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A Visual Identity is not just about aesthetics and appearance. It’s about communicating brand ethos with flair, and Design Stack does just that for upGrad.

Brief / Challenge

upGrad is an online higher education platform. It provides university education online for working professionals, especially those who are looking for a change mid-career. The e-learning platform vouches for its quality education through partnerships with renowned universities and brands. Hence, the brand positioning and identity needed to reflect a professional and premium tone that is in line with the brand offering.

Solution

Design Stack redesigned the visual identity to help translate the vision of upGrad to the branding. The requirement was to bring forth the idea of professionalism, career upliftment and a supportive and conducive environment through visual cues.

 

For this Design Stack uses curved lowercase letters teamed with an uppercase ‘G’ to convey professionalism and approachability. The up-pointing arrow in the watermark perfectly communicates how the brand empowers learners to correct their career courses. The arrow also gives a sense of positivity and optimism.

 

The striking red colour signifies the burning passion to make a positive change in life.

All the elements used in the visual identity come together to represent professionalism, warmth, positivity, passion and a promise.

Design Stack

A well-established branding and design studio based out of Mumbai specialises in creating relevant brand identity and communication through structured research, rigorous brainstorming and in-depth understanding of the brand consumers. Design Stack has worked with a wide range of industry verticals which include brands like TATA, Penguin Publishing, Cox & Kings, Asian Paints and more. The studio has also received numerous prestigious awards.

For more, visit designstack.com

CURRENT ISSUE
Creative Gaga - Issue 48

 

A few of 2018’s still making it big and some new additions to the list, the trending trends of 2019 predicted by designers from different fields are put together here just for you.

It is said that change is the only constant and with each passing year graphic design trends prove this right. Be it packaging and illustrating for products or a promotional campaign for a brand, the design trends influencing each field have become a must-know today.

 

Will the previous years’ trends will be an influence on the upcoming years’ trends or will the two be complete opposites?

To get an answer, we have creatives from different sectors of the design industry enlightening us about the graphic design trends of 2018 and putting forth their predictions for 2019’s trends.

Job

Anthony Lopez
Award-winning designer, Anthony Lopez is the founder of Lopez Design.

Mira Malhotra

Mira Malhotra
A graphic designer, visual artist and the founder of Studio Kohl.

Design Stack

Design Stack
A Branding & Design firm that builds, strengthens and nurtures brands.

Sonia Tiwari
Pursuing a PhD in Learning Design and Technology from Penn State University.

Aaron Pinto

Aaron Pinto
Commonly known as Kidsquidy, is not only a graphic designer and illustrator but also the drummer for two Mumbai based metal bands, Providence and Gutslit.

WowMakers

WowMakers
A digital experience studio that provides from animated explainer videos, branding, documentaries and corporate video production to UI/UX design.

Anix

Anix
Anix has twelve years of experience in the world of graphics. He has worked with brands in India and abroad. He is creative director at Adaar.

To get a fair idea about what design will look like in the 19th year of the 21st century, read through!

BRANDING TRENDS

2018 Highlights

Brands are switching over to the social and digital media by cutting through the traditional medium of print to be used as their promotional and communication strategies.

According to Inderpreet Singh Seehra from Design Stack2018 saw simplification, strong colours and symbols that stood out in digital mediums as the key features for major branding projects. The brand identity of SBI (a complete case study here) created by them is an example.

SBI-Rebranding
New-Logo

The use of gradients, motion design and experimental typefaces was a ubiquity of 2018. The Identity for Fakultet for kunst, musikkog design, UiB, by Uniform, as a dynamic brand in motion; and Baboon by Sagmeister and Walsh, for its approach to colour and its humour logotypes showed the brands walking towards a more dynamic approach to differentiate themselves from the competition, says Mira Malhotra, the founder of Studio Kohl.

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Brand Identity for Baboon
Design

Not all changes are on the positive side. She has brought forth a noticeable change in the fashion industry to go for lifeless, characterless logotypes in the name of minimalism. Burberry was probably the most disappointing of them all.

This was a gist of 2018. It’s now time to leave the past behind and peep into the future and see what is going to be trending this year.

1. Ownership to Users and Personalisation

According to Anthony Lopez, branding systems are becoming very fluid and are designed to go beyond the logo. Branding has to be ambidextrous and the identity has to be able to adapt itself in multiple ways for different situations.

An example of the Partners’ Forum 2018, which was held in New Delhi. The identity takes on varied forms, manifesting in appropriate ways across collaterals. Further, we take the branding forward through products that reflect the identity, making it memorable for the future. The mission of the Forum stays with its participants, for a long time after.

Design

(The 3D Pipli logo animation was created by Studio Eeksaurus who collaborated with Lopez Design, celebrating the message of the Partners’ Forum.)

Talking of personalisation, brands will be seen as containers – people can put in what they want to express themselves through the brand. Eventually, the brand starts to become an extension of an individual.

Also, Anthony mentions that putting design in the hands of the customer and encouraging them to take ownership has led to people creating their own graphics besides photographs. For example, on Instagram, the user can add many icons and can also have a poll. Others provide stickers with a product to place it on anything the user wishes to put on.

Design

Design Stack highlights that people always relate to design or products that invoke positive feelings in them. For instance, a fortune cookie or a name on the bottle of coke is quite relatable to a consumer. Customising the logo with the name may or may not trend in 2019, but customising the logo with quotes, jokes, city names or graphic elements that people can relate to will continue to be used for a long time by designers.

2. Less is More 

The ‘less is more’ ideology has always been the underlying principle of design and will continue to play a vital role in the future too, says Design Stack. For an increased response on social networks and effective and aesthetical communication, brands will make use of simpler forms, clean shapes, bold colours, motion graphics and videos.

Not wanting to add unnecessary frills and fancies in a logotype has been an upward trend since Turner and Duckworth’s famous stripping down of the Coca Cola brand, says Mira Malhotra. Following the trend of less is more, there’s a chance one can go too far, cut out all frills and have a logo in a banal, forgettable neutral typeface, resulting in a sameness across brands and their identities.

 

But she’s also of the opinion that the trend of less is more can also work wonders for a brand’s visual identity differentiating it from the rest, if worked on smartly! Animated logotypes will be a resort for many.

According to Anthony Lopez, graphics is only one component of branding. The brands of the future need to be flexible across all aspects, influencing a user’s experience by drawing their attention to the brand’s character, behaviour, a tone of voice, influencers, associations and endorsements. Graphics, in such cases, is the mechanics used with adherence to the framework of the brand guidelines. When all this is done with precision, the concept of conveying ‘more with less’ becomes a possibility.

 

Motion graphics including multi-dimensional graphics will definitely become a lot more common in the future.

3. Typeface Experimenting – going back to the roots

Anthony Lopez voices the fact that a large part of branding is about strategy and delivery of content through various means, and typefaces are just one part of this contributing to the visual medium. For multi-device existence the typeface design will include the factor of scale-ability and the flexibility of the digital medium, in particular, will allow for easy and varied versions of the designed font including features like effects to type, highlighting, shading, colour options and animation.

According to Mira Malhotra, going beyond designing the logo for the brand and experimenting with typefaces to grant a uniqueness to the brand will be new in. With Google fonts and so many free quality typefaces infiltrating the mainstream, (when free, it becomes mainstream easily) people, especially clients will have a better taste in typefaces, hopefully implementing daring decisions by clients in terms of typefaces.

Design Stack points out that 2019 will be the year where the designers will want to strike a balance between the old and the new, recalling the importance of the roots and fusing them in with the trending styles. For this, the Indian type foundries are creating contemporary regional scripts which will play a big role in the coming age of Indian design. Versatile fonts that work well on both digital and traditional media will be sort after.

Bombay Brasserie - The Indian Culinary Expert
Design

4. Sophistication and Boldness

Design Stack predicts brands experimenting with logos and colour schemes. A bold yet sophisticated palette is what is intended as the yielded result.

Design

Mira Malhotra also foresees boldness in the upcoming year. Whether its bright colours, pastel neutrals, or just black and white, anything that stands out bold will make it to the brand collaterals across various mediums.

Anthony Lopez sees 2019 as a year of logos becoming more and more fluid, vibrant and versatile. Brands may launch sub-brands, but the prime brand logo is what will go across the face of the brand. Logos inherently need to be simple for high recall. However, within the face of the logo, more permutations and combinations will be observed. This allows the brand to cater to varying clientele and different platforms.

ANIMATION AND MOTION GRAPHICS

Highlights of 2018

Anix, the creative director of Adaar mentions that 2018 was a phenomenal year for animation and motion graphics witnessing trends like seamless transitions, liquid motion, digital-surrealism, isometric design, a combination of 2D and 3D, big, bold typography complicated visual effects, 3D pastels and photorealistic rendering to name a few.

Design
Design

2018 saw a refreshing visual representation of strong female leads with powerful accessories and expertise in a specialisation (vs the stereotypical princess/Damsel in distress) like Mrs Incredible from Incredibles, Mai from Next Gen, She-Ra from Netflix’s reboot of the popular 80s cartoon, and Shank from Wreck-it Ralph 2, says Sonia Tiwari.

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Mrs. Incredible from Incredibles
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Mai from Next Gen
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She-Ra
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Shank from Wreck-it Ralph 2

Sonia also observed interactive animations, in general, becoming subtle in action, pastel colour blocked and with cleaner backgrounds, a trend that originated from the iconic game Monument Valley 1 in 2014 and Monument Valley 2 in 2017. She cites INTURN’s webpage as an example to follow.

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INTURN

WowMakers describe 2018 as a year of rapidness. Videos had fast cuts and rapid edits, bright pop colours, neon moods and colour gradients. Vertical viewing and videos for the same rose in prominence as mobile platforms recorded the most screen time. An ‘In Your Face’ attitude permeated all forms of visual media far beyond animation and motion graphics, reeling the viewer in.

In an attempt to engage the viewers, the visual representation followed the ‘Bigger is Better’ or the ‘Go Big or Go Home’ philosophy. The text was bigger and bolder than ever, constantly changing and creating new text out of the shells of the old. 2018 saw the ‘Glitch effect’ gaining popularity. ‘Morphing’ that has been around for a while also topped the charts last year, creating magical illusions through seamless transitions.

Design

Anix explains that with media, connectivity and its scope of influence, availability and reachability, motion graphics is taking over the prevalence of still graphics. From commercials to product shots, marketing campaigns, sale presentations and game design, animated and motion graphics endow an astonishing display and communicate the product’s prowess in a way that would be impossible to communicate otherwise.

Samsung

Let’s take a look at what 2019 has in store:

1. Animating the Education

According to Sonia Tiwari, simple, iconic, vector-based motion graphics will overpower contemporary educational content, because of the large amount of content to be covered through the browser and mobile platforms that require optimised performance, seamless integration with Learning Management Systems (LMS) and keeping up with the refined design sensibilities of young millennials. A few good examples of this visual style and animation are Kurzgesat in a Nutshell series and Lumosity.

Design

2. Purpose Over Design

For Sonia Tiwari, the UX is like our brain or heart, built on the logic and feelings, and the UI is the face or skin, the outer layer that connects the user to the inner workings of a product. This distinction is important to understand that the trendy-animation and visual design must not be shallow or cosmetic, but really try to serve a purpose.

For example, a medical application that can use interactive animation to locate/define a problem through an interface – sounds useful. But interactive animations over a wireless setup app with buttons that liquid morph into new shapes sounds pointless.

 

WowMakers say that the shift from UI to UX is evident, and it is now time to cater to modern users with short attention spans and being bang on-point. ‘We don’t create a product and wait for customers to come. We create a product based on the customer’s wants and needs.’ Because not incorporating the market demand will result in a loss of clients.

For example, vertical videos have been the rage of late, and true to that, there has been an increase in requests for vertical videos or adaptable videos that could work well in both horizontal and vertical dimensions. Animation and motion graphics will have to adapt to multiple platforms without losing its core message.

3. VR & AR Carving Their Way

According to the team at WowMakers, animation and motion graphics in a VR and AR setting opens up a host of different possibilities and increases the scope for imaginative ideas that could work wonders on immersive platforms.

Design
Courtesy: Atlassian

As per Anix, the creative director of Adaar, the rise of Virtual Reality from being a gaming-focused ambitious fantasy in 2012 into an actual medium utilised by multi-national corporations and organisations around the world is in itself is a great example. Alternatively seen, purpose over design is now trending everywhere!

He also mentions that micro-interactions are subtle animations that enrich user experience and allow the user to engage with an interface in a single moment. Micro-interactions are possibly one of the biggest UX trends to date and are growing enormously. They are a focus point for the digi-sectors to up their game.

4. Fiction v/s Realism?

Fiction and Realism will both have their place in animated media, says Sonia Tiwari. The director’s vision, needs of the brand, likes of the audience, budget and timelines etc. will be the deciding factors for one of the two to surface at the top.

She has observed that the educational children’s media has had a very long history of fictional characters/plots to keep the narrative or moral of the story more relevant than realistic details of the characters like race, ethnicity, culture, religion etc. From Sesame Street to Curious George, fictional characters in children’s educational media are a “forever trend”.

 

While representing real issues like child labour, poverty and family health, she brings to notice that animated media uses some element of realism to keep the message focused or help establish a clear correlation with the narrative and content.

An example is Eeksaurus studio’s recent PSA for WHO that features Pipli art style human characters, which hits right in the middle of fiction and realistic spectrum, presenting real issues/human characters in a fantastical way.

The WowMakers’ team believes that with technology growing by leaps and bounds, magical realism can represent how technology interacts and changes human lives. At the same time, realism can be used to show the human face of technology.

5. Kinetic Typography

2019 will be a year enthralling the audience in a sober manner. WowMakers voice that the kinetics of type will be put in use, similar much to the process of animating characters or an object, like stretching, distorting, jumbling, twisting or making it disappear. Seamless transitions, much in fashion, will ensure a smooth video without jumpy transitions and cuts that can disorient the viewer.

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ILLUSTRATION TRENDS

With characters and entire backgrounds rendered by just a few lines and shapes, according to Aaron Pinto, Minimalism was one of the main themes for illustration in 2018. Also, the 90’s made a huge resurgence with retro, cyberpunk, glitch and neon colours being some of the mainstays of this style.

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Design
Design

The forecasted illustration styles surfacing 2019 will be following:

1. Raw and Unprocessed

These days the work shared online is very processed and digital, says Aaron Pinto. They are basically collages that are composited aesthetically for Instagram. But 2019 will see less processed and more organic designs being back in fashion. Hand-drawings and rough sketches are expected to take centre stage.

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2. God is in the Details

With a quantitative increase in the making of superhero movies and the release of a number of series, there has been a steady demand of comic book type illustrations. Also, detailed black and white inked illustrations are making a comeback. 2019 might just see it peak.

Design

3. Being the Attention-seeker

We live in a day and age, where there is an overload of content that is being consumed at an unprecedented pace.

 

To stand out from the crowd, a good visual is a great way of engaging or gaining the interest of the consumer while scrolling through the vast barrage of content being thrown at them. And more often than not a great illustration will do that job better than a photograph or even typography.

4. Complications Subjected to Simplifications

With monotones and monochromatic themes having showcased their presence in 2018, 2019 is sure to be a witness to these themes surfing the waves of illustration styles.

 

Aaron Pinto has mentioned that a lot of illustrators are trying to bring simplicity in their colour schemes as opposed to their normal saturated style.

Fluid shapes are catching on slowly. Geometric patterns and halftones seem like a good bet as well.

 

Also, simple seems to be a growing trend in general. So why not in illustrations!

Design
Illustration

Hope this article helped you to know and grab those key factors of graphic design that will be trending in 2019 to differentiate you from the rest.

CURRENT ISSUE
Creative Gaga - Issue 48

 

Design Stack owned by Anoop Patnaik and Priyanka Bhasin runs us through their approach, idea and process behind providing a concept-based branding solution to culinary experts, Bombay Brasserie.

Bombay Brasserie - The Indian Culinary Expert
Bombay Brasserie - The Indian Culinary Expert
Bombay Brasserie - The Indian Culinary Expert

Setting the Right Tone

Design Stack delivered a brand new visual concept infused with youth and energy for Bombay Brasserie, a restaurant that serves pan-Indian cuisine. While space is conceptually western, the food is distinctly pan-Indian, and the logo reflects the same. It initialises ‘Bombay Brasserie’, but with a twist, placing the Devanagri ‘Ba’ and its Roman counterpart side by side.

