Ilior is Greece’s first major co-living scheme, formed in 2018 by Daniel Lyssy with the aim of creating exceptional spaces for young and creative professionals who work from home. Having already launched Ilior One in the centre of Athens, Ilior is in the process of building an ambitious network of plug-and-play spaces and buildings across the nation that will radically transform the way Greeks live.
London-based art director and academic Nikos Georgopoulos, best known for his ‘Time travel branding’ trilogy, was given the creative freedom to brand the scheme. Similarly to other Mediterranean South European capitals, Athens is not very familiar with the concept of co-living. On that basis, Nikos decided to change the subject completely and position Ilior as an imaginary country.
Inspired by the notion that ‘our house is our castle’, the designer developed an overarching modular and flexible identity system that draws upon the idea of a ‘special place’. Central to the identity is a responsive brandmark that references the concept of a flag; a flag of an imaginary country where people can dream freely, work collaboratively; debate fruitfully and develop. By drawing upon the flexible architecture of Ilior spaces, the brandmark expands and contracts across different formats, when required. The colour palette embraces bright pop colours that no country in the world would ever use for its national flag. This country is entirely imaginary. That is its strength. Welcome to the land of the dreamers.
In July 1969, thousands of Athenians watched the first moon landing because the Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation (ERT) organised a pan Athenian live transmission. In April 1974, Greece competed in the Eurovision Song Contest for the first time with Marinella’s song ‘Wine, sea and my boyfriend’ following ERT’s submission.
In 2019, following a new programming strategy and change of direction, ERT was looking at relaunching its visual identity across all its brands with a view to revitalising its reputation amid growing competition from the country’s commercial networks. As such, the objective was to create a modern and dynamic visual identity aiming at positioning the Broadcaster as a forward-thinking, exciting and diverse brand while also reflecting its rich heritage and new dynamic role that it seeks to play nationally and internationally.
What we realised was that ERT’s brand was inextricably linked to extraordinary accomplishments that every Greek should be proud of. Yet, not many people were aware of these accomplishments. Our strategic ambition was to position the new brand where it belonged – in our hearts. By focusing on the idea that ERT ‘was always here’, we pitched to create the new brand identity, station idents and advertising, proposing a solution that draws upon ERT’s hidden archives. The new logo and colour palette is a contemporary interpretation of ERT’s original branding from the 70s while we introduced an accent on the ‘E’ suggesting that the logo is not initials but a solid brand. The station idents for each channel is a collage of new footage and archival material, illustrating the notion that the brand’s rich heritage is in constant interaction with contemporary culture.
In the early 50s, after two world wars and one civil war, the Greek state was effectively bankrupt. On that basis, the Greek government decided to initiate the ambitious Xenia project; a nationwide hotel construction programme aimed at creating accommodation infrastructure for the development of a tourist industry to contribute in rebooting the economy. Throughout the 1960’s and 70’s the 59 Xenia Hotels that were built thrived financially. Although widely celebrated for their glorious post-war modernist architecture, they however never had a consistent visual identity. By the 1990’s after decades of mismanagement, the Xenia project became inextricably linked to the Greek financial meltdown and fell into administration.
By blurring the boundaries between tourism, graphics, and fiction, ‘The fictitious visual identity programme of Xenia Hotels’ is a concept project within which we travelled back in time to create the visual identity of the once glorious, now abandoned Xenia Hotels in Greece. In collaboration with photographer Polly Brown, we created an ambitious image series presenting the imagined brand identity within a past that never happened. In this past, the Xenia hotels flourished; the de-industrialisation of Greece did not happen in the 70s; by the mid-80s the famous Omonia square in Athens was not reduced into a concrete platform and after 2011, 400.000 Greeks never left the country because there was no crisis to escape from. An alternative past has the opportunity to become a brilliant future. Fictitious but brilliant.
‘The fictitious visual identity programme of Xenia Hotels’ is the first instalment of Time travel branding; a trilogy of concept projects advocating design as a form of speculative research and presented as a series of talks across Europe and the US.
Dove Rooms is a small multi-purpose community space for the residents of Dover Court Estate, designed and built as part of the London Borough of Islington’s estate-wide regeneration programme, creating new homes on council-owned land.
The idea behind Dove Rooms is that residents can self-manage the space, without direct involvement from the council, which will encourage different uses and activities in the space. We were commissioned to develop a modern and engaging overarching brand identity and signage system inspired by this idea. Our response was to develop a flexible identity to accommodate the multi-purpose nature of Dove Rooms. Central to the identity is a custom alphabet that draws upon the aesthetic of DIY lettering often associated with self-governed, autonomous spaces. By combining the letters ‘D’ and ‘R’, we created an accompanying monogram, which develops further into an abstract pattern, employed for manifestations and complimentary visual signs.
