Adobe x Semi Permanent: SMU Labs

About the Adobe Make-It campaign

There have been many entries into the Adobe campaign from artists and designers around the world. This includes the likes of Timothy Goodman, David Macha and Shawna X, all well-known artists and designers in their own right. However, all of the campaign entries thus far have focused on real-world scenarios to showcase how the Adobe mobile apps can be useful to creatives. They usually try to link as many of the product features as possible into a workflow, demonstrating the practical applications of the software.

For this reason, we used a different approach that aimed to promote Adobe (and ourselves) by creating and documenting an experimental scenario that is engaging, informative and also familiar.

The idea for the project stems from an observation that, in spite of the industry’s best efforts to create a unique brand identity for every company, somehow this has led to many brands looking almost identical. Our campaign points out this counterintuitive hypocrisy in a tongue-in-cheek way, we also intend to downplay the importance of new start-ups spending big money on a complex brand identity. Alternatively, we feel that the most important thing that start-ups should do is get a basic brand identity to help get things off the ground. We call this a ‘minimum viable brand’, which is a direct reference to the term ‘minimum viable product’ that is frequently used in the start-up world.

What we’re offering is a way for start-ups to get their own ‘unique’ brand by choosing a few basic off-the-shelf elements. Participants will do this by visiting our brand pop-up shop called Start-Me- Up Labs. The idea is that participants will enter a ‘retail’ space where they are invited to pick items literally off-the-shelf that relate to their new business idea and style. This will include things like; fonts, shapes, colours, illustrations, photography packs, and even a name for their business (if they don’t already have one). Throughout the process they will also engage with Adobe’s mobile apps to select a colour palette from our spinning colour wheel, photograph shapes and illustrations before uploading them to our server. They will then fill out a checklist with a design consultant, who will assemble all of their brand assets. This will include a logo, business card, colour palette, keynote template and website template.

To achieve this, we created a comprehensive brand system whereby different variables can be changed to produce new, ‘unique’ brands. Our templates were designed to accomodate the participants’ chosen photography, colours, and more on the fly, to produce all the assets for the participant to take home at the end of the session. There was a lot to consider in the production of this exhibition, and it was hosted at three separate events. The first was at The Hub, a co-working space in Sydney, the second was at Carriage Works for the Adobe Make It design event in May, and the third was for Semi Permanent, a design conference also held at Carriage Works.

Aside from the huge amount of graphic design work required to create the brand system, there was an enormous amount of work needed to create the physical space, signage and other print collateral. If you’d like to read more about the project, please read my final report below.

View Report.

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