Responses by Sander Vermeulen, design director and Thierry Brunfaut, head of creation/partner, Base Design
Background: Studio Brussel is a beloved institution in Belgium. It is the definitive rock & roll music radio network that has a distinct feel and major following, especially amongst the Flemish in Belgium. “StuBru,” as the station is known, was looking to expand beyond its core audience and appeal to a younger, more digital audience. As radio has changed in the digital age, StuBru had to stand out from the pack.
Reasoning: Music has a profound emotional effect on our formative years. Precisely because StuBru was more than just a rock and roll station, it carries an emotional connection to its fans. It isn’t simply an iconic brand; it is an iconic symbol of youth, and of joy. People do not have a casual relationship with StuBru. For most of them, it touches their core emotions and the music they love. We were reimagining a cultural treasure.
Challenges: StuBru organized a competition between design agencies for the rebranding of the station, which we won. We really liked our proposal; however, in our first client meeting, StuBru told us it wanted something completely different! We had to restart the entire project from scratch and with a fresh head.
Favorite details: The new house style is more than just a logo. They are letters with a sense of rhythm—a flexible and dynamic “digital-first” experience that ranges from totally absent to bursting off the canvas, from acoustic to furiously loud and from one to myriad colors. With its new “toolbox” of graphics, an innovative StuBru typeface, art directed videos and photoshoots, motion graphics templates and guidelines for content and digital, the result feels really “them.” The rebrand revitalizes the true StuBru’s DNA. We touched StuBru’s heart and soul the right way.
Time constraints: Since day one, StuBru planned to focus on social media to promote the station programs instead of its website. Our Base digital team wanted to push all digital interactions on the website much more robustly, but with only three months planning time, it wasn’t realistic. As a solution, we had to conform to a visual “skinning” of the website.
Anything new: Studio Brussel was personal to many members of the Base team! During the pitch phase, we spent a month exploring new typefaces, technology and ways to showcase the brand. It became a Master class in branding and design. Despite going in a different visual direction than we presented, what we all learned in the process will benefit us in the future.