Some of the most vivid discussions about our future occur at San Francisco Design Week (SFDW), one of the world’s most influential annual design festivals. Today, in partnership with leading brand strategy and design studio Landscape ®, SFDW launches the theme for the 2020 event: ‘Intentional Distortions.’ This year’s concept challenges the design community to address familiarity, bias, and what we know of reality.
Wider, wilder thinking
To be held June 16-25th 2020, SFDW is an essential week-long city-wide festival that showcases the unique intersection of ideas, design, and business that makes the Bay Area the birthplace of the future. Powerful ideas have taken root from the region’s nimble start-ups to become global phenomena, affecting the daily lives of billions of people across the world. Designers are often key participants, either as entrepreneurial partners, or as problem-solvers, bringing high value to a business concept. San Francisco Design Week offers a rare window into this world and the future.
Each year the festival selects a design studio to develop the theme, visual identity and campaign – top firms Character, Manual, and Mucho have all taken the reins in previous years.
“It’s important for the success of San Francisco Design Week to collaborate with like-minded partners whose practice and vision are aligned with ours,” says Dawn Zidonis, executive director of SFDW. “Landscape emerged as the ideal partner for co-creating this year’s theme because its diverse and flexible team embodies these traits and has the experience to communicate a concept that is reflective of design innovation in the Bay Area.”
The team at SFDW tasked Landscape with developing an idea that would resonate with, and beyond, the Bay Area’s rich design community. It needed to be broad enough to encompass the scope of design from graphic to industrial, service, product, architectural and so on. But it also needed to be distinctive enough to work across multiple touchpoints. Crucially it needed to pose questions rather than answers – acting as a catalyst for dialogue.
The team explored, prototyped, and iterated, finally landing on ‘Intentional Distortions’.
Adam Weiss, Founder & Executive Creative Director at Landscape, says: “Sometimes, bending reality is necessary to reveal new ideas. For us, this lies at the heart of design today. It plays with perception, intentionally distorting realities to understand what else might exist in a world we find familiar, working to improve our collective and ever-evolving experience on planet Earth.”
The campaign uses photography and process to create images that play with reality. Familiar subjects related to current events, culture, design and location, are made new. The end result is an invitation to challenge familiarity, bias, and what we know of reality, and so to find unexpected outcomes – ideas that can change the world.
Zidonis comments: “The theme is reflective of the current trends and contributions made by Bay Area designers and invites participants to explore together. It’s a brilliant concept that’s representative of the San Francisco design community, and encourages worldwide application and collaboration.”
Over the coming months the campaign will roll out globally across digital and social media, with Landscape’s designs defining the visual language of all SFDW 2020 communications.
“This theme and this work are very close to our hearts,” concludes Weiss. “In many ways, intentional distortions is a powerful summary of how we operate as a studio. Our clients come to us with nascent services and products, and expect us to deliver communications that are equally significant. We can’t wait to iterate the concept over the coming months, not only sharing the thinking with our extended design community, but also sparking the conversations that will grow and culminate next June.”
Landscape is an internationally recognized brand strategy and design studio committed to the creation of forward-looking identities and experiences. We translate narratives into systems to create long-term, scalable business value.
The studio embraces the arts and technology equally, providing guidance to clients that pursue influential change through their products and services.