Responses by Will Rees, lead designer, Leo Burnett London
Background: We were tasked with translating the Design Museum’s purpose, which is to make the impact of design visible, into a visually striking campaign, to connect with new audiences. We wanted to challenge the public’s understanding of “design,” from something niche and pretentious to something that impacts our day-to-day lives. Whether it’s the chair they sat on, the bus they’ve travelled on or the phone in their hand, we wanted people to rethink and understand that design is integral to our lives as humans, and the Design Museum is home to a real celebration of design in its many forms. The new brand-line encapsulates this sentiment: Design. Humanity’s Best Friend.
Reasoning: We wanted to create a campaign that communicated the importance of design to our lives in a simple and conversational way. We didn’t want the Design Museum to feel lofty or niche, so we used conversational words wherever possible, making the museum feel accessible and down-to-earth. We chose “best friend” to follow “humanity” to make design feel relevant to the masses, and for the Design Museum to feel like a place for all. The campaign line uses a combination of words that, juxtaposed together, are provocative and fresh and bring a sense of intrigue to the museum.
Challenges: Creating a campaign line and identity that communicates the value of design to humanity in a clear and concise way. We experimented with different approaches but we always came back to a simple, yet engaging style that appeals to all audiences. Furthermore, using the correct photography was also a challenge. We wanted to show people interacting with various design objects while also highlighting the design object in question, which is why we created the square logo lock up. It could be used to house the campaign line and design objects across each execution consistently.
Favorite details: When visiting the Design Museum recently, I saw quite a few people taking photos of the campaign manifesto. I was proud to have been involved in a campaign that everyone can relate to. Design is not elitist or highbrow. It should be enjoyed by everyone on this planet.
Visual influences: As a keen street photographer and traveller, I relate to non-staged photos of people in real world environments. I felt that a street or reportage style of photography would complement the campaign manifesto and enhance the conversational tone of the line.
Anything new: While researching photographers to work with, I found the amazing portfolio of Tariq Zaidi—in particular, his project for LensCulture about the Sapeurs of Brazzaville. It was amazing to learn about this exuberant fashion subculture that exists in the Republic of the Congo. I love how they express themselves through fashion and use it as a form of colonial resistance, social activism and peaceful protest.