Bombay Brasserie - The Indian Culinary Expert
Bombay Brasserie - The Indian Culinary Expert
Bombay Brasserie - The Indian Culinary Expert

Creating a Connect

The personality of Bombay Brasserie is that of the intrepid traveller. The space graphics are thus multi-layered and diverse, taking you across India. Hints of geographical maps with coordinates trace the route from cuisine to cuisine. Regional recipes are personalised and rendered in water-colour, bringing them to life. The copy, in travelogue-style, celebrates each region’s culinary stereotypes, from the ‘Patiala Bar’ to the Red Hot Kerala Fish. The illustrations are a flavoured combination of ingredients, topography, and culture, while the typography is inspired by airport codes.

Bombay Brasserie - The Indian Culinary Expert
Bombay Brasserie - The Indian Culinary Expert
Bombay Brasserie - The Indian Culinary Expert

After all, it’s about the Representation

Every single piece of collateral, from what you see on the tables, to in-restaurant and promotional material, to takeaway packaging, extends the idea of travel and discovery of a confluence of culture and cuisine. That’s very much what the intention was, to create a designing initiative that was representative of the authentic diversity of the food.

Bombay Brasserie - The Indian Culinary Expert
Bombay Brasserie - The Indian Culinary Expert
Bombay Brasserie - The Indian Culinary Expert
Issue 39 - Indian Design Special

Published in Issue 39

As the festivity is all around, every brand or business is trying to impress the Indian audience. But what really works for us Indians? What is an Indian design? And how we can make designs for India? To understand it, we interviewed some Indian creatives who are successfully creating designs for the Indian audience. This issue of Creative Gaga is a light read for someone looking for inspirations or insights on Indian design and how the Indian audience can be enticed. So go ahead and order your copy or subscribe if you want to keep receiving a regular dose inspirations!

 

Order Your Copy!
CURRENT ISSUE
Creative Gaga - Issue 48

 

Rebranding is the art of refreshing the existing and  inducing a new spirit into it. The process can be challenging, if not daunting, but that is where the fun and excitement lie. Here are some of the best rebranding projects in recent times; take a peek.

Fanta

Everybody knows Fanta, and it has gone through a rebranding process recently. The bold, vibrant and orangey global visual identity of Fanta was initially re-imagined in paper-form, before putting it further to the digital process. This provided the much-needed base, approach, and direction to the rest of the branding process. A multitude of languages was applied by the way of Latin typography, alongside letterforms and logograms of scripts such as Japanese, Thai, Amharic, Korean and Arabic. This was done keeping in mind the fact that Fanta uses bespoke typeface created by hand, working across regular and extended weights, intending to be both natural and playful at the same time. The result, a young, trendy and expressive Fanta.

Fanta-Rebranding
Old-Logo
Fanta-Rebranding
New Logo
Fanta-Rebranding
Fanta-Rebranding
Fanta-Rebranding

Designed by Studio Koto


Relaxo

Relaxo has led the world of footwear in India for about 40 years now. Identifying itself as an ever-evolving brand, and to thus align itself with the simultaneously evolving consumer & state-of- the-art offerings, the brand decided that it was time for a rebranding/ makeover – a transformation validating existing values and infusing new and relevant ones.

Thus, the rebranding exercise focused on infusing a youthful and transformative spirit that felt important for the growth of internal and external stakeholders of the brand. The brand’s dynamism is now embodied in its forward-slanting ‘Blue Berry’ coloured letters, while a ‘Sunny Yellow’ coloured swoosh flows across it to signify a wave of transformation, optimism and positive growth.

Relaxo-Rebranding
Old-Logo
Relaxo-Rebranding
New-Logo

Designed by Elephant Design


Wipro

The Wipro logo is a bold and dynamic signature that proudly headlines the vision pursued itself. Its styling captures the sense of fluidity, resourcefulness, optimism, and creativity with which it approaches everything. The simplicity and elegance of the mark signal a keen intellect; one that is completely in synch with the world around itself – vibrant, aware and forward-looking. Building on the universal form of the circle, the radiating rings of dots around ‘Wipro’ suggest the many connections the brand creates for its customers.

 

Together, they convey a sense of outward motion propelling the organisation into the future. The colours of the brand-mark also speak of the company’s character, highlighting its reliability and authority.

WIPRO-Rebranding
Old-Logo
Wipro-Rebranding
New-Logo

Designed by Landor India


SBI

Instantly new, yet instantly recognisable.

The nation’s largest banking and financial services provider positioned its new brand identity as one designed to intended to depict SBI as a modern, progressive bank, ready to meet the financial needs of all Indians. The rebranding challenge was to arrive at a fresh perspective while retaining the brand’s iconic stature. Strategically, it needed to be ‘Instantly new, yet instantly recognisable.’

SBI-Rebranding
Old-Logo

Combining the legendary SBI monogram with the abbreviated SBI word-mark was pivotal to the new identity. It made the brand more concise and modern, infusing new energy while retaining its core values. It was refined further for greater clarity and ease of use and was opened up for more breathing space, projecting the bank as more approachable.

SBI-Rebranding
New-Logo

For the word-mark itself (SBI), a modern Sans Serif typeface was further adapted to create a sense of weight and heighten the institutional feel. To connect to the monogram, a gap was introduced in the letterform B in the word mark, just as the monogram itself, thus creating a visual hook while also setting it apart.

State bank of India

The family of colours were been expanded for scale and play. The iconic SBI Blue was refreshed to make it more friendly. The deep inky blue symbolises trust and integrity. A youthful yellow has been introduced for contrast. The signature graphic, The Arc, will be used across every touch point of the brand, from media communications to signage, to marketing and advertising across platforms to reinforce the brand.

State bank of India

The nation’s largest banking and financial services provider positioned its new brand identity as one designed to intended to depict SBI as a modern, progressive bank, ready to meet the financial needs of all Indians. The challenge was to arrive at a fresh perspective while retaining the brand’s iconic stature. Strategically, it needed to be ‘”Instantly new, yet instantly recognisable.”

State bank of India

Designed by Design Stack


Yatra.com

Yatra.com which caters to travelling/traveller needs to be decided to improvise on it branding to be more fluid, vibrant, friendly and thus reliable for the young, more outgoing Indian traveller. Branding elements such as tonality, communication, look and feel were taken into consideration while shaping and improvising upon the new red logo to showcase the richness of “the Yatra experience” and its expansive depth of product portfolio. The typography, at the same time, was likewise made to be of a flowing nature, thus symbolising easy, hassle-free and smooth movement, trying to replicate a relaxed form of travelling.

Yatra-Rebranding
Old-Logo
Yatra-Rebranding

Designed by Clay Design Strategies

CURRENT ISSUE
Creative Gaga - Issue 48

 

Design Stack spells out the major and minor of rebranding State Bank of India from its conventional state to one more representative of current times and digital services.

Brief

Design Stack was to create a new visual identity for State Bank of India, the nation’s largest and iconic Bank. Since SBI had stepped up its efforts towards developing digital products and services, a paradigm shift from its traditional methods to one more fitting towards, and in tune with, current times. The task lay in improvising upon its identity alongside to reflect the needs of an increasingly digitised world.

Concept

The key was to appeal to a new, growing and emerging audience while also retaining the trust of the bank’s existing customers – In other words, one that would translate to a new identity that built on the brand’s legacy and trust, yet imbibed a new energetic and dynamic nature. Since the State Bank of India monogram has been synonymous with the brand, for so long, it made sense to preserve and refine it, instead of changing it altogether and shocking its identity. The monogram was opened up to create more space. A step towards being contemporary, “State Bank of India” was abbreviated into “SBI”, to make it more relatable. The colour palette was expanded for scale and play, too. The deep, ink-like blue represents trust and integrity. A youthful yellow was introduced, alongside, for generating a contrast and contemporary feel.

Outcome

The brand now retains its core values, while harvesting a new look and feel. It is completely new in characteristic, and, at the same time, also recognisable by its’ original individuality. It is now perceived as more open and approachable.

State bank of India
State bank of India
State bank of India
State bank of India
State bank of India
CURRENT ISSUE
Creative Gaga - Issue 48