Stink Studios’ rebrand pays homage to pre-emoji Webdings typefaces

Teaming up with Erkin Karamemet of Dinamo, the studio recalls the bare-bones aesthetics of the early internet for its new identity.

Date
7 February 2022

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Creative studio Stink has released its new branding, seeing it mature from its previous “colourful and playful” direction into a new minimalist iteration, while retaining its humour. The new identity draws on early-internet aesthetics and, for another ingenious change, Stink Studios has collaborated with Erkin Karamemet of Swiss type-design agency Dinamo, to introduce a Wingdings-style custom typeface across the identity.

For the rebrand, Stink Studios wanted to create a “graphic tool” that reflected its brand. The answer came in the Stink Dings font, which sits somewhere between a brand typeface, an illustration set and a changing logo – or a “library of brand illustrations disguised as a font”, as described by Steven Olimpio, Stink Studio’s design director and Mark Pytlik, CEO. The new typeface is used across branding as a nod to Stink’s digital roots.

After examining the original character sets of Webdings and Wingdings with Erkin Karamemet, Stink Studios selected objects that “felt relevant to its culture” for the typeface, also taking on internal “ding-ideas” from within its company. The final font set features 100+ icons, including a cursor “poof”, a booty, and a Stink F1 car. Interestingly, the Stink Dings are also functional. Stink Studios has utilised OpenType features to create slash command text inputs that call up characters and offer contextual suggestions – in the same way your smartphone would for emojis.

Throughout the rest of the identity, design is “simple” and “direct” and features only system fonts such as Times New Roman, Helvetica, and Courier. “If you write something in Helvetica bold all caps, you’d better mean it,” Olimpio explains. “Around 2018, we made a couple of pitch presentations in this style — minimal, almost undesigned, no custom fonts or colours, and very direct and unapologetic — in order to bring forward the more powerful ideas in our work.” The studio leaned into this style once more for the rebrand, this time incorporating early web aesthetics, after realising the connection between the two “looks”.

Default elements, such as fonts, also appear across a new website and brand book, aiming to “expose” the way Stink Studios “think and make”, explains a case study. The rebrand also marks Stink Studios 10th anniversary.

On the challenges of creating Stink Dings, Dinamo designer Erkin Karamemet and assistant Gregor M. Sahl explain: “As a type designer, there are always situations where you have to deal with new character forms. In this case, however, it was something special. The inspiration and origin of the Stink Dings is very familiar to computer users — almost legendary.” While Stink Dings gives the “impression of very freely interpreted characters”, different from “corporate icons that follow a simple logic”, Erkin and Gregor explain, the formula is complex and multi-layered. “We found it most exciting to merge illustrative aspects with the criteria of the type design process.”

GalleryStink Studios and Erkin Karamemet: Stink Studios rebrand (Copyright © Stink Studios, 2022)

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Stink Studios and Erkin Karamemet: Stink Studios rebrand (Copyright © Stink Studios, 2022)

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About the Author

Liz Gorny

Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. After graduating from the University of Bristol, they worked freelance, writing for independent publications such as Little White Lies, Indie magazine and design studio Evermade.

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