At Frog, creating a symbol for energy awareness
Frog was recently tasked with creating a symbol to promote energy consciousness. SmartPlanet correspondent Priya David Clemens visits the design firm's San Francisco offices to learn about the creative process, the symbols developed, and how its designers think.
Just trying to get some press
So again, it's more important to "look" good...
Just trying to get some press
Music Priya David Clemens: You're probably familiar with Smokey the Bear and the international sign that reminds us to recycle. They're symbols that are synonymous with social change. David Markosky: Symbols like that are prompts, really. When you see them, you really come to consider the meaning of that thing you're interacting with. Priya David Clemens: David Markoskyassumed spelling is the executive creative director of San Francisco-based Frog Design.
Background speaker Priya David Clemens: Recently, his team was tasked with creating a symbol to promote energy consciousness. David Markosky: Do I flip that light switch on? Do I turn my thermostat down? Do I drive my car to work today? And our goal was to really use this as a -- almost a weapon, as a vehicle to really drive change in the things that we buy and the things that we use. Priya David Clemens: The design firm held a workshop with 50 members of the energy industry, who got to together to brainstorm the best ideas to bring to the market. David Markosky: We ended up with about 100, 120 half-baked ideas, pretty bad ones, actually, right? But inside of those were notions, right, the seeds of what could be. And so over the course of months, we took those seeds and we developed them here in house. Priya David Clemens: The team at Frog came up with three final designs to represent energy awareness: the loop, which represents the ongoing renewal of energy, faces, which are animated characters symbolizing the fight against climate change, and charge, a solar-powered ring that speaks to new sources of energy. Raina Wildes assumed spelling is one of the designers that worked on the project. Priya David Clemens: So tell me about this whole design wall that you've got over here. this is enormous. Raina Wildes: Cool. I will. So starting from the left, these are the initial sketches that came out of the thinking. these are just some thought starters. Over here, you start to have all of the fodder that the design team started to bring in. We started to bring in all these inspirational pieces that didn't necessarily talk about what the concepts, but that started to get at these more intangible, emotional elements to energy consumption. Once we came up with that, with all those ideas and those pieces of fodder, we started to develop concepts. Priya David Clemens: One of the concepts that really stood out for me was their infinity loop. Raina Wildes: So the infinity loop is very much playing on the idea of a continuous renewal of energy, and it's a highly aspirational symbol as well. I mean, this is literally where we want the world to go, and we thought that the form itself is very, very beautiful, and that it had a lot of potential as a symbol and as a product. So you can imagine them as monuments that may actually plug into the grid, or that people can wear on a chain. Priya David Clemens: Why is design so important? Why does it matter to have an icon of some sort? Raina Wildes: As designers, we're really cultural interpreters, and we're creating artifacts and prompts for people to see and use and emotionally take hold in the world. so it's a bit abstract, but as designers, we're kind of creating those physical things, and we're giving them form and place. Priya David Clemens: But Markosky says even with a powerful symbol, getting people to change their actions is no easy task. David Markosky: Behavior change is one of the hardest, if not the hardest, design problem of them all. You're asking people to re-evaluate their own self-image, how they want to be seen and how they see themselves being seen in the world. Priya David Clemens: For SