Mason Weis

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Weekly Inspiration - 8 (Mural Arts Philadelphia Identity)

So… I’m a post short this week. Sorry about that. But I promise I won’t leave you all without a weekly inspiration post. Gotta make sure you get your Friday fix of design inspiration, am I right?

This week, we’re going to look at something I actually found on UnderConsideration's “Brand New.” If you’ve never visited and you’re at all interested in logos and brand design, I highly highly encourage you to check it out. It’s a phenomenal site that can help you stay up to date on design trends (especially those that are related to branding).

Now, with all that said… I didn’t read their article at all. I scrolled through and simply looked at all of the pictures that were posted. I want to do my best to make my own observations and opinions without any external input when I write these articles. Without any further ado, let’s dive in. 

Take a look.

Take a look.

The logo/brand identity was done by the Philadelphia-based design firm J2 Design for the public art program Mural Art Philadelphia. Looking at the logo itself, I see two reasons why the logo is successful. We’ll start with the first reason.

I’ve heard brand design referred to as the “poetry” of graphic design a few times. Essentially, logos should leave an indirect impression on a viewer (some logos might strike a viewer as young and fresh while others might look more corporate and so on). I believe this logo supports that notion 100%.

Because they were designing for a public art program, I’m sure J2 Design had to take on the challenge of expressing the artistic mindset in a instantly recognizable symbol. I believe that the shape they came up with works because its somewhat freeform. While it’s got the “perfect geometry” most logos strive for nowadays, in that perfect geometry, there’s still an air of playfulness that art programs such as Mural Art Philadelphia probably want to cultivate and have associated with their brand. In my opinion, the first reason the logo is successful is because the symbolism is on point. 

The second reason its successful should be immediately clear to any designer.

It’s simple. 

This stylization of the letter “M” can be drawn by anyone. After all, it’s only a zig-zag shape. This makes it distinct and clear. Perfect for a logo.

This simplicity extends to the success of the brand system as well. When looking at the rest of the materials, you can see that there are some permutations of the logo itself. Because the initial shape is so simple, there is a vast amount of flexibility that can be applied to it. 

Gotta love the variations here.

Gotta love the variations here.

And  the variations here!

And the variations here!

The last aspect of the brand I’d like to touch on is the use of color. The bright, yet soft, pastel-like colors make the materials associated with client's brand eye-catching and easily identifiable. Additionally, the wide variation in color means that the identity works well with a variety of different materials. Murals can be a number of colors. If Mural Arts Philadelphia wanted to put their logo on a photograph of a mural, they might run into trouble if the colors clashed or blended together too well.

Just how I like my designs... Bright and colorful.

Just how I like my designs... Bright and colorful.

The variety in color is  definitely  a good thing.

The variety in color is definitely a good thing.

From the simplicity of the logo, to the flexibility of the brand, to the great use of color, J2 Design hit a home run with this one, in my opinion. I’d be interested to hear anyone else’s thoughts as well! As always, I hope this piece was inspiring to you.

Until next time!

Mason Weis