Studio Dumbar’s D&AD Festival 2020 identity asks us to “imagine everything”

19 November 2019

Dutch branding agency Studio Dumbar has designed the identity for the D&AD Festival 2020, which poses a grand challenge to the creative industry to “imagine everything”. Based on this hugely broad term as the theme of the festival, Studio Dumbar has developed an infinitely adaptable identity, which uses the word “imagine” as the anchor and introduces multiple terms as ends to the open sentence: for example, “imagine joining forces” or “imagine reinventing commerce”. Using the variable font Marfa by Swiss foundry Dinamo, the word “imagine” stays constant, while the suffixes expand and contract.

“Our purpose with this project was to engage and amaze,” says Liza Enebeis, creative director at Studio Dumbar. “We wanted to find a way to encapsulate the limitless possibilities that creative excellence offers; ‘Imagine everything’ does that. It’s a starting point, like the beginning of a sentence, and allows you to create an engaging campaign by opening up a question: faced with a blank canvas, what can you imagine?”

Marfa can accommodate very wide application, for shorter terms, as well as longer sentences. It stretches and shrinks and wobbles to fit the words and the imagery behind it. Dumbar used white text on black for the core visuals, and white text on various video backdrops for a series of moving graphics. “It acts as a physical representation of the endless possibilities that the mind can imagine,” Enebeis continues, “as well as the festival’s ambition to stimulate and broaden the minds of its visitors.”

While ambitious, the theme nods to design’s input in shaping culture and effecting worldwide change, such as revolution for climate change and innovations in AI, while leaving room for fun things too: such as “imagine cats”. The concept for the theme emerged from a series of workshops held between teams at D&AD, Studio Dumbar and event partner The Guardian.

“We hope that ‘imagine everything’ becomes a term used as a blank canvas,” says D&AD CEO Patrick Burgoyne, “and that creatives from around the world fill in the gaps of what they want to imagine for themselves, for their communities, for their countries, for the world, and to share these ideas in the lead up to and at the Festival next May.”

D&AD Festival opens 19-21 May 2020 at the Old Truman Brewery in London.

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Jenny Brewer

After five years as It’s Nice That’s news editor, Jenny became online editor in June 2021, overseeing the website’s daily editorial output.

Jenny is currently on maternity leave.

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