Word of Power: how to convey motion effect by typography

Creation of a dynamic identity for video production OMA. We translated our article previously published on the Skillbox Media design blog.

Image: OMA / designed by maryco studio

OMA is a full cycle video production. Previously, the team filmed only commercials, but in 2020 the company was reorganized under a new brand. Its positioning has changed — now it also deals with television programs and films.

The updated brand needed a new corporate identity: a logo with a 3D version for splash screens, a color palette and fonts. OMA intended to use this identity in video, as well as for office printing and publications.

The task

We did not have hard restrictions, only a few guidelines:

1. Reflect the ideas contained in the name “OMA”. First, this is the connection with the physical Ohm’s law, that is, with the strength of the current. Secondly, there is the mantra “Om” or “Aum” — a sacred sound that is called the word of power. That is, the name contains a wide range of associations from electricity to sound waves. It was crucial to convey images of purity, strength, clarity and movement in the logo.

2. Use white, black, blue and green colors. And no yellow, red and orange.

3. Convey the character of the brand. The OMA team develops new ideas for each project, knows how to find non-trivial solutions, so the visual should be alive, moderately minimalistic, but catchy.

Our approach is to build on the logo: this is how we move from smaller to larger. Moreover, it is often the logo that dictates the style, like a constant. We agreed with OMA that we will offer three versions of the logo and choose one, which we will refine and use as the basis of the identity.

Logo development: general concept and different options

All the references that the client showed us were minimalistic, often abstract, with subtle optical illusions.

Image: Advertising Agency GSP / Seagate

Building on the references, we have identified two key ideas:

· Using three letters of the name as a logo — to create a vivid image and emphasize the character of the brand through the font.

· Convey themes of current, sound and video through plasticity and rhythms, create the motion effect.

References that we have selected. Image: maryco studio

For three concepts, we hand-drawn the letters and translated them into vectors.

The first version of the logo

Image: OMA / designed by maryco studio

We chose a spelling in which vertical lines seem to cut the letters. Due to this, the forms come to life, the motion effect and displacement appears. When you look at this logo, it is intuitively clear how the dynamics will be built, how it can be played up.

The client liked the idea, but they weren’t hooked on it.

The second version of the logo

Image: OMA / designed by maryco studio

This version is more laconic, thin, without graphic deformations. But the motion effect is still there: contrasting strokes set the rhythm and at the same time lighten the shapes.

While discussing this decision with the client, we came to the conclusion that the typeface was too soft and sophisticated in character. As a result, this option was abandoned.

The third version of the logo

Image: OMA / designed by maryco studio
Image: OMA / designed by maryco studio

We have prepared two styles. The first is basic. It is grotesque with geometric, understandable and readable symbols. Such a logo is suitable for small formats, for example, for avatars on social networks.

For large media, we made a second face — added a glitch effect to the base. It divides letters horizontally and creates a slope, while the word “OMA” is easy to read.

This logo turned out to be more neutral — geometric, simple and complex at the same time. The client approved it.

Next, we created a 3D version of the logo. We picked up a texture and made a model that can be used in both static and dynamic versions.

Image: OMA / designed by maryco studio

Style-forming elements: fonts and colors

The first concept

Fonts. We chose Ambidexter and Manrope to create contrast, break order and grab attention. Ambidexter would do well for this task in headlines as an accent.

Colors. Based on the client’s wishes, we proposed a combination of white, grayscale, as well as purple, dark blue and pink in both muted and saturated shades.

Layout with fonts and colors from the first concept. Image: OMA / designed by maryco studio
Layout with fonts and colors from the first concept. Image: OMA / designed by maryco studio

This palette, especially the combination of neon pink and blue, pleased the client. However, this solution had a drawback: when OMA uses these colors on its Instagram, the feed will turn out to be too dark.

Unexpectedly for us, the client asked us to use yellow in the new concept, which he wanted to exclude in the first brief. We agreed that we would not choose an open and flashy shade, but a more complex one — appropriate in a digital environment.

Second concept

Colors. This time, the palette is based on yellow and grayscale. We suggested using blue, green and purple colors as visual accents.

Fonts. In addition to combining Ambidexter and Manrope, we have prepared two new font pairs: Akrobat and Le Murmure, Manrope and PT Serif.

The second identity concept. Three font combinations: Manrope and Ambidexter, Akrobat and Le Murmure, Manrope and PT Serif. Image: OMA / designed by maryco studio
Layouts of the second identity concept. New colors and three font combinations: Manrope and Ambidexter, Akrobat and Le Murmure, Manrope and PT Serif. Image: OMA / designed by maryco studio

As a result, the following font combination was approved:

· For the headlines, we use the elegant Le Murmure accent and the neo-grotesque Akrobat. In both fonts, there are elongated, restrained characters.

· We leave the minimalistic and readable Manrope for typing.

Visualization of the final design concept. The images have shear and wrinkle effects. We have suggested to introduce graphic elements in the corporate style in the future. Image: OMA / designed by maryco studio

Media design

Based on the design concept, we formed a guideline, where we fixed all the techniques, and developed the design of the media.

  1. Printing: business cards and letterheads.
The text on the business cards is scattered in the corners. We highlighted the details in yellow: last name, end of email address, position and code at the beginning of the phone number. Image: OMA / designed by maryco studio
In the letterheads, we made a slight offset — the text is shifted relative to the axis of the logo. Image: OMA / designed by maryco studio
Image: OMA / designed by maryco studio

2. Style of images. This is a development for the future, when OMA will run social networks. We have made examples of posts with photos.

The corporate identity is based on a contrasting combination of black, yellow and white, but if you use only them in the Instagram feed, it will quickly get bored. Therefore, in photos and posts, an additional color palette works along with the main one.

An example of the selection of photos — with the effects of shift and wrinkle. Image: OMA / designed by maryco studio

Going beyond

The development of graphics was not part of our task. But when we put together the case, we decided to dream up, show the possibilities of the project. We thought: if OMA launches advertising campaigns on different media, what would reflect the brand’s character?

As a result, they chose bold, non-obvious combinations that dynamically layered on top of each other.

Image: OMA / designed by maryco studio
Image: OMA / designed by maryco studio

The OMA case showed us how the initial limitation often opens up new opportunities. It is thanks to the yellow color that the corporate identity turned out to be spectacular and bold. And you can develop it, experiment further, adding new elements.

The project was made by:

• Veronika Octyabr — art direction;

• Andrey Telminov — logo and design concept development;

• Nikolay Mezin — guideline layout and media design;

• Ekaterina Primak —showcasing for Behance.

Image: OMA / designed by maryco studio

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maryco

Design team. We create visual communication for brands in the digital environment and offline. Visit us http://maryco.org/