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Going Back to the Future

When Motor Underwriting Agencies (MUA) began it was the first specialist underwriting agency for the motor insurance industry. In 1988, this was very significant, as no-one had ventured into the territory of insuring niches before. And so it was that MUA made its name almost exclusively from providing classic and executive motor vehicle insurance to a highly affluent niche market. But times change, and with new leadership and an expanded product offering, MUA was ready for a purposeful make-over.
In partnership with us, MUA embarked on a journey to discover, or rather re-discover, a new brand character which more accurately reflected their services, their operating model and their vision. The challenge was twofold: firstly, MUA needed to change the perception that it only offers executive and classic vehicle insurance; and secondly, it had to challenge the notion that it only serves wealthy male customers. The new brand identity had to attract a new target market, while not alienating the existing one. Further to this, the new brand had to deliver breakthrough with brokers, who play an integral part in the business’ process.
To redefine a brand, one has to go back to its origins and make a contemporary translation of the existing or pre-existing values, and to make it relevant in its current context. Through this process the company character and culture was defined, which will take the brand into the future. The individual now becomes central to MUA’s philosophy – and in adopting this philosophy, MUA has gained a competitive edge, offering a concierge service in the insurance sector.
Having crystallized MUA’s new brand image, we set out to implement the new visual identity for the company at various important touchpoints. This involved re-designing everything from stationery, calendars, brochures, to the newsletter email and website.
Translating a company’s vision into a unique and tangible brand is an exciting and rewarding process – it is a substantial but simple process. Substantial, because without understanding the core fundamentals, no brand promise can be made with integrity. Simple, because providing a new lease on life shouldn’t be made more complex than is necessary.

When Motor Underwriting Agencies (MUA) began it was the first specialist underwriting agency for the motor insurance industry. More details…


Branding /Design /New

Boubyan Bank

Essentials for a life less ordinary

There are those who believe that to establish a global presence, a brand should position itself as being all things to all people, a hold-all solution that cuts across diverse target groups. But when Boubyan Bank embarked on a journey with us to revamp their brand for the world market, they discovered that it was their inherently unique qualities as an Islamic bank that would, at once, give them mass appeal and yet allow them to stand out on the global financial stage.

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Branding

Webber Wentzel Bowens Attorneys

About Heritage & Excellence

As the oldest and only truly African law firm in South Africa  Webber Wentzel Bowens needed their first corporate branding campaign to give perfect expression to all the wonderful things that their ‘silent brand’ stands for.

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Design

Merensky

Seeing the wood for the trees

When Merensky wanted to re-engineer their brand, they were looking for an identity that would reflect their vision for the future, while still retaining their links to a powerful legacy.

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Branding

ACICO

Waking sleeping giants

Creating a brand architecture for construction conglomerate ACICO delivered not only a visual identity for this Kuwait-based company, but birthed a common sense of purpose and shaped an organisational structure that has created new business opportunities for the company, both in the Middle East and around the world.

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Branding

Context

Minor corporate identity program for brand internalisation company Context.

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Design

Spectrum – Website

As part of a bigger re-branding process, Spectrum used this brochure site to share its new purpose and perspective with the world.

http://spectrum.tv More details…


Online

Areas of Expertise


About

University Pretoria – ‘X-ings’

‘X-ings’ or ‘Crossings’ was an exhibition that celebrated University Pretoria’s centenary year and it showcased the influence design has had on culture during this period. REX designed a poster which serves as a ‘graphic manifesto’. The poster features truisms, slogans and brand-slang generated on the topic of branding & culture along the way, set in a typographic language developed by hand, in our studio.

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Design

Willowlamp

The simple gives birth to the sublime

When jewellery-designer Sian Elliot and architect Adam Hoets first came to REX with their idea for what was to become Willowlamp, the team knew they were looking at something extraordinary.

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Design

Dulux Duco

Dulux Duco presented the perfect opportunity to give an existing consumer brand a whole new lease on life. REX was tasked with rejuvenating the packaging of this iconic brand, but in typical REX style, the project quickly evolved beyond the surface of pack design.

