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Tasked with creating a new visual identity for THIS IS SHORT, Uniforma (@uniformastudio) went with bold font pairings and kinetic typography. They reveal their process and the choices they made throughout the identity’s design.
Uniforma is a visual communication studio based in Poznań, Poland, run by Michał Mierzwa and Maciej Mach. They focus on designing visual identities firmly embedded in digital media, implemented collaboratively with the “amazing people” they work with. “We help brands communicate with the rest of world and we do our best to promote culture,” they say, “because culture matters.”
ZLM: What is the THIS IS SHORT platform and how did Uniforma end up working on it?
U: THIS IS SHORT is a digital platform created by the European Short Film Network. It is a central access point for mainly European short films: with joint programming, shared programs, and one common gateway to the online presentations of four European film festivals, thus creating a joint online festival experience.
The project was developed during lockdown as a truly European vision, at a time when solidarity and cooperation seem more important than ever and rethinking Europe and the European film and festival landscape seems inevitable.
ZLM: What did you make for this project?
U: THIS IS SHORT is a worldwide digital platform targeted at online audience and being promoted mainly in digital world. We created logos for both European Short Film Network and THIS IS SHORT itself, where we were responsible for a comprehensive visual identity. It included the logotype, very detailed typography, composition guidelines and a simple color scheme that created a foundation for the visual identity.
ZLM: Tell us about the font pairings. What was the process and reason behind selecting these, as well as the other visual elements and aesthetics? What story were you telling through these and why did you land on the choices you made?
U: Font selection was the most important decision here as it is a typography-based project. Idea behind the visual identity is built around squeezing typography just like short films are a squeezed, condensed versions of regular movies. Using kinetic type allowed us to visualise that idea, but also showed a playful, creative character of short cinema industry. You need to get creative when working with a small budget, trying to condense interesting idea into a few minutes long film. Creators working on short films don’t work under pressure of huge productions studios and that allows them to experiment more. We think our visual identity reflects that creative flow.
We chose GT Flexa in its variable version. It allowed us to fully realise our concept. We also chose this particular family because some of its variants are really bold and characteristic. Together with our partners from THIS IS SHORT, we wanted to be noticed in the online community. No compromise!
ZLM: Why did you choose to use kinetic type?
U: A possibility of animating a kinetic type allowed us to build another level of visual communication: motion, which is so important when it comes to film. We were in contact with Grilli Type, the authors of GT Flexa. They helped us to fix some minor issues and guided us how to work with their font and it turned out really great. Animating font’s width forces all the other elements of the composition to squeeze or move. That’s where the fun begins.
ZLM: What can we look out for from you in 2022?
U: Despite the uncertain situation in the world, especially in our region, we are in a very good place in the studio development. We’re a team of 6 at the moment and it’s a number of members we want to maintain. We want to stay a boutique-like studio, not overwhelmed too much by the management part, still experimenting and challenging ourselves with every project from both commercial and cultural sector. There’s another visual identity of a film festival in development.
We have a strong belief that visual communication has a bigger role to play than helping big brands earn more money. That’s why we are trying to balance our work and keep ourselves busy with some side projects.
Because of what is going on in Ukraine, we are trying to be involved in a voluntary work for NGOs using our design and problem solving skills. After 2-3 days of feeling totally useless we came up with an idea and launched a website showing currently most needed supplies in one of our local collection centres. The reception was better than we expected and we also noticed that so many graphic designers in Poland are doing the same thing. Using their skills and experience to help.
ZLM: Thank you, Uniforma.