Not so Unseen
A fresh new photo fair will be hitting Amsterdam’s Westerpark this September and Design.nl seized the opportunity to chat with Hamid Sallali, graphic designer at branding agency Vandejong.
From first concept to brand identity, what is it that moves graphic designers and what does creating a logo really entail? Design.nl spoke with Vandejong’s in-house designer Hamid Sallali.
This summer sees the start of a brand-new photography festival in our capital named Unseen – initiated by Foam Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam, Platform-A office for cultural business development and creative branding agency Vandejong. Ultimately with a new festival comes a new visual identity.
“At Vandejong we mostly work for clients. With Unseen we co-created our own brand, so we are our own client now”, says Sallali about the project. “This situation provides much creative freedom but that freedom can also make it more of a challenge. It’s a unique project in that sense.”
We asked Sallali about the commission, and how he approached it.
“The brief was simple: create a brand concept for a photo fair that focusses on new talent and new work by established names. It had to be both accessible to new buyers as familiar to traditional collectors. I quickly realized we had to do something visually interesting with the name; Unseen only has four different letters. By breaking it up into three parts and placing it in a square it becomes more dynamic”, giving it that ‘festival flair’ the brand aims for.
Within the world of photography changes come quick and fast, which is why the fair needed a visual identity that could adapt easily. “One of the most important features of Unseen is that it’s not traditional or conservative”, something that had to be apparent in each of the designs. “The visual identity should tell you that Unseen is a new kind of fair, it has a festive feel if you like.”
For the website, posters and other promotional material, the design team opted to use a
Fleur van Dodewaard photo, featuring staged mirror sunsets. “Ultimately, the fair is all about the photographers and their work. Using this image gave the visual identity its dual purpose.”
The new campaign features a fragmented image by photography-duo Blommers & Schumm, again the combination of type and image gives it a dual meaning and aims to intrigue passers-by.
It’s obvious designers play a big role in creating (and hopefully making successful) a brand such as this. We asked how much Sallali relies on input from others.
“At Unseen we have three directors (Marloes Krijnen of Foam, Roderick van der Lee of Platform A and Pjotr de Jong of Vandejong), each with their own expertise. At the fair itself we will be working closely with Bas van Tol (spatial designer at the agency Müller van Tol) to create the interior and all its signage.”
“The campaign for Unseen will be allround and visible in a broad range of media. To give you an impression: we’ve designed posters, bags, flyers, a prospectus, passepartouts, a website, tickets, magazine inserts for Wallpaper and NRC Handelsblad, an Iphone app, a VIP kit, flags, clothing and a catalog in the form of a photobook,” relays Sallali. “We have sponsors and partners to thank for the fact that it’s become such a large operation.”
The designer continues: “For the biggest part though, I’d say designing is something intuitive, at least for me.”
Catch Unseen Photography Festival Amsterdam from 19-23 September 2012.
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