“We are here today to explore the heart, purpose and process behind making one of the greatest human pursuits, accessible, tangle and inspirational.” said Lawrence Azerrad, partner, creative director at LAD Design Group. The session at the Promax Conference 2019 on Wednesday in Los Angeles brought together the creative visionaries behind one of the most exciting design systems in recent memory. The group talked about the inspiration behind the logo for the Summer Olympics in Tokyo in 2020, as well as how they came together as a network and creative agency.
“It was maybe the first two months of the project,” Mitch Monson, VP, mOcean, said. “I get a call that Mark and David want to do a working session. To take a full day out of their schedule to fly in and spend their time with us at mOcean walking us through their inspiration and giving us feedback- - that shows their passion.”
The creative passion transferred between both teams. “When we started moving down the road,” Mark Levy, SVP, original productions and creative at NBC Sports Group, said. “David and I thought to ourselves ‘Maybe it’s time we open the door a little bit to get some new thinking to work alongside us.’”
They started talking with Monzon and his team, and realized this may have been a great call. “All of a sudden you say Olympics and people’s eyes light up. Everyone is emotionally tied to the Games.”
But outside of being inspired by collaboration, how exactly do you design for nearly 200 million viewers from around the globe? From the beginning, the team kept this in mind and went straight to the source keeping the Olympics and Tokyo in mind.
“It’s important for us to dedicate ourselves through the 18-month process to discovering things about that host city. ‘How do we do that in a manner where there’s 200 million people that will watch the games? It’s a diverse audience so we can’t speak to one demographic, we have to speak broadly.”
Monzaon continued, “That’s part of our initiative—to culturally touch where we’re headed but create a mark that’s opening and welcoming to all of the audience.”
Sometimes creative fatigue hits. When that happens, Azerrad asked: “What steps do you take to uphold the intention of all this creative?”
“It really starts now,” said David Barton, senior art director, NBC Olympics, NBC Sports Group. “We created this identity that’s really there to empower the entire network. And we’re hoping the logo takes on many journeys throughout the process. You’re going to get to know many stories about the Olympians, athletes that have struggled and made it there. The brand needs to go along that journey as well at all the different inspiration points. As that’s going on, there’s some really talented groups within NBCU that will handle that sort of creative. While that’s happening we’re focused on the graphics package or look and feel package. We have to establish a mood and tone.”
“It’s important for us to reach those constituents, and part of that is the strategy that Jenny Storm, our CMO of the NBC Sports Group,” Barton continued. “She leads that team in terms of segmentation and demographics in terms of who’s watching games. How do they define what’s interesting to them? That’s important to David and I, and the other groups, that start to develop content around on-air, social and digital. We take that information and put it to good use in our design development.”