Seven gets a new look:
Creative Director Michael Booth salutes all things yellow and black – the inspiration behind Seven's new branding
It's all change for Seven this year. We've got a new home (the former home of The Observer in Clerkenwell), a new name (from Seven Squared to Seven), and a new look (more of which later). As Creative Director, it has been my job to channel all this newness and energy into a visual identity which makes Seven stand out and reflects our agency's distinctive personality.
There were an unlimited number of ways I could interpret the brand but, being a simple soul, I started with the basics. I was intrigued by the possibilities of representing it with an idea rather than with a word or number.
Seven is a feel-good number so, instead of a name, perhaps the company could be represented by a group of seven things that reflected particular parts of the business? Seven slices of cake for Sainsbury's; seven football boots for Club Wembley; seven Islington liberals for the Guardian. Can you tell I live south of the river?
That idea was quickly rejected as lunacy by Content Director Nic McCarthy, so I boiled it down to its most basic graphic form: seven bars that constantly evolve to form a framework for conveying information.
As a creative agency we work by communicating visually and through words. This logo combines both elements by having a visual structure that can be used flexibly to relay information: an address, a collection of images, seven great ideas for a pitch, and so on.
And why yellow and black? It's a classic but underappreciated combination that harks back to one of the fundamental elements of graphic design: CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow and black), the four colours that are used to make all printed material. I've always been fascinated by the contrast of such a vivid, bright colour with its total opposite.
In a magazine-style homage to our company colour-way, here are my seven favourite yellow-and-black beauties.
Hazard SymbolsBeing very old, I love logotypes from the 1950s and 1960s. Developed by various standards organisations, the family of hazard warning symbols are a brilliant example of pure information design.
Factory RecordsThis leads us nicely on to Peter Saville, one of my favourite designers, who did some amazing work for Factory Records in the 1970s and 1980s. This was his first poster for a Factory club night that would lead on to them launching the Hacienda. Madchester rave on, etc.
Penguin BooksAbsolutely amazing graphic design – brilliantly simple yet so clever they still look groundbreaking today. Constantly inspirational and constantly ripped off, mostly by me. The orange ones are the best, though.
The Velvet Underground and NicoOne of my favourite album covers. On early versions the banana was a peel-off sticker that revealed a strange pink fruit underneath. I like bananas.
SelfridgesThe second best shop in Birmingham. The amazing architecture was inspired by the naturally occuring colour scheme of the wrought metal and glass used in the lifts at the flagship London store.
Batman logoI really like how some of the most impressive and classic examples of graphic design grow out of random, unsophisticated sources. Batman's bat symbol came from a time almost before graphic design and was crudely drawn as simple decoration. It now represents a global cultural icon and a billion-dollar industry.
BeesBecause I've got a cute picture of my daughter dressed as one.