We are delighted to announce that Alphabet have been commissioned by the iconic British sports fashion retailer, JD Sports, to work on a number of different projects. We’re looking forward to sharing more with you soon but for now, keep your eyes peeled.
We've been working with Spark Capital and USA Volleyball helping them develop ideas for their merchandise leading up to the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
We were asked to create a classic range of merch appropriate for all audiences as well as a more vibrant, playful range targeting a younger, female-focussed demographic.
For the classic range, we developed a bespoke typeface which is modern take on a traditional 'varsity' style that was confidently combined with the unmistakable USA red, blue and white colour scheme.
We developed typographic compositions and 'lock-ups' that could be used as feature graphics across all types of merch. We played on the unique hand-signals that are used in Volleyball, bringing these into the Merchandise in a physical, playful and engaging way.
For the modern range, we combined bold and bright colours with a hand-rendered execution to create lively icons and devices that bring a little bit more personality and flavour to the game of Volleyball.
Be sure to Follow USA Volleyball on Instagram to stay updated with the build up to the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
We were recently commissioned by one of our clients, The Bureau, to create the Official International Film Poster for Lean On Pete; a 2017 British-American drama film written and directed by Andrew Haigh and produced by The Bureau.
The Film is a quiet, powerful understated coming of age story about a boy and his horse with outstanding performances from newcomer Charlier Plummer, Steve Buscemi, Chloë Sevigny and Travis Fimmel.
Our main objective was to capture the beauty of the relationship between the lead character, Charlie, and his horse Pete. And to do this within one single image. We experimented with different ways to achieve this initially, some more abstract and some more literal. The image above demonstrates part of the creative process for this.
Some of our earlier concepts focused around using the silhouette of the horse as a container to hold an image of the lead character, Charlie. However, in the end, we felt a simple crop of a still felt more powerful in painting a clearer picture of their relationship. We created a simple, tight, typographic lock-up that sits in the bottom left of the format to help deliver the information clearly without taking too much away from the hero image.
We thoroughly enjoyed being part of such a beautiful film and it was great to finally see the posters in context recently at Venice Film Festival, where we were also thrilled to see Charlie Plummer win the Marcello Mastroianni award for Best New Young Actor.
Be sure to Follow The Bureau on Instagram to stay updated with the film and to find out when and where you can watch it!
We’ve been working on the branding for an innovative new property development company based in the US whose innovative approach and health-centric vision considers the occupant and their well-being at the centre of all design and production, applying the philosophy of 'A better lifestyle starts with a better home.’ We’re happy to share some early unused concepts.
Their mission is to develop smarter, healthier homes that inspire and are in turn inspired by the occupant. Promoting health and a higher quality of life by applying a holistic approach to architecture, design construction and property management make up the centre of the company's ethos. Their properties incorporate a higher purity of indoor air, improved thermal properties, water, acoustics and even light.
We’re working closely with the client to create a brand identity that seeks to embody not only the innovative ideas and high-quality product promised, but also importantly creates a language and brand identity that simplifies the complex. We have developed the brand tone of voice that is simple and explains to the end-user what the brand stands for in a few sentences.
Alongside the tone of voice, we proposed a clear icon system to represent the key areas at the centre of the brand; air, water, acoustics, lighting, and thermal comfort.
With any brand and flagship product, it's important the product speaks loudest. This case is no different. In order for the innovative product to steal the show, we created a custom brand typeface that stands out and is unique, just like the brand. The brand typeface expands upon the unique iconography of the brand making everything come full circle.
We look forward to sharing more updates of the project as it progresses.
We're excited to share with you the launch of the new visual identity for Ticket Arena; one of the largest online ticket agents in the UK.
Working in partnership with the Ticket Arena design team, we looked to create a bold and vibrant identity that includes a dynamic colour palette, clean and modern typography and a memorable graphic system, that is flexible for digital and physical formats.
The project began over 6 months ago when we conducted a series of Brand Workshops with members of the Ticket Arena team at their headquarters in Leeds. The workshops consisted of a series of exercises that dissected the brand in order to dig deep and find out more about who they really are and what they do. Using our philosophy of 'people don't buy what you do, they buy who you are', we conducted a number of exercises that helped determine Ticket Arena's USP, what makes them different, what makes them stand out in a highly saturated market and what they should be shouting about!
