Sea Design’s identity for Unboxed festival is centred around collaboration and togetherness

Unboxed: Creativity in the UK was announced yesterday and will showcase 10 commissioned projects aiming to push the potential of creativity in the fields of science, technology, engineering, arts and maths across the country.

21 October 2021


“Celebrating creativity and bringing people together.” Bryan Edmondson says these are the two clear objectives Unboxed has had from the beginning. The UK-wide programme will take place next year and will consist of free events, installations and globally accessible digital experiences in what the organisers hope will be the UK’s most ambitious showcase of creative collaboration.

Sea Design, headed up by Edmondson, designed the identity for the festival. When Sea received the brief, Edmondson says it was clear that the huge multi-dimensional task required skills across not only design but cultural insight, mass engagement and experience as well. “So in the spirit of collaboration, we brought the collective together,” he says. “This collective included our long-term partners Studio of Art & Commerce and Strat House.”

Beyond looking visually attractive and striking, the identity needed to carry meaning behind it, which Sea set out to gather through its audience research. The design system was made to be simple and engaging to its audience – a combination of type and visual creates many different aspects of science, technology, engineering, art and maths, according to Bryony Bolton, brand director at Studio of Art & Commerce. “The identity was designed as a never-ending ident,” she says, “constantly changing and evolving to reflect the individual nature of each of the ten projects.”

From a conceptual perspective, Edmondson says the team loves the potential the brand has “to collaborate and evolve”. The central vortex design gives, he says, the Sea team space to play “and invite in the subjects of Steam [science, technology, engineering, art and maths], the 10 commissions and the audience’s interpretation of what creativity means to them.” And to be more specific, the Sea design team is happy that the winking face in the identity has made people smile every time it’s been shown to them. “When you make people smile,” he says, “it makes you feel really proud of the work we’ve created and what it stands for.”

Sea Design: Identity for Unboxed: Creativity in the UK 2022 (Copyright © Sea Design, 2021)

The festival was originally announced by former Prime Minister Theresa May and in some quarters was given the moniker the “Festival of Brexit”. The programme has since gone through a renaming process to shrug off some of those unwanted connotations. “From the moment we received the brief, right through to pitching and subsequently developing the brand, we were clear on two objectives,” says Bolton, referring to the goal of “celebrating creativity and bringing people together”: this is what the design team hopes the branding will communicate. And, she continues, “we have kept these ambitions at the heart of everything we have done.” The brand identity will live across digital platforms and OOH.

From 1 March to 2 October 2022, events and activities from the Outer Hebrides to Dover and from Omagh to Swansea, and across traditional and online media, will take place to platform and celebrate emerging UK creativity. Unboxed: Creativity in the UK has been funded and supported by the four UK governments and is commissioned and delivered in partnership with Belfast City Council, Creative Wales and EventScotland. It will begin in Paisley with About Us, which is a creative collective led by design studio and production company 59 Productions, Stemettes and The Poetry Society.

This event is followed by a series of innovative experiences: vertical farms will pop up across Scotland from Dandelion; a scale version of the solar system, staged across 10km sculptural trails in Northern Ireland and Cambridge, from Our Place in Space; a forest garden of living plants and architectural trees will spring up in the city of Birmingham; and a festival of nightlife and countercultures inspired by and created in collaboration with the Moon will travel around England, with the aim of imagining multiple better futures for, and with, young people, delivered by Tour de Moon.

The festival wants to centralise learning and public participation by reaching out to hundreds of thousands of schoolchildren, young people and communities. Through school poetry and coding competitions, community workshops, citizen science projects, and new employment and skills development opportunities for diverse young creatives and freelancers, Unboxed hopes to deliver this mission. And partnerships with the BBC, the British Council and the RSA (the Royal Society for Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) have been fostered to further global conversations about the role of creativity and innovation throughout society.

Sea Design: Identity for Unboxed: Creativity in the UK 2022 (Copyright © Sea Design, 2021)


Our Place in Space (Courtesy of Unboxed: Creativity in the UK 2022)


Benjamin Mehigan: Moon Convoy at Tour de Moon render (Copyright © Tour de Moon, 2021)


Dandelion Collective: Unexpected Gardens (Copyright © Dandelion Collective, 2021)


Sea Design: Identity for Unboxed: Creativity in the UK 2022 (Copyright © Sea Design, 2021)

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Sea Design: Identity for Unboxed: Creativity in the UK 2022 (Copyright © Sea Design, 2021)

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About the Author

Dalia Al-Dujaili

Dalia is a freelance writer, producer and editor based in London. She’s currently the digital editor of Azeema, and the editor-in-chief of The Road to Nowhere Magazine. Previously, she was news writer at It’s Nice That, after graduating in English Literature from The University of Edinburgh.

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