Opinion by Richard Baird Posted 23 February 2015
Redscout is an international strategy, design and innovation agency with 55+ employees and offices in both the US and the UK. It is dedicated to what it describes as creating new prosperous futures for ambitious businesses through brand positioning and portfolio architecture, providing identity, product and packaging design services, and offering consumer, cultural and category insight. Redscout recently worked with design studio Franklyn to help develop its own public image—moving it away from a behind-the-scenes business to business company— with a new visual identity treatment that included extensive illustration, logotype, business card and stationery design.
Franklyn’s solution is a highly individualised and expandable identity system that draws on the diversity and personalities of its employees and visualises these through a current and contemporary monolinear illustrative approach to faces and iconography, a good twist on the familiar corporate photo. The line style, use of space, the mix of detail and reduction, age and gender, and a good contrast of proportion, face and mouth shape, manage to balance variety alongside cohesion, avoids homogeneity, and leverages a current aesthetic style closely associated with technology and innovation.
The rendering is on-trend but well-done, interesting to look at and presumably a fair likeness of those these look to represent. The facial hair, eyewear and expressions are particularly well-treated details. The consistent nose is perhaps a little odd, and the circular eyes absent expression but these, to some degree, anchors each with a clear and consistent foundation from which to add detail.
The “iconographic tattoos”, created to represent the who, what and where of Redscouts, fit neatly and consistenly across the chest, rendered with the same monolinear style. These are diverse in their themes, some rendered more effectively than others but presumably with the intention of providing a starting point for conversation – one that perhaps will foster a more personal relationships both internally and externally.
Distilling personalities down into simple icons is perhaps a little material, and is careful to avoid the more substantial such as politics, however, there is a good blend of cultural iconography, geographical inference, pets, food and sport, as well as the more unusual – look out for the wormhole icon. Where the monolinear illustrative approach continues its broad adoption, this project benefits from an ambition and variation, and a clear communicative intention.
With such a diverse illustrative approach it is unsurprising to see a fairly straightforward logotype. The R’s customisation, set alongside some fairly conventional uppercase sans-serif letterforms, is a small flourish that is picked out as a simple symbol. The logotype’s monolinear qualities sit well within the context of the iconography. It might have been nice to see the illustrations make their way onto social media as avatars, perhaps changing depending on who, at the time was managing each account, however, the business cards are a great start, as is the landing page of Redscouts website, with plenty of room for further creative implementation.
Opinion: Richard Baird