In 1997 grandmaster Garry Kasparov was defeated by a computer — IBM’s Deep Blue. During the decade that followed, chess lost its heroes and much of its former audience appeal. For the 2018 Championship in London we’ve made a radical shift from boring to cool and presented the sport as a very intimate and social affair.
We proposed a concept where chess was no longer a private club of intellectuals, and embodied it in welcoming, ironic design. We focused on returning the human to the game, with his deep emotions, whether viewing or playing. This was reflected in a provocative emblem, tone of voice and the whole visual envelope. Redesign linked all business units in a solid visual system.
The exterior and interior of the College in Holborn was decorated with key visual patterns; this was also applied to the costumes of the actors who performed in the opening ceremony at the Victoria and Albert Museum. The playful illustrations and design of the online broadcasting platform made watching the difficult game easy.
The 2018 Championship found itself at the center of a heated discussion about design, sex and gay culture. It was covered by all major media outlets, including an above-the-fold front page feature by the Financial Times. The media called it one of the most important sporting events of the year.
The sport had taken a risk by going outside its comfort zone and the message was amplified by the media, which loved the idea that the most conservative sport in the world was using such provocative visual language. In chess, the consumers are also players, and the campaign allowed them to finally be associated with something considered cool.
art director and illustrator → alexander koltsov
creative writing → vasilii kolesnik
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