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Design /Packaging

Velocity

Hall of Fame

When top brands are looking for a safe pair of hands to create and produce an inspiring television commercial, they look to Velocity Films. A company that has won nearly every local and international advertising award for creativity and production excellence, the Velocity team includes the industry’s top creative talent and an unparalleled body of work.

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Branding /Design

Contact South Africa


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JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA

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13, Letamo Estate, Mogale City, Johannesburg, South Africa

Telephone: + 27 82 322 6683
Facsimile: +27 86 593 3311

Email
info@rexcreative.com


About /Contact

Willowlamp – Website


Online

Velocity Cannes 2009 Invite


Design /New

Myriad

A conversation kaleidoscope

Even the smallest company can benefit from a brand identity that is derived from the inside-out . Ask Myriad – a small business writing services company for whom we developed a new brand identity. They needed an identity that reflected its core substance, a platform from which it could market itself positively and with pride.

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Design

ECHO

H is for hope

An estimated 230 000 children under 15 are living with HIV in South Africa. Yet only about 10 000 children are currently on ARV treatment, meaning that about 50% of children with HIV/AIDS die before they reach the age of two.

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Branding /Design

Tonic Design – Website


Online

Bouffant – Website

After Bouffant was so brilliantly born and branded, it soon became obvious that the company needed to have direct contact and influence with the creative fraternity as part of the advertising industry… to participate in the generation of new ideas, new techniques, and new stories. A completely re-purposed website, developed by REX, helped to make this possible. Enjoy.

