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San Francisco Design Week

The problem

San Francisco Design Week is one of the most awaited and revered events within the design sphere. It is a week fully devoted to celebrating design in a city considered by most to be the quintessential mecca of design and technological innovation. Essen International was asked to create an identity and campaign that could illustrate how unique and how boundary-pushing San Francisco actually is.

Our ambition 

Our biggest ambition was to create a conversation piece, a campaign that would be relevant to our times and that could challenge the design industry, both visually and intellectually.

Our process 

Together with AIGA SF we reflected upon what it entails to be boundary-pushing and innovative. We came to the conclusion that innovation is not just about developing the new and the different. To push boundaries and to innovate we need to question what already exists. Before we challenge and disrupt what is out there, we must question it first. This notion of relentless questioning became the foundation for this year’s theme— A week to question everything.

For the visuals of the campaign we created graphical abstractions inspired by current prominent social issues in America and in the world. A water drop inspired by climate change and the role of water in it. Textured ripples of fabric inspired by waving flags and the surge of nationalism. Folded stacks of paper inspired by the omnipresent impact of media today.

The result 

The result is an engaging and thought-provoking campaign that stimulates conversation and that invites us to reflect about our role and the role of design in society. Can design affect social change? Is collaboration the heart of design? Do morals and design go hand in hand? These are type of questions we will be asking, the type that require pondering and debate in order to be answered.

There is so much happening today, so much to be questioned. This is just the start.