At GDFS 2016, we invited Glasgow-based design agency O Street to run a workshop which offered insight into their branding process in light of the recent rebrand of their studio. Their inspiring rebrand focused on their inherent street positioning and the hands-on approach they take as a studio. The fresh O Street identity involved developing a font from hand-painted lettering on the streets (roadlining) and a short film, Roadliners, which was produced in partnership with Pretend Lovers, all of which you can see here
We speak to O Street's Tessa Simpson to find out more about what their workshop involved on the day. Words by Tessa Simpson: "We ran a workshop on the process of branding as part of the GDFS festival this year. We took our own practise for developing a brand system and worked through our three step process—dream, think, do—condensed into one day. With such a short amount of time to work with, we wanted to use the time to encourage the participants to expand their usual range of thinking and to move them away from their preconceptions of 'branding'. We wanted them to shake up how they would usually approach a branding project and perhaps come away with a new perspective. With this in mind we kept the briefs we introduced very loose and wanted to use them more as a starting point for interrogating the over all process of creating a brand, rather than getting bogged down in specifics. We wanted them to realise that the very idea of what makes a brand is in flux. A modern brand is more than a pretty logo sitting alongside nice type.
At first, there was definitely some resistance to our open approach to the workshop! There were certainly some people who expected to be sat down and taught how to use illustrator to make a logo, with a clear brief and us as the clients. But really that was the opposite of the experience we wanted to provide. Although shaking up the status quo and expectations of the participants was challenging at first, it was rewarding and fun to see them work past it and end up coming away with engaging ideas and stronger processes.
It was interesting to see like-minded participants gathering together and in the end we had one large group that really tackled the workshop well and came up with some great ideas together, but we also had smaller teams and individuals doing equally as well in a different setting. It was great to see that variety and not something we initially expected. Also it was great to see everyone really embrace the approach we initiated and get stuck into using a new kind of process for their projects almost immediately – once they really did come to terms that they weren't getting a three page brief!
It was a great experience! Everyone seemed to come away with different things, some more inclined to specific details that they had resolved with a new look at things, others with a more overall view of a branding process and others seemed to gain insight from our open question and answer session that was geared towards gaining experiences from working professionally in the industry.
O Street are graphic designers. They currently have studios in Glasgow and London, and work with clients all over the world. They balance the highest aesthetic standards with a depth of intelligence to bring both beauty and effectiveness to the work they create.
ostreet.co.uk Photographs: stephen-hughes.com