http://bouffant.tv More details…


Online

Seeking the essence of Africa

Seeking the essence of Africa
The design fraternity is still grappling with the question about what defines ‘African design’. Theories about and we seem no closer to a consensus, but perhaps that’s because we’re asking the wrong question.
By Rudo Botha, REX
You’d think that, as a designer based in Africa, it would be easy to come up with an answer to the question “What constitutes African design?” But you’d be wrong. It’s a question that keeps getting asked, particularly as Africa seeks to shake off the externally-imposed definitions of the developed world and redefine herself on her own terms. But picking apart the finer nuances of how the West perceives Africa and how Africa would like to portray itself – and what role design plays in such a portrayal – is not an easy task.
For years people have been pointing to ethnic prints, earthy colours and grungy textures and calling it African design. The implication is that for brands to be ‘authentically African’ they too need to contain these elements. It’s a patronising, narrow view and one that designers living in Africa, not to mention African brands, are understandably keen to rid themselves of. Africa encompasses so much more than a rural village, three huts and a couple of cows, and African design can be as aesthetically eloquent and internationally relevant as design arising from anywhere else in the world. (Just ask the growing number of design outfits that are doing work for international companies beyond our borders).
A question of style
Which brings us back to the original question. If African design is not those tired old so-called ‘African’ stereotypes (and I vehemently believe it is not), then what is it? Some suggest that its a slicker, evolved version of the ethnic prints, a coming together of the old with the new, a merging of the ‘traditional’ with the technological, or a look that retains the earthy tones but introduces a more refined texture. I’d have to disagree with all of these, and here’s why.
What each of these suggestions points to is style, the external graphic representation of a piece of work. So in asking “What is African design?” I think many people are really asking “What is an African style?” and for me, that question is as irrelevant as it is unanswerable.
Whether a brand identity ends up looking grungy, clean, corporate or ethnocentric does not tell you anything about how ‘African’, ‘American’ or ‘Swedish’ it is. Design is not about style; it’s about the value it has to contribute to a brand, or a community or a country. The way in which different people from different countries will go about solving problems through design will undoubtedly be influenced by their social, cultural, political and geographic context, but this has little to do with whether you end up with earthy tones and ethnic prints, or cool clean lines. In the same way, how a designer goes about devising solutions for a brand will be influenced by these same factors, in addition to the needs of the brand and the context of the company.
An African context?
So perhaps the question we need to be asking is ‘What is the African context that influences design?’ To some extent this question is answerable. Africa as a developing continent is characterised by enormous need and few easily-accessible resources. In many cases this informs ingenious design that makes use of what’s available to provide for basic, lower-tier Maslow needs. It’s an exciting, dynamic and survivalist space that breeds designs which are relevant, necessary and inspired by what is essential.
But the African context is neither isolated nor static. More and more it is connected to a global context, and it is continually shifting and evolving. Brand identities developed within this dynamic, multi-faceted and increasingly global context will reflect that. As a Johannesburg-based designer working on a brand identity, I draw on my personal context, the natural environment around me and the diverse cultures and people I come into contact with. I also draw on the international literature, brands and design examples I have access to and experience on a daily basis. All these things combine to add my own personal ‘flavour’ to a piece of work, nothing more. They don’t make it any more or less quintessentially African.
Going to the source
Most importantly, however, I look to the company for whom the brand is intended. This should always be the key source of inspiration and is the reason why brand identities can’t be boxed as either ‘African’ or not any more than the companies the represent can. We’ve developed brands like Echo, for the Wits Paediatric HIV Clinic, which are situated in a uniquely South African context but which don’t conform to African stereotypes. We’ve also developed identities for local companies that have a global reach. Merensky is a good example – its undeniably an African company, with roots deep in local soil, but its also an international corporate and as such its identity speaks a professional and high tech language. Similarly, Willowlamp sells its products to international buyers but it also has a proudly South African heritage. However, the brand identity reflects the essence of the company, and not where it comes from.
A different question
Whether brands look African is a question about the external, and it’s the wrong question to ask. What’s important is whether design produces something that is relevant and useful within the context of the brand. If the design solution addresses a problem that exists in an African context then I suppose you could say the design was African. But most often the context can’t be easily pinned down, no matter what the geographical location of the designer. I believe we have Google to thank for this, because the world really is interconnected. Different designers can be influenced by the very same stimulus on any given day. So designers are not immune to the ‘global village’, which blurs the lines defining African, European and Asian stereotypes in the first place.
And I believe this is a good thing. Shouldn’t it be more important that design is relevant, useful and innovative? Does it solve the problem it was presented with? Is it relevant enough to compete both locally and on a global stage (if those are requirements of the brand), given that the world is now a global village? Does it possess enough essential value to speak to a universal audience while still retaining a flavour that people from its own context can recognise? These are the questions we need to be asking –  not whether it pays homage to someone’s idea of an ethnic eden, a waking giant or a dark continent.
We don’t have to ask whether a new kind of African design identity or language exists, because it is no secret that exceptional work, work that can stand independently and proudly on any stage, is being hatched right here in the cradle of mankind, so to speak! Discussions on what such work looks like will remain subjective and will always be limiting to our export product. On the other hand discussions about its value or relevance are much more interesting and hold greater potential for us as Africans.
Perhaps we should remind ourselves that excellent design works, for as long as it is a product of human creativity, is always something very personal and is something in which the origins of the creator or their context will be visible. So the really astute design critics should be able to recognise the African identity of the valuable work that originates from this continent, be that geographically or due to the influence of the creator. If I could write the script, there would be great design product lined up on a neutral, international stage, and the most relevant piece of work would be measured against both the objective and context that called it into being. Then we’d see who can hazard a guess at its origins. Just for kicks.

The design fraternity is still grappling with the question about what defines ‘African design’. Theories about and we seem no closer to a consensus, but perhaps that’s because we’re asking the wrong question.

By Rudo Botha, REX

More details…


New /Press

Cepacol

Smoothing things out for Cepacol

Cepacol competes in a tough throat lozenger market, where brands like Strepsils are already well-established and enjoy considerable consumer-favour. Fortunately, Cepacol has a key differentiator, namely the fact that it’s medicated and therefore delivers a soothing anaesthetic effect to the throat.

More details…


Design /Packaging

Zuri

The business of beautiful

We revel in projects that stretch us – and there can be few things more challenging than bringing harmony to polar opposites, and then expressing this in an identity that is at once professional and visually powerful.

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Branding /Design

Xealll.com


Branding

Salt & Pepper


Design

Look&Listen

A series of posters for Look& Listen.

