to the New York-based designer about the ideas behind the redesign.
What were the key aims for the rebranded identity from your perspective?
After 20 years in the business it was time to reinvent ourselves a little bit. While we are savants in traditional commercial advertising, we also work with less traditional media and love to experiment. We wanted an identity that communicated that.
The identity needed to represent both the open, contemporary attitude of the founders, as well as touch on the heritage of what BRF achieved in its previous life. We saw there was an opportunity to create a visual identity that celebrated film as a classical medium while acknowledging the expansion of the industry into emerging platforms.
How has it changed from the previous identity?
Our new look is a complete about-face, revising the wordmark, graphic system, palette and typography. The new system also considers a wider range of applications than the previous identity. Where the old brand centred on a distinctive “film strip” wordmark, our new identity has a range of graphic expressions that can be applied to print, digital and motion. The system has six iconic assets, that can be applied individually to social media, motion idents and business cards, and expands into a range of patterns within the context of print and accessories, giving it a much needed visual and communicative variety while also serving to unify.
A key change lives in the new BRF wordmark. It’ll play less of a role in the system but will serve to unify the array of icon shapes and is also applied as a sign off. We chose to set in Replica which has a classic modernist heritage but with a technical DNA, qualities BRF proudly shares.
Can you tell us more about the typeface, colour scheme, use of photography and devices you’ve used throughout?
We took a good look at what BRF offers: commercials, TV series, films, branded content, music videos, VR content, documentaries. And that’s where we came up with the main idea that this rebrand is built around, “Anywhere on any medium”. Our intention was to develop an identity which spoke to the universal qualities of the film frame while recognising the emergence of new platforms.
We developed a graphic system that centres around six shapes: our “screen forms” – five 2D ratios and a sphere. The formats are representative of content BRF develops for: including Mobile 9:16, Social 1:1, Standard TV 4:3, Widescreen 16:9, Anamorphic 21:9. The final sphere shape, represents the immersive 360º world of VR. The sphere form was especially interesting to us as VR is not commonly being depicted this way yet and we were excited to play with this, especially in motion.
We made an intentional shift to present the 2D formats in an isometric world. When the isometric screen formats are arranged together they have a monolithic quality, serving as a strong foundation of our visual system. We have a lot flexibility to present the forms as icons and and playfully arrange them in different compositions and patterns.
The subdued midnight blue palette is intended to support the cinematic imagery of the BRF’s reel, especially on the website. The intention was to create a timeless and restrained palette to align with BRF’s modernist Scandinavian heritage whilst imparting a sense of warmth and quality.
Typographically we set the contemporary and technical qualities of Lineto’s Replica, alongside the classical elegant curves of Domaine Text to create a delightfully awkward and occasionally disjointed pairing. Past meeting present.
Can you give some examples of how these apply to different outputs and formats, e.g. in print, online, on merchandise, on films as idents, etc?
Our animated logomark is an endless cycle through the iconic screen forms. They expand in proportion and are unified by the BRF wordmark in the core. In print and 2D we can present the screen forms in a range of pattern densities and compositions. For the stationary we boldly apply a crop the patterns to the envelope with just wordmark appearing on the letterhead.
For our motion idents and on the website we incorporate the screen forms back into film footage. Essentially placing our frames inside the frame. The isometric forms are used as a device to distort and refract the original footage, almost like a portal into another reality, speaking to both to the medium of film and the future facing ambitions of BRF.