This weekend we visited A Smile in the Mind exhibition by The Partners at The Gallery at Foyles, London. It is part of The London Design Festival and celebrates the launch of the updated book on ‘witty thinking’ in graphic design by Greg Quinton and Nick Asburyon. First published in 1996, A Smile in the Mind was originally written by Beryl Mcalhone and the Partners co-founder David Stuart and became my bible at design college. It made me think back to what inspired me to become a branding designer. Here’s a few examples of agency work that stuck in my mind back in the late nineties...
I remember the guys from multi-award winning Williams Murray Hamm (WMH) came to present an inspiration talk where I studied at Somerset College of Arts and Technology (SCAT) back in 1998. The breath of ideas they spoke of and the simplicity of their work has stuck with me to this day. This pack for Superdrug contact lens solution speaks for itself. Clever, witty and simple. Just brilliant!
WMH’s designs for Hovis bread was also ground breaking within the bread category’s ‘sea of sameness’. They managed to restored the brand’s relevance to peoples’ everyday lives through their strategy of ‘everyday honest food’ that British people love. Their solution was to wrap each loaf in the things we most love to eat on bread.
These contrasting packs by Brandhouse also found their way to my ‘scrapbook’. The Heals range of bath products were both simple and stylish and the fish added that element of wit. They also designed the original black packs for the iconic soft drink brand, Tango. At the time I remember black was a bold move for the category but it definitely commanded attention and were a welcomed distraction from the ‘you’ve been tangoed’ ads of the late nineties.
Lewis Moberly are known for their elegant simplicity, and are the only company to hold both the top award for Design Excellence and the top award for Design Effectiveness. Their packaging for Boots were always featured in design annuals (before blogs were popular). Simplicity is key to everything that we do at Love Mondays and Lewis Moberly was certainly part of what inspired that.
Brand identity is key to creating a successful brand. There were numerous logos featured in the original A Smile in the Mind book, and here’s a couple that I remember stood out. The FedEx logo is a masterpiece of modernist design by Landor Associates. It is unapologetically clean and bold and the arrow, formed in the negative space between the 'E' and the 'x', is a brilliant graphic device and a clever piece of subliminal advertising. Mother & Child was designed for a magazine that has never been published. Originally created by Herb Lubalin and Tom Carnase in 1965, it has definitely stood the test of time in creating witty thinking.
Why not take a look at the new A Smile in the Mind book - it will definitely serve as a great source of inspiration and as Annie once said ‘you’re never fully dressed without a smile’ ;-)