We were asked by the London Borough of Redbridge to create an overarching engagement communications strategy for two residential developments – Loxford Lane and Seven Kings. Though the sites are linked and were to be promoted with the same look and feel, each has its own vision and typology. The challenge of the brief was therefore to reflect the bespoke architectural response on each site, and at the same time tie them together graphically.
Redbridge, named after a red brick bridge which crossed the River Roding and was demolished in 1922, inspired the concept of a bridge between words and shapes. We created a font constructed with references to the bridge shape and used this to brand the developments. Each site then had its own separate graphic system while sharing an overarching creative idea.
Initially a communications strategy including a logo, flyers and consultation boards, the project developed to include a comprehensive place brand and advertising campaign of Redbridge.
‘Nikos Georgopoulos adopts a ‘back-to-basics’ mindset with his unusual identity for Wallis Road’. -The Brand Identity, 2021
Located in the heart of Hackney Wick, London’s industrial district turned cultural and creative hub, 115-119 Wallis Road is a property development and regeneration project consisting of affordable workspaces, retail and apartment buildings proposed and designed by London-based architecture firm Pollard Thomas Edwards. Facing the challenge of convincing the sceptical local community of the project’s necessity, as well as raising awareness of its regenerative aspirations, we were commissioned to devise its visual identity, strategy and communications.
Inspired by Hackney Wick’s transition from industry to creativity, we decided to establish the regeneration of 115-119 Wallis Road as a ‘cultural moment,’ instead of just another new development. Intentionally avoiding any of the slickness typical to new developments, our solution instead builds upon Hackney Wick’s plethora of music festival posters and their bold repetition of colour. An aesthetic decision made with the desire to first and foremost resonate with the sceptical local community. People perceive regeneration projects as the beginning of social cleansing and gentrification of their area. So having something slick, that you’d expect to see in South Kensington, for example, would probably signal the wrong message.
The resulting identity system revolves around purposely straightforward and lo-fi elements; those primarily being horizontal stripes in an unusual combination of brown and blue, and a pairing of two classic typefaces, uppercase Helvetica supported by Avenir. Recreating a “kind of music festival excitement,” where not worrying too much about legibility, was all part of the plan.
We have been working with Countryside Properties and Newlon on the regeneration of the 1960s Alma Estate in Ponders End, Enfield. The new masterplan creates nearly 1,000 new homes, with new community facilities, reintegrating the estate with the surrounding neighbourhood.
The primary route through Alma is a key access point into the Nature Reserve, a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest due to the bird populations supported by the reservoirs. The majority of new homes in Phase 1 will overlook the Nature Reserve, which is reflected in the masterplan, landscaping and design of individual buildings. Many of the building in the local area are also named after birds, including the tower blocks on the existing Alma Estate (Kestrel, Curlew, Cormorant & Merlin House). The new visual identity is intentionally restrained and celebrates this local tradition and the open public space fit for a thriving community.
At the core of the identity is a custom typeface, designed to reference the physiological structure of birds’ feet. The colour and material palette pay tribute to the texture and natural tones of the Portland stone and steel of the physical site, conveying a sense of timeless elegance and permanence.
Once an industrial hub and the home to the Kodak Factory for 125 years, the area is in the middle of a massive regeneration project in that will open Harrow View up to the public and create a new home for the creative community as well as restaurants, homes, offices and shops. Named after George Eastman, the co-founder of Kodak in 1888, Eastman Village is a vibrant new residential quarter located in the heart of Harrow.
We delved into Harrow’s and Kodak’s industrial past to create a new identity, marketing material as well as a wayfinding strategy for this new exciting area. The new place brand is anchored around a custom brandmark which references the original alignment guides on Kodak’s 35mm filmstrips. This project is still in progress.
Leon of Athens is a Greek-born indie pop star who is now based in London. His new album, entitled ‘Xenos’ (foreigner) features 11 songs echoing the feeling of being a foreigner, a stranger to a new country as well as to yourself. This eclectic spirit was important to convey visually in the artwork, as well as portraying a strong sense of the artist’s personality. The fragmented nature of the market makes it essential the concept engages across wide variety of formats – print to digital – to create an integrated release and a holistic visual universe. Our solution takes its inspiration from Skype and long distance relationships and references the need for communication with our external as well as our internal worlds. The album packaging consists of a sleeve with a cut-out set of multiple Skype windows through which one can see the inner cover of the cd-case with the artist’s face and another Skype window, which shows a cut-out part of the same face.
Ahead of Leon of Athens’ album release, we also designed a three-single promotional campaign and a website in order to set the conceptual and visual tone, teasing each single through a Skype window.