How does one go about designing point of sale visuals for a shopping experience on Mars? Or, slightly more ordinary, the corporate identity for an art institution? Three professors from the IED Barcelona Design University trace the journey their students take to develop their visual proposals.

Borja Martínez, corporate identity project tutor at IED Barcelona and creative director at graphic design studio LoSiento

Shopping on Mars is a project based on a shopping experience on the red planet designed by Nabill Parvizi. The result is a visual identity for a twenty-four-hour point of sale conceived as a system of modular stores that would be distributed across this new territory where settlers from the land reside. It is impossible to guess what the visual trends of 2030 will be, but we know that some things can remain and be maintained.

Part of the project brief is based on the cultural transfer of human beings in a new barren territory, analysing and understanding what their vital needs will be. In the words of Nabill himself, “the project represents an unprecedented human challenge where romanticism is presented as the predominant element.”

  • Tars_Etapes1-2
  • Tars_Etapes2-2

As a starting point and inspiration, Nabill’s project rescues the imagination and the formal essence of classic comics inspired by utopian galaxies. At the same time, he draws on part of the book The Martian Chronicles (1950) by Ray Bradbury, where he began to assimilate the idea of a possible and future colonization of the red planet. The book tells the story of John Carter, a human who travels to Mars and befriends a Martian named Tars Tarkas.

The graphic solution proposed by Nabill, with a clear dynamic and modular system, creates a solid and functional brand that transmits a concept within a totally new context. As a starting point, he has designed a display typeface as a centre and visual tool that works individually in pieces or modules. These pieces will be used to assemble and design the necessary applications for the project. Mars is based on typography as the central axis supporting all the compositions that define the applications, such as posters, signage, stationery or packaging.

Carles Rodrigo, corporate identity project tutor at IED Barcelona and founder of the Carles Rodrigo Studio

Coming from a very open brief that consists of designing the corporate identity of an art institution, Grafito takes the essence of the creative process as its conceptual basis and becomes a space for exhibiting sketches and drawings by artists in multidisciplinary fields. Meaning “graphite” in Spanish, the name of the gallery takes the most basic and fundamental drawing tool—the graphite pencil—as a means to focus attention on the creative stage when raw concepts and try-outs are sketched on a piece of paper and the first decisions are made.

The main concept created by Deborah Husky is translated visually into a stretched logotype where the two extremes are linked by the bar of the letter “f”, acquiring different lengths and shapes, representing that anything can happen between the beginning and the end of the creative process. Shapes are generated in a geometric, abstract way, referring to the notion of something “unfinished” or “unrefined”, whilst being strongly supported by the other elements in the identity.

The simplicity of the typographic application is complemented by the cut-out collage layout of the images, allowing different images to be placed on the same plane and making the graphic system spontaneous and self-generated. These elements are accompanied by a very delicate colour palette formed by a range of pastels and faded colours, reminiscent of different tones of paper in sketchbooks, whilst the rawness of textured materials and crafted binding systems gently tie the project together. The result is a deep graphic language with a very strong narrative, where every element of the identity explains a new aspect of the whole story.

Óscar Germade, former professor at IED Barcelona, founder of Solo and artistic director at Vogue Spain

The brief consisted in designing a poster or series of posters to celebrate the work of Antonio Bonet, a mid-twentieth-century Spanish rationalist architect. He is at the origin of some of the most interesting architectural projects in Barcelona, such as the “Canodromo” or “la Ricarda” house.

Santiago Restrepo chooses to pay a direct tribute to the architect through an illustrated interpretation of his iconic works. He produces a series of realistic posters while proposing an unorthodox point of view on the work of the architect. The expressive and sometimes overly saturated use of colours contrasts with the grey sobriety of Antonio Bonet’s work. His proposal evokes the process of colouring black and white photographs. A great way to bring back to life the work of an architect from the past.

  • bonet_05
  • bonet_01

This project illustrates how a design student needs to translate concrete and complete ideas into formal form in the simplest possible way. Santiago Restrepo simplifies the idea down to the finest point. When an idea is good, the project works. When a message is universal and the audience it is intended for understands, the project works. Finally, when the student is meticulous in applying the scale, tension, typography, illustration, and orbiting everything around this single idea, the project is highly likely to be effective.

 

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