Join Brad Bartlett for an in-depth discussion in this video Dynamic identities for dynamic media, part of Introduction to Transmedia Typography.
- We understand the world through stories. The need to communicate is deeply rooted in a human desire to share an experience, express an idea, or to simply leave a trace. Looking back, the first writing systems were comprised of simple pictograms. These pictographic stories enabled experiences to pass from generation to generation. Marks were carved in stone, etched on walls, or inscribed on paper, and reflected the early tools and simple techniques of that time. In fact, early cave paintings demonstrate an early form of transmedia storytelling.
Fragmented animal forms can spring to life when animated by fire light flickering across (mumbles) cave walls. Over time, early writing systems like pictograms evolved into alphabets. As a flexible system, letters from an alphabet can be combined into words to describe a broad range of human experience. Although the need to communicate is essential to the human experience, the way we tell stories is changing. Much like people, brands also tell stories.
The voice of a brand is carefully crafted and framed by the visual forms of graphic communication. These visual forms consist of logo types and typography, graphic elements and color palettes, imagery and language. Together, these interrelating visual forms make up an identity system. To provide context, let's take a quick look at the progression of brand development over time, starting with the Industrial Revolution. The Industrial Revolution had a profound effect on society.
It accelerated the production of consumer goods and flooded the market with new products. With so many competing choices, it suddenly became essential for a company to use branding to separate itself from other companies. During the Industrial Revolution, the voice of the brand message was usually expressed in static form through packaging and printed advertising. Whereas now, in the midst of a digital revolution, graphic communication is no longer limited to static print based media, but open to a broad range of dynamic possibilities.
One of the first logo types to exploit the potential for dynamism was the MTV logo type created by Manhattan Design. Graphic elements in the fixed framework of the MTV logo type would change color, texture, and pattern, at times in rapid succession, to fully exploit the time-based qualities of televisual media. Its playfulness, irreverence and spontaneity reflected the youthful energy of its audience. The effectiveness of the MTV logo type is not fully perceived in the constraints of print but in a dynamic screen-based experience that reflects the value of its brand.
Google is another brand whose logo type is dynamic and changing, often endowed with humor and reflective of current events. It does this while retaining enough characteristics for the brand identity to remain recognizable. It resides within the screen, a virtual environment that is subject to constant change, where content is easily updated, where users can not only comment on variations but even participate in creating unique interpretations of the mark.
These doodles are an endearing presence in pop culture and users have come to expect unique doodles in order to commemorate important dates and celebrate significant events. Today, we are entering a second digital revolution. New opportunities emerge as we develop an understanding of these changes. With this in mind, it's helpful to think about the changing world of communication in a holistic way, as a kind of ecosystem.
In this transmedia ecosystem, a brand identity can grow and change, adapt to its environment, and even generate new versions of itself.
- Developing dynamic identities
- Exploring data-driven and generative logotypes
- Spatializing letterforms with scale and dimension
- Applying transmedia typography across analog and digital media
- Exploring typography in emerging and augmented environments
- Developing typography for scenography and mediatecture
- Working with transmedia tools and video storytelling
- Exploring commercial applications such as mediatecture