We Are Playgrounds
After Covid forced them to go virtual two years in a row, We Are Playgrounds wanted the inaugural in-person launch of The Art Department Festival to open with a bang and a brand new visual identity to celebrate the return to IRL.
As an event that draws creatives from the world of concept art and design from a host of different media (film, animations, games, etc) they wanted to develop an identity and flexible design toolkit to encapsulate all of these different disciplines in The Art Department Festival’s visuals.
That meant designing everything from the opening titles to onsite signage, environmental graphics, lanyards, the web and social assets — the whole kit and caboodle.
Drawing on inspiration from the festival’s range of artistic styles and disciplines (game art, VFX, and picture books, to name only a few) — we developed a comprehensive system that would connect with the audience of diverse creatives.
Creative challenges are project specific, but our creative process, in the abstract, adheres to this loose framework of first principles:
-Think & Wonder
-Play & Explore
-Make & Make Better
These principles apply to an overall approach as well as specific tasks like character design.
First, we think about an idea and wonder what it could be. The idea is soft and floating in the ether. If we hold onto it long enough in our mind’s eye it becomes tactile and something we can play with. Turn it on its head. Make it green. Poke and prod and explore what it can do.
Once we begin to get answers to these basic questions we are ready to start making — working on details — refining, and making it better.
Design System Inspo
We approached this almost as an Art School project: everyone had a seat at the table and could explore and express what the three principles looked like and meant to them through design and exploration.
A lot of the designs we were exploring at the time were done by 2D designers and illustrators so their association with the Play & Explore principle was rooted in pencils, paper, paint, and sketches.
Antfood all the Way
Our pals at Antfood are geeky, hands-on collaborators who, like us, are willing to test, try, scrap, and experiment throughout the process. They approached the audio task exactly how we approached the visuals, by making sure each scene felt like a surprising new space, and every transition was treated as a creative process unto itself.
Sound is integral to every project we work on, and we wanted our frequent collaborators at Antfood to enjoy it and tell the story of their process in their own way.
Executive Creative Director
2D Animation/After Effects
Music & Sound Design
Lead Composer & Sound Designer
Charley van Veldhoven
Composer & Sound Designer