Talking about: five awesome pieces of graphic design
BA (Hons) Graphic Design student George Gray shares his top five pieces of graphic design, and tells us why he loves them.
Branding: Burger King
Burger King took advantage of Covid-related restaurant closures in 2020 and rebranded their restaurant for the modern world.
Design agency Jones Knowles Ritchie (JKR) set out to make the branding feel ‘less synthetic and artificial, and more real, crave-able and tasty’.
They achieved this through the use of playful illustrations, a crafted typeface which reflects the natural, organic shapes of food, as well as using warmer colours that evoke the freshness of the food served.
This big, bold, brave, bodacious and burgerlicious rebrand has modernised BK to be more in tune with a world that has recently become more conscious about the food they eat.
The new BK initials logo is an excellent, well executed idea. I am constantly inspired by JKR’s innovativeness. JKR is not afraid to push a new idea and redefine graphic design norms.
Hopefully we all start our day off with breakfast for the numerous health benefits associated with it. My go to is Rice Krispies with a sprinkling of raisins – not that it’s relevant. This is why it gave me great satisfaction seeing Kellogg’s repackaging and brand refresh by design agency Landor.
Landor identified the need for simplicity and the desire to live well through Kellogg’s existing heritage. They continued with these attributes by updating the well-known logo, applying a bright colour palette, drawing inspiration from nature and fresh fruit.
This ensured a fun and cohesive range of packaging which evokes the brand’s commitment to sustainability and healthy food.
Most importantly they removed those god awful over-the-top milk explosions and disgusting gradients which are outdated and off-putting.
The two previous examples both have a brilliant idea at their core, which I believe design needs. It shouldn’t just look cool. Advertising is the same, this is where I find you can push an idea a bit more and add more humour.
My favourite witty advertising comes from Mother, a design and marketing agency who have created multiple advertisements for KFC.
Their ‘it’s finger lickin’’ campaign brought advertisements that only used the type ‘it’s good’, with the imagery doing the work. This is subtle, brilliant and proves how iconic the KFC brand is.
Another of my favourite outcomes from Mother and their work with KFC is from when the chain had to shut stores for a few days in 2018 due to chicken shortages.
KFC publicly apologised with accompanying imagery of the letters KFC reorganised to spell ‘FCK’, a very simple idea but very FCK’n clever, generating mass amounts of impressions over news platforms and social media.
Motion design: BBC 2
If (in between watching Netflix) you watch TV, specifically BBC 2, you may be familiar with their idents.
Design agency Superunion came up with the idea of creating unique idents which capture the ‘spirit’ of the show. They achieved this through texture and sound, with the central curve of the numeral ‘2’ becoming the ‘glue for infinite artistic expressions.’
Of course, some watchers of BBC 2 may not give a second thought about what’s moving about on the screen. However, I really love how Superunion has executed this idea and how each ident sparks the imagination.
I particularly enjoy the atmospheric sound design which along with the motion, goes to show graphic design is more than static and encompasses a moving world too.
Album cover design: Supertramp – Breakfast in America
Another of my favourite categories of graphic design is album artwork. In a bit of an unexpected and boomer-like move I wanted to share one of my favourite album designs; Supertramp’s Breakfast in America.
Aside from it being a great album with some sexy sax solos (see The Logical Song 1:52), the album design, designed by Mick Haggerty, is captivating and does a brilliant job of capturing the album theme and title. Not to mention it winning the 1980 GRAMMY award for best album cover design.
The cover does not exactly take me back to ‘79, mainly because I was born in ‘99, however it does remind me of my childhood and seeing it framed in the house.
I love the wit from the use of the American diner theme, and how this pairs with the type on the menu held by the waitress ‘Libby’.
I believe in this digital age of Napster and Myspace, there is less effort placed in designing an album cover because it’s less likely to be bought on record or cassette. Therefore I tend to find older album covers more creatively inspiring and imaginative.