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Design

Corbis

One-of-a-Kind

Greatstock commissioned REX to develop a branding tactic that would help promote Corbis’ stock photography as a valuable resource to the creative & business industries. The solution came in the form of a one-of-a-kind deck of playing cards, decorated with mesmerising Corbis photography.

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Design

Markinor

Putting down roots and spreading wings

When research giant Markinor embarked on a brand rejuvenation exercise, they approached REX to help them establish a branding platform that would give visual expression to the company’s mantra of ‘roots and wings’. With a primary identity and new logo already in place, and people committed to being flag-bearers of the new brand, the organisation was well-positioned to roll out a visual identity that would encapsulate its vision and unique culture.

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Design

REX Company Compendium

The REX Company Compendium was first produced in March 2009. It features a concise profile of the company as well as a collection of project case studies and selected articles.

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About

Tennant McKay – Website


Online

Myriad – Website


Online

Raw – Website



New /Online

REX Stationery

A collection of our stationery over the past five years.

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Design

Constitution Hill

A Place in History

Constitution Hill has neatly carved its place in the new South Africa’s history. As part of the Johannesburg inner-city precinct which has seen a massive revival since 2001, Constitution Hill not only marks the invaluable historical sites where Nelson Mandela was held prisoner but now also hosts South Africa’s Constitutional Court.

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Design

The Power of Pull

Push marketing methods are no longer delivering the goods, and savvy marketers are coming to understand the importance of pulling their audiences in.

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Articles

5 A Day


Design

Compass

In the right direction
Developing a brand identity is often about taking back power – the kind of power that defines your business and what it stands for. This was certainly the case for specialist insurance company Compass. While the company offered a highly specialised and professional service to the insurance industry, its brand was not enjoying the kind of recognition it deserved. A lack of brand equity created a gap where a strong, unified identity should have been. And as with many other things, when it comes to branding, you are better off defining yourself, before others do it for you.
Our starting point was to uncover the real value that the company was offering clients  – value that lay in expertise and partnership. Compass is the go-to point for brokers and clients looking for specialist insurance; they facilitate the end-game, acting less like an insurance company and more like a consultancy. So we dropped ‘Insurance’ from their name and developed the ‘Enabling Opportunity’ positioning.
Next, we designed an essential, sophisticated, yet contemporary identity that would reflect the company’s professionalism and quiet confidence. Subtle calibration marks on a luxurious white paper stock reflect the measured way in which Compass analyses risk in order to identify opportunity for its clients. The new identity presents an interesting new balance struck between something elegant, something ambitious, and something new. The word mark is contemporary yet understated, the colour palette is mono yet is moves – all of which reflect only what is essential. The bespoke identity elements speak for a company that has redefined itself and discovered how to use its quiet confidence to attract its relevant target market.

In the right direction

Developing a brand identity is often about taking back power – the kind of power that defines your business and what it stands for. This was certainly the case for specialist insurance company Compass. More details…


Branding /Design /New

Terraplane


Design

Seeing the Bigger Picture

In the debate about what branding can do for business, some branding companies are quietly getting on with the job of redefining their role and delivering real results to the bottom line.

More details…


Articles

Markinor ‘The Art of Science’

The Art of Science

REX has always believed that design can be used not only to inspire but to make a meaningful difference to business. As part of its project to express Markinor’s brand culture, the company embarked on an endeavour that resulted in the development of a revolving range of unique custom art works. Installed in the Markinor premises, these art works not only enhance the interior, but also serve to express the brand’s values, directly with people in the daily course of doing business.

More details…


Design

Coca-Cola Remix

In 2006, Coca-Cola invited REX to participate in its 125th birthday celebrations, by joining a team of 125 artists from around the world taking 125 years of Coca-Cola marketing material and re-inventing it to create a series of fresh visuals inspired by the brand’s new global positioning statement – the Coke side of life.

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Design

M Design

Fashion-Inspired Facelift

M Design, an interior design outfit from the Middle East, has taken the regional market by storm with the work done for Wataniya Cellular, and so it happened that the business was soon outperforming its brand. So when the decision was made to revamp their brand identity, they turned to REX.

