Contemporary design through the lens of London, or a story about refracting reality.
Standing for five years tall, we never dedicated the time and care needed towards our branding. But constantly working with designers, at some point we thought that paying attention to our branding would probably be vital, and utmost important. We wanted something that reflected exactly what we’re about and our vision.
Together with ONY, we started with analysing the three words “Future London Academy”. The old branding was very London-y, but not really Future-y. The creatives decided to keep the British aspects, but to incorporate modernity.
Yellow was kept as the main colour, but William Morris’ pattern was changed together with an outdated font.
Looking for inspiration, the creative team explored London as a phenomenon. After skipping the first level of associations – The Big Ben, the Queen and five o’clock – it was a clear necessity to dive in deeper.
One interesting rhythmic feature that appealed to the team’s attention was a triangle, that appears in the architecture of the city quite often (and unintentionally). Mostly, it is a module structure, as seen with London’s “Gherkin” building. Connecting geometry of the city with the plastics of the font, the triangle became the first origin of the visual decision. The second element became refraction, that was inspired by geometry of the London’s architecture and Harry Potter's mystical impression on London. As a result, abstract visuals took shape involving brave and bold solutions.
Looking at London’s architecture from the perspective of the future became a good way to unobtrusively visualise it thought the brand’s language. This way led to typography which gets refracted by objects. In this case, objects are models of the main architectural and cultural symbols of the city which echo the idea of Future London Academy – knowledge through the lens of London.
In terms of the technical side: a 3D model of a building is layered on to an image or a text to get a refraction. It can be interacted with by turning the model right and left. To extend an associative array, 3D objects were not limited to the architecture only and included different elements of the city’s cultural code, like black cab or a double-decker. The library of 3D objects can always be extended in the future and include less obvious symbols of London – this gives the brand an unlimited way to experiment and express itself.
Overall the images portray “feeling of the future” through transparency and refraction for any scenario.
Futuristic coat of arms
So far we have explained the Future London aspect of the branding, now it’s time to understand the Academy part.
The U.K. is famous for its brilliant level of education. Within its traditions, the cultural code was formed, it covers a huge range of associations from the architecture to the supremacy. The main thing every respectable place has – is a coat of arms. Together with ONY, we created a very minimalist version which kept the original structure but completely lost the visual redundancy that is irrelevant nowadays (you won’t see the Gryphons in the picture although they are there).
The inquisitive reader can guess the shape of gryphon wings at the top corners of the picture – they are encrypted in the diagonal lines. Also, you can see a high-minded bending of the back of a mythical animal.
Besides the main brand that is Future London Academy, there are a also various programmes Academy runs that needed a sub-branding.
The task was to find an easy way to structure every programme Future London Academy has, while visually keeping them consistent. The solution was to create a secondary colour palette, that could work with the main yellow colour without overpowering it.
The Academy dedicates a lot of time to real case studies which include showreels, agency portfolios and other content that showcases the design world. Together with ONY, we created a visual language for the materials, they all become a part of one system. This allows Future London Academy to incorporate additional content, keeping the visual presence consistent within the brand.
Once participants arrive on a programme they get a tote bag with the programme, a notebook and other materials from Future London Academy.
Each Future London Academy programme ends on a high note, so the design experience should reflect it as well. Thus the team created a special award with a futuristic design and colourful edging that stands out beautifully and highlights the reward.
Future London Academy’s motto is 'Never Stop Learning’ because education does not end with a University diploma or a PhD. This approach attracts unconventional thinkers and innovators who constantly want to get better at what they do. Hence, Future London Academy wrote a manifesto dedicated to them.