• Graphic design
  • Gorky Central Park
  • Visual Identity   Outdoor Advertisement  

    The making of the Gorky Park visual identity

    Overview   Process  

    Maxim Gorky’s (the gentleman responsible for the park’s name) rich mustache, naturally, is the first inspiration.

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    Ok, we’re over it now, moving on to explore other ideas. It’s pretty soon that no one will remember what the guy looked like anyway.


    Everyone’s talking about the park:

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    Just couldn’t pass on foliage:

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    Producing more concepts: geometrical diversity, leaves, footsteps, balloons, birds, signs, trees:

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    More trees, a city sign, and the change of seasons:

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    Selecting five concepts to present to the customer.

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    Customer: It won’t work. The park is much more than just a place for a stroll.

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    Customer: Too hipsterish. Our park is for those little old ladies and gents as well. It’s a no.




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    Customer: We’ve already got some speech bubbles as a part of the park’s design, it’s quite enough.




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    Customer: This would be a wonderful logo for a park with rides, except we’ve dumped all ours.




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    Customer: Tree-based logos belong to too many parks.

    Generating another load of ideas. A girl with a paddle, with a tree, even with a paddle-tree. Leaf-letters is another promising option which made it to a client’s presentation.

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    The customer rejects this design and it goes to the studio’s archives.

    Needing a total reload. Searching for new, more solid concepts.

    For instance, how about the park as a green spot on the city’s map? Minimalistic and stylish.

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    Or, say, an exclusively text logo and visual identity with pictograms sneaking in among the letters?

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    Marrying the two together:

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    Following up a conference with the customer, selecting a text-only version and typography.

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    Making our choice of a signature typeface. The requirements include: simplicity, legibility, and ability to alter the characters omitting a need to approve every tiny change with the typeface creator. The studio’s Direct fits the bill beautifully.

    Starting with a logo, drawing Antiqua version:

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    Placing a bird (later on, the eye will get rid of a light reflection):

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    Gorky Park is also known as Central Park. To better blend the bird in, modifying other characters.

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    No, we don’t like it. Reworking and presenting to the client.

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    The customer insists the feet have to go. Lobbying in support of the feet. Doesn’t work. Removing per client’s request.

    Preparing a collection of logos of different sizes.

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    Assembling a set of logos for every occasion.

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    Entering the most complex and exciting phase.

    The next task is to incorporate simple objects—a bird, tulip, legs, etc.—into letters and it calls for a surgical precision to keep characters from looking handicapped. There’s a certain list of 127 phrases, each of them will appear throughout the park and needs a metaphor of its own.

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    Antiqua type was easier to tinker with thanks to its serifs willingly hiding any elements for the pekaboo effect. But we like the challenge.

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    All characters impregnated with images absolutely must have the same visual density as the rest of the bunch. Testing it on a page:

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    All letters need to get correct weight, drop off any unnecessary detail and childishness. We’re after a truly fine optical illusion, subtle, tricky, and requiring some time to figure it out.

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    Bend the letters more towards pictograms for an overall dry and official look.

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    Treating every character this way. Making numerous micro modifications to each to visually compensate a letter’s weight and shape.

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    Thinking on business cards.

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    Visual identity manual rejects.

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    More corrections.

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    Meanwhile, a photographer capturing the park’s beauty.

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