More details…


Branding

Lucky Strike

‘Beton Oerwoud’ aka Concrete Jungle

REX was asked to develop a graphic design piece that would be used to theme an experimental branding event, hosted by Lucky Strike.

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Design

Vida e Caffé

Vida e Caffé for International Design Indaba

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Design

FNB ATM

How can we help you?

When FNB enlisted the services of REX to help them design new graphics for its ATM interface, they got more than they bargained for. REX’s creative team approached the project in the way we approach all our work and started off by endeavouring to understand the bigger picture. What we discovered was an opportunity to deliver an unrivalled ATM interface to the market, but in order to do this we needed to do more than simply design new graphics.

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Design /Online

The Tough Brand Trilogy

Exploring the three fundamentals of creating a resilient brand in tough economic times.

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Articles

Global Access

Starting something

Increasingly REX’ work involves helping businesses to define who they are and redesign their business offering, by using branding as a vehicle to catalyse change and unearth potential for new growth. This was the case when REX took on a re-branding project for Global Access, a business-to-business broadcast corporation looking for a new lease on life..

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Branding /Design

Nelson Mandela Foundation


Branding

MiWorld


Branding /Design /New /Online

Oil


Branding /Design

Expigen


Design /Packaging

The Yas Hotel Pitch


Branding /Design

A Giant Wakes

The rise of online PDF magazines has opened the medium up to a whole new market. All you need to benefit from the trend is a computer, a target audience and top-end design team.

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Articles

Raw | Ikonik | Klik


Branding /Design /New

How We Work

We Start By Asking
What is viable, in this context?
What is possible, through technology?
What is desired, by the world?

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About

REX Logos


Design

REX Company Profile

REX specialises in strategic brand development with design as the core asset. We offer clients sophisticated creativity, specialist design expertise and fresh perspective on branding.

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About

Compass Website


Online

Timesquare – Website

This brochure website was designed for Timesquare Advertising as part of a re-branding make-over for the agency. The website was designed to be a contemporary urban experience, sharing with the audience perspectives on what is happening on the streets and how market there with success.

www.time-square.co.za

More details…


Online

The A1 Club

The A1 Grand Prix was launched with glorious splendour in September of 2005. REX participated in the development of the strategy, the business concept and the image of the A1 Grand Prix’s hospitality unit.

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Design

ECHO – Website

This mini website for ECHO fulfills an important function in assisting the organization to communicate important information, to an international audience, about their fight against HIV & AIDS.

www.witsecho.org.za

More details…


Online

Compass, Cirque du Soleil


Design /New

Bouffant

All puffed-out !

A change in leadership at production company Fresh Water Films resulted in a change in energy, and a change in name to Bouffant. REX was called in to translate this new energy in the form of a brand identity.

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Branding /Design

Inspiration is the New Investment

If businesses want to engage the new consumer, they need to reconsider innovation.

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Articles

Global Access – Website

As part of a complete re-branding process, Global Access’ website was re-designed to reflect a new business proposition, a new brand identity, and a new lease on life.

www.globalaccess.co.za More details…


Online

Spectrum

Seeing solutions

The thing that most excites the people at Spectrum about what they do is their ability to unlock the potential of visual content. These are people who are moved by all things visual and whose expertise lies in harnessing the power of technology to add intelligence to visual solutions. Inspired by this passion for ‘visual stuff’, REX used it as a starting point to build a brand and design a new visual identity for Spectrum, which is a long-standing client of the company’s.

More details…


Branding /Design

Whatwewant


Design

Homemakers

The great Homemakers makeover

Homemakers needed their brand to work a lot harder for the business. They approached REX to help them align consumer perception with their offering. The challenge lay in the fact that while Homemakers’ divisional brands – Homemakers Fair, Homemakers Expo, HomeTalk and Complex Living – had the same client bases, there was no synergy between them. REX needed to reposition Homemakers as a great home improvement ideas provider instead of the DIY company consumers perceived it as, and change the outdated styling to one that was contemporary, credible and consumer-friendly.

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Branding

Isolée


Design

Timesquare

The great urban experience

The lights might be out in Joburg, but the power is on at urban lifestyle marketing specialist Timesquare, which has kicked off the new year with a new focus, new energy and a brand new image to match.

