The Only Constant is Change

I recently completed an identity program for the Library Foundation of Los Angeles. I typically don’t use the Cabin to show my work, but this time I had a reason. The LFLA identity is a perfect example of the nature of flexible I.D. It has 8 possible typeface options, and 8 possible color options. The user can combine any of the two, resulting in a whopping 64 possible combinations. This conceptually links to LFLA’s commitment to be not about one idea only, but the widest range of voices, concepts, and information.

Twenty years ago, a logo was required to be one single design, with a fixed state of being. This still works, but people view brands in a different way. Perhaps it was the complete overload of logos by the end of the twentieth-century. Or, the viewer is able to process multiple ideas simultaneously (think about the complexity of a CNN screen). I’ve found that people under thirty are especially “logo promiscuous.” A logo can change color, form, and location. If one element is proprietary, which today is typically, the name, multiple versions work fine as identifiers.

So the issue then becomes not about pure identification with a neutral tone, but the integration of a mark into a complex system. I often talk about quantum physics in presentations. This bores everyone to no end. But, I look at communication today as an ever-changing set of parameters existing in a constant state of flux. At the same time, the communications must talk to several audiences in multiple ways about different ideas. A flexible identity system allows for a wider range of communicative strategies.

This all makes me wish for the days of hard-core old school corporate identity. Paul Rand designed the abc logo, told them it was black and not to mess with it. Easy as pie, but to add another simile, the reed that cannot bend will break.

The dog will have its day

While I may seem incredibly confident, some may even say smug, I’m always worried about the content of my presentations. Too much eye candy, and the audience is angry they didn’t learn anything. Too little, and the audience is angry and bored. Last Thursday, I spoke at Julia Rheinhard Lupton’s Design Fictions Conference at University of California, Irvine. Julia is Ellen Lupton’s twin sister. This made me feel I felt as though I’d known her for years, and probably scared her as I was a little too friendly. Added to this was the terror of speaking with two noted and smart architectural critics, Geoff Manaugh and Charlie Hailey. The audience, primarily humanities students, was also smart and literate. And I only had my dancing poodle show. Nobody threw anything at me, so I guess it was okay, and the crowd loved the tutu and flaming hoops with Fifi the Wonder Poodle.

While it may seem that life at AdamsMorioka is a full-time exercise is popular culture, bright colors, and endless hilarity, it’s not. Sometimes we even read a book. One of my favorite projects right now is an identity and cross-media system for the Library Foundation of Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Public Library is such a remarkable resource, and the Foundation is committed to creating something innovative and remarkable. I can’t show the identity yet; it’s still in process. But, I can show a little preview with a little 5"x7", 16-page booklet that served as an invitation to the Annual Gala. More to come as we proceed.