New Marketing campaign for Self, Made by Collins — BP&O
Statement by Richard Baird.
The Exploratorium is a "public learning laboratory" and a museum in San Francisco, where visitors can question and understand the world around them through practical exhibits that touch science, art and human perception. The exhibition Self, Made in the summer of 2019 continues in the spirit of exploration, but turns inward and deals with the topic of human identity. This was done by a large number of external employees to curate exhibits, artifacts and works of art with the intention of “changing the inherent views of visitors of themselves”. As part of an ongoing partnership with the Exploratorium, the brand experience design company Collins created an launch campaign for the exhibition. This campaign features a wide use of colors, textures and images to create a series of portraits, a graphic gesture intended to express the complex confluence of invisible forces that come together to form a self. These portraits stretch across posters, transporting paintings, banners and super graphics through the exhibition space and onto the streets of San Francisco. This was part of a three-month in-person and online campaign, which was then integrated into the areas of finding your way, merchandising and giveaways.
Self, Made encouraged visitors to question the notion of identity as a private fortress. A construct in which we metaphorically put brick on brick all our lives. The exhibition also created a variety of installations that exposed challenging questions about identity and developed curiosity that went beyond the exhibition. The idea that people's faces can tell stories is interpreted very literally. In collaboration with the Exploratorium team, Collins developed a series of persona collages from the “mashup” of experiences, emotions, environments and genealogy, which were assembled using the fabric of cultural influences, natural phenomena and abstraction. These visualize how identity is an evolving tapestry and a variety of subjective experiences, and encourage the viewer to "go beyond the superficial level of appearance and explore the depths of personality and disposition".
The work programs (in a series of identifiable gestures (persona collages) across multiple surfaces) the complexity of individuality. These are provocations to find out more instead of revealing any specific statements. This is achieved through the use of colors, shapes and images, as well as through the interactions and contrasts that they create within the unified framework of a recognizable human face. Of course there are difficulties in capturing the nuances of diversity. Body characteristics and both abstract and specific images convey differences in a coherent way. These are striking and artistic. There are cases where the imagery is more about the convenience of aesthetics, things like leaves like beard and waves like hair – perhaps a connection with a certain past, activity or moment – that serve the larger subject and Offer room for interpretation and a certain degree of projection.
The portraits are framed by a very current typographic layout along and around the top and right side. This serves as a secondary graphics device alongside the color beyond the portraits that are only occasionally played as a type. In a way, the expectation in the event of the occasional lack of text (see above) or due to the nature of the questions asked to passers-by can be an exhibition of the portraits themselves. In any case, there is something powerful about the face that captivates you. The use of different expressions, face types, colors and images is good for being considerate and for pointing out the identity, but also, if it works for itself, something bright and cheerful visual language on the streets of the city. Other works by Collins on BP & O.
Design: Collins. Opinion: Richard Baird.
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