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Design

Léna Lane

French electronic artist Léna commissioned us to design an album cover and packaging for her new electro-dub-funk offering, Lane.

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Design /Packaging

Velocity – Website

Engaging the international market from offices in Johannesburg South Africa, and keeping the world updated and enthralled with all the latest news from Velocity – makes a website more than just a piece of corporate stationery… REX set out to make the new Velocity website a very distinctive gallery for its world class directors.

More details…


Online

Savila


Design

Mick & Nick


Design

Ko-Klee-Ko

Fashion + Flowers + Flair = Ko-Klee-Ko

When a young and upcoming fashion designer from Cape Town approached REX to create a brand identity for her clothing range, we once again fell in love with this world. The notoriously cut-throat and competitive world of fashion would take our branding process into a completely new realm.

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Branding /Design /New

MiBar

Since its inception in 2003, Liquid Chefs pioneered a new brand of bar culture in South Africa as well as in other parts of the world. Now this cult-cum-company has embarked on a daring initiative to launch an exclusive digital network of like-minded people. Tailor-made for young tech savvy trendsetters, the online network, “MiWorld”, will connect members both physically and digitally and steer them to various MiWorld locations.
Liquid Chefs engaged with us to bring the online platform to life and create the virtual and physical spaces. The first step was to conceive an overarching brand identity-mechanism for the “Mi”-brand trilogy that is derived from the term ‘multimedia interactivity’. The MiWorld concept was brought to life as an interactive website with a contemporary brand identity – and the experience was extended further into the interior design of each of the venues, as well as in the various marketing materials.
With three different MiWorld venues in the making – MiBar, MiLounge and MiCafé – we experimented with ways to differentiate the locations but still connect them under the MiWorld brand. Using the subtleties of visual language, we established continuity through the use of a wordmark – a logo which doesn’t have a symbol. The wordmark creates a visual link between the venues, while still identifying each as a separate and uniquely-themed entity.
The design team created a multi-coloured logo which is made up of vivid splashes of colour that look as if they’ve been spontaneously thrown onto a canvass. The splashes of colour represent a connected network of people and the vibrancy of MiWorld nightlife. The primary brand mark and avant garde colour palette are defining features of the website (mi-world.co.za), and will be replicated in various forms on all the marketing materials such as invitation cards, email invitations, food and cocktail menus, etc.
As designers, we are not only creating the look and feel of the tangible elements of a brand – we are engineering perceptions and establishing an emotional connection between the brand and the end consumer.  MiWorld is both a sophisticated and seductive concept, and these are the qualities that we sought to convey through creative brand design.

Since its inception in 2003, Liquid Chefs pioneered a new brand of bar culture in South Africa as well as in other parts of the world. More details…


Branding /Design /New

Hannover re


Branding /Design /New

Animalfarm

A different kind of Animal(Farm)

Imagine creativity that is so uniquely innovative that it challenges people’s perceptions of what they think they know, that shows them a glimpse of things beyond the realm of what they believed was possible, and that takes them to a place where anything can happen. This is the world of Animalfarm, a creative consultancy run by Porky Hefer, who is arguably one of the most creatively brilliant minds in the business.

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Design

Less and More are Relative

Differentiating your brand against a background of sameness is as much about understanding what’s out there as it is about looking inward.

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Articles

Quatermass – Website

Quatermass Records is an electronic music label from Belgium. Quatermass operates in a niche market and represents a very specific artistic profile. The label is a cultural icon for bold individualism, the avant-garde and raw originality.

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Online

Smile Foundation


Design

SL Magazine

SL Magazine CD Cover

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Design

Xealll.com Website


Online

Markinor – Website

Three years old and still going strong…

http://ipsos-markinor.co.za

More details…


Online

Coca-Cola M5

Coca-Cola, the biggest brand in the world, was beginning to lose its grip on its core consumer – the youth of today and more importantly the generation after them, who simply don’t share the same emotional bond with the brand as the ‘baby boomers’.

More details…


Branding /Design /Packaging