We helped define their target audience by creating customer profiles and re-enacting real-life scenarios of people interacting with the Ticket Arena brand. We also took part in exercises that helped determine the Brand Values, Vision and Mission of the company which all helped shape Ticket Arena's new Brand Strategy and Position in the industry. We worked with the Ticket Arena team to build a Tone of Voice and a Messaging Platform that was packed full of personality and resonated with their audience.
The initial Brand Launch campaign was centred around the tagline 'A ticket is just the beginning'. We helped design a campaign for Billboards and Ad-shells as well as Web Ads and Social Media. We're super excited to be working with the Ticket Arena design team on their new chapter and look forward to sharing more work down the line.
We've loved having Lily in over the last few weeks helping us out with some really exciting projects we have in the works. Lily has just graduated from the Manchester School of Art Graphic Design Course who seem to be producing some really good young talent over the last couple of years.
We asked Lily about how her time here and her plans for the future...
How did you hear about Alphabet?
I first discovered them on Behance, and then soon after a friend at work mentioned their studio was in Manchester and reintroduced me to their work.
What made you want to work with us?
I’d been following their work on Behance for a while. I was really drawn to how beautifully crafted, stripped back and concept-driven Alphabet's work was. I knew I could learn a lot from them.
What projects did you work on?
I worked on loads of fun projects during the three weeks I was here. The first project was branding and packaging for a start-up Halvah company, which I really enjoyed. I also helped out on some concepts for the branding of an App for a chain of American-based Dental Practices, concept generation for an upcoming Theatre Production at the West Yorkshire Playhouse and concepts for this years' Beacons Metro events in Leeds.
I was pretty shocked at how fast they could generate ideas and turn them into finished designs. It’s really impressive.
What was it like being in the studio?
It was a lot of fun; I’m probably an expert in MMA fighting knowledge now. They’re all so nice and super helpful. It was a really relaxed atmosphere, which was nice, but they were all really focused and hard working too which was a great balance.
What did you learn that stuck with you?
I’ve learnt so much these past few weeks. I think what stuck with me the most was the importance of a strong concept or graphic element that can shape an entire project. The importance of good copywriting too can elevate a project to the next level.
It was lovely having Lily as part of the team for a while and we wish her the best of luck with her career in the creative industries!
We were asked by Wired magazine to come up with a concept that explained how we see the future of the workplace with the intention of increasing productivity and innovation. We started by distinguishing the problems that we faced day-to-day in the workplace, looking at what makes a job feel like a job and what limits the boundaries of creativity and innovation.
In a world where talented people need organisations less than organisations need talented people, we created ‘The Playground’ as a hypothetical revolutionary new workflow that looks to abolish prehistoric rules, hierarchies and job roles that we follow today and reimagines the work structure to be a level playing field where everyone's opinions and ideas count. ‘The Playground’ workflow is a forward thinking structure that all organisations should be looking to adapt in order to create a happy and healthy work culture and attract the most creative, interesting and exciting young people of the future.
The future of work is play
Instead of getting to work and being told what to do, or being given a long job list, employees are allowed to do what they’re good at. They are given a problem and are asked to solve it, in their own way. This understanding of people's talents allows colleagues to focus on what their strengths are and who will offer the most understanding/valuable advice for the particular problem. This would increase collaboration and build trust between all areas of employment.
The workplace as we know it Is prehistoric
We decided to distinguish the problems that we faced day-to-day in the workplace, looking at what makes a job feel like a job and what limits the boundaries of creativity and innovation. It’s these barriers that stop us from waking up in the morning and running to work with excitement. These boundaries create a repetitive and non-progressive environment in which prehistoric rules are followed. It’s what makes us lose passion for our passions.
With 'The Playground', instead of getting to work and being told what to do, or being given a long job list, employees are allowed to do what they’re good at. They are given a problem and are asked to solve it in their own way. This understanding of peoples’ talents allows colleagues to focus on what their strengths are and who will offer the most understanding/valuable advice for the particular problem.
Abolishing generic hierarchies including job titles ensures everybody feels of value to the Organisation...
“For organisations, it makes it easier to get rid of the people who don’t care about their work. When you leave the employees to their own devices, they get to choose how much work they want to create. This quickly separates the people who are passionate from the ones who aren’t, but also doesn’t stifle the creativity by allowing them to schedule their own timetable and manage their own workload.”
Set your own rules
A workplace with no conventions or prehistoric rules means that Michael can solve problems in his own way...
“The Playground is great for me because there are no set rules that I have to stick to. For example, traditionally when you walk into a new office you’d expect to be given a desk. I don’t work well sitting at a desk because I’m a maker and I prefer to be active when finding solutions to problems. I can go away and work on something in my own little zone, at my own pace which means that I’m happier about the work I’m creating. I actually love coming into work and seeing what new tasks lie ahead.”
The open workplace
A workplace with 24/7 access means that Katie gets to work the hours that suit her...
“Being a creative person it’s hard to come up with ideas when you’re placed into a high-pressured environment and given a time limit. I’ve always been more productive at night, so I tend to come into work later and work into the evening. If something isn’t quite working, I’ll go for a walk, or even go home for a few hours before coming back to work. Having this flexibility allows my creativity to run more smoothly. I’ve definitely been more productive whilst working under the structure of The Playground.”
Sprints, not marathons
Setting up daily short creative tasks and design sprints in teams to answer particular problems allows for collaboration and a fast-paced but healthy workplace. Steve explains how it works for him...
“The introduction of fast-paced design activities really helps at the start of a project when coming up with concepts. In the past, there have been times where I’ve hit a hurdle and been too scared to ask someone for help or input because they might be too busy. This flexible system and encouragement of 'design sprints' means that I‘m confident when asking for help and I’m always eager to help others too.”
In a traditional work structure, management can disregard creativity, as it’s hard to engage with something they don’t understand. With no official job titles, these employees are now included in the creative process. Individual talents are made obvious and understood by the whole team of employees and Tom says that it really helps with the collaborative process...
“This understanding of peoples talents allows everyone to focus on what their strengths are and who will offer the most understanding or valuable advice. This increases collaboration and builds trust between all areas of employment.”
Giving employees the option of voting for self-initiated projects in order to maintain that their personal creative urges and passions are being satisfied within working hours is important. Imran explains the process and how it works for him specifically...
“The Playground voting platform invites all employees to help propose, nominate and select upcoming self-initiated projects. The Playground breaks down which particular projects would be of most value to the company in an easy-to-digest way. As an engineer, I’m much happier and love the idea that we have some say on where the company is heading in the future as well as selecting ideas that we find the most interesting personally.”
It was a great exercise for us to try to tackle some of the problems that a traditional workplace setting throws up and coming up with some hypothetical solutions. It's also opened our eyes a bit on a personal level and allowed us to make some positive changes to our own workflow in order to be more forward thinking and productive as a studio and team.
Whilst we recently spent a week over in Dallas and New York meeting clients and taking part in some very exciting creative sessions, we thought we’d put a small blog post together about some of the really awesome creative areas that we had time to explore whilst visiting.
Deep Ellum - Dallas, Texas
This was an area on the outskirts of Dallas city centre, just east of downtown, that we heard had some really cool shops, bars and restaurants popping up and a great creative culture since it’s fairly recent gentrification process.
We decided to spend a few hours walking around during the day and also go back and night when it started to get a bit more lively. Both our experiences here we really enjoyed and would definitely recommend if you’re ever visiting Dallas. On the grid describes it as a unique intersection of art, music, history, amazing food, and companies who are doing something different and we can’t argue with that.
Located in East Dallas, which is quite a bit further out than Deep Ellum, Lower Greenville is a smaller neighbourhood out in the suburbs of Dallas. It was closer to where our hotel was located and we’d heard from the locals that there was a really cool scene over there so decided to jump in an uber one afternoon and stay through to the evening to see what all the fuss was about.
We certainly weren't disappointed. A mix of charming old establishments and exciting new ones with new flavour make for a great mix in urban Dallas. We visited some really exciting and interesting bars and eateries and one that stood out in particular was called TruckYard. This is basically an open backyard filled with mish-mashed seating areas, street food vendors that change daily and even it’s very own treehouse!
Other places we’d recommend are Good Records for their extensive selection of vinyl. Voodoo Chile Thirft Store for a trippy but thoroughly enjoyable experience with Crazy Jimi who offered us a glass of vino and a tour around his weird and wonderful shop. And last but not least, Greenville Avenue Pizza Company, for the tastiest slice in Dallas.
Williamsburg, Brooklyn - New York
Our Flight back from Dallas was via New York, so we were lucky enough to be able to spend 24 hours in NYC exploring the creative scene. We stayed in the McCarren Hotel and Pool, which is located in North Williamsburg, just around the corner from the infamous Brooklyn Brewery and just a short walk away from Bedford Avenue which is littered with brilliant independent shops, bars, coffee shops and restaurants. The once grittier-than-grit neighbourhood has dramatically changed its image and now has worldwide appeal, attracting folk from all over to create and cultivate.
Our favourite place during our (very short) stay had to be The Meatball Shop, located on the Upper East Side, just off Bedford Avenue, specialising in, you guessed it, meatballs. We ordered using marker pens on the check-box style menu which was a pretty neat idea and chose the classic beef meatballs and tomato sauce on a brioche bun. These were literally the most delicious meatballs we’ve ever eaten and definitely recommend this one if you’re ever visiting NYC.
Our other top Brooklyn picks would be visiting the Brooklyn Bridge for a slice of history and an excellent view of the New York City skyline from across the water. Walking around and getting up close to the hand-painted (Yes, really, hand-painted) billboards around the local area. Visit Brooklyn Brewery for a tour and some free samples. And last but not least, Breakfast at Bagelsmith for the tastiest bagels that have ever entered our bellies!
All in all, a great trip for business and a bit of pleasure too. Our small slice of two very different cultures of America was eye-opening and inspiring. We’re looking forward to taking some of our American inspiration into our upcoming projects.
Here at Alphabet, we always make sure we work closely with our clients to dissect their ideas and needs, no matter how big or small. One of the ways we do this is with our series of workshops we have developed to help build and deliver brands. It's a unique lesson plan that helps us learn more about the client, as well as hopefully giving the client a vivid new insight into their company.
Our workshops range in size from a one-to-one level to a group workshop and activities. From following us, or even browsing our website, you have probably seen that we're passionate and build our process as a design agency on the principle of "People don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it." The Brand Workshops we carry out help us fulfill this and allow the client and their idea to have a voice full of personality and purpose that resonates with their audience.
We recently carried out a workshop with GIG Retail, based in Leeds, which we thoroughly enjoyed it and took a lot of information from the workshop that will help our process moving forward. We hope GIG took a lot away from it too, and we're excited to build our relationship further.
Our Brand Workshop is available to anyone, of any size. You could be a start-up that needs a new perspective to allow you to stand out, or an already established company looking to move with the times and reconnect with your audience. If you are interested in our Brand Workshops and would like to find out more information, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll be more than happy to explain our process in more detail.
We were delighted to be asked to create the Brand and Identity for Present!; a week long exhibition that brought together designers from across the world with the end goal of raising enough funds to build a 12-child home for street kids in India. The exhibition took place at The Proud Archivist as part of the London Design Festival programme last year and was a huge success. Thanks to everybody involved!
India is a beautiful, bold country full of rich culture, variety and colour. It’s a place you certainly don’t forget in a hurry and a place that is as intense as anywhere in the world. Luke and Elena (aka. Equals) visited India in 2014 and came back with unforgettable memories that will stay with them for a long time. Unfortunately what also stayed with them was the story of a railway child they met along the way. This same child was the key source of inspiration for Present! and the idea of design for good.
Equals wanted to make a difference and with both Luke and El working within design and PR, the two felt a purpose to focus on creating a platform for design for good that would make the design community come together and raise money towards the poverty in India. When Luka and El approached us with the idea, we were similarly as passionate to create a platform for equality and common good. While India is one of the most prosperous and fastest growing countries and economies in the world, poverty is also sadly equally as prevalent. India is estimated to have a third of the world's poor. We wanted to help make a difference in any which way we could by utilising the skills we had to facilitate a positive contribution.
The culmination of this dialogue was the creation of Equals – a not-for-profit project ran by Luke and Elena that looks to raise money through design to help those less fortunate. We were lucky enough to collaborate with Equals on creating Present!; A design exhibition as part of London Design Festival with over 60 designers from around the world coming together for a greater cause.
We had support and sponsors from a wide variety of sources, and to help us over the finish line we needed a little help in the form of crowdfunding. We worked with our friends over at Hungry Sandwich Club to help bring the story of Present! to life in the form of a campaign video. Thankfully the funding target was gained and the full potential of the exhibition could be a reality. You can read more about the Present! Kickstarter campaign here.
It was important for us to create a cohesive brand identity for the exhibition. The subject of India was a huge luxury and a perfect opportunity to create something bold, colourful and intense, just like the country itself. The visual identity for Present! utilised a display typeface that is condensed, bold and has hand rendered qualities. This was paired with a colour palette that references Indian sign painting and the milky hues of Jaipur.
Our messaging style referenced being in the streets of India and hearing the many voices shouting over each other whilst receiving visual messages and signals from all around you. It was important for us to create an event that referenced this and was positive in tone, whilst still not forgetting the reason why we were there, to raise money and make a difference to the lives of street kids in India. We did this by creating a messaging style that was positive and loose, whilst still containing the more serious call to action.
One of the most eye-opening and positive things about Present! was how the design community came together for a greater cause and was so open to help in ways that went beyond just a design submission. We exhibited 65 submissions from 65 designers located from over 16 countries around the world. A key theme throughout the exhibition was equality and a level platform – to emphasise this, we had globally renowned agencies exhibiting next to young designers just starting their design career. All designers created a poster in response to a set of specific briefs.
Elements of the exhibition were interactive and generated user-created content. An example of this is where we printed off a charity video by Angel House frame by frame, and encouraged exhibition guests to write and draw on the frames. Once the exhibition was complete, we scanned the frames back in and re-animated them for post-event promotion and social media.
We held design talks on the day following the opening of the exhibition featuring insightful talks by Craig Oldham, Stuart Watson of Design Studio London, Murray Sommerville and Malika Favre. The topics of the talks ranged from design in a global culture, to the growth of India as a global economy and a growing hub for the creative industries. Stuart Watson also talked about working alongside Present! on Design Studio's own project – Conversations with India.
Luke and Elena of Equals are travelling Asia as we speak and have recently had the chance to visit India again to see the results that Present! has had on the small underprivileged communities, helping to improve the facilities that are available to Street Kids. This wouldn’t have been possible without the design community and all who took the time to advise, collaborate, house, attend and submit to the week long event.
A big Thank You to everyone involved from all of us at Alphabet!
Special Thank You: Pressision, Hungry Sandwich Club, Wetransfer, Fedrigoni, Analogue, Dot Laser, Hire an Illustrator, Represent, Stuart Watson, Craig Oldham, Malika Favre, Murray Sommerville and The London Design Festival.
&Larry (Singapore), Aaron Vinton (USA), Alphabet (UK), Analogue (UK), Asylum (Singapore), Attak (Netherlands), Bedow (Sweden), Ben The Illustrator (UK), Bleed (Norway), Bravo (Singapore), Bread Collective (UK), Brody Associates (UK), Build (UK), Casper Heijkenskjold (Denmark), Chantal Chya Hsu (Taiwan), Chistopher Burnett (UK), Craig Oldham (UK), Demian Conrad (Switzerland), Design by Toko (Australia), Design Studio London (UK), Dominic Kesterton (UK), DR.ME (UK), DU.ST (UK), Estudio Primo (Spain), Eve Warren (UK), GBH (UK), George Simin (UK), Giulia Garbin (UK), Hague + Hague (UK), Heydays (Norway), HORT (Germany), Hungry Sandwich Club (UK), James Clapham (UK), James Reid (UK), Jay Cover (UK), Joe Leadbetter (UK), Jon Bland (UK), Joseph Veazey (USA), Luke O'Brien (UK), Lundgren + Lindqvist (Sweden), Made by Tung (Canada), Malika Favre (France), Marcel Hausler (Germany), Monikers (USA), Mucho (USA), Murray Somerville (UK), Oh Yeah Studio (Norway), Only (UK), Orlando Lloyd (UK), Raw (UK), Roots (Singapore), Sam Barclay (UK), Sam Cook (UK), Sarah Boris (UK), Sarp Sozdinler (Turkey), Side by Side (UK), Sneaky Raccoon (UK), Spin (UK), Tom Love (UK), Tsto (Finland), Two Times Elliott (UK), Wade Jeffree (Australia), The Work Bench (Singapore), Yoni Alter (UK) & Zipeng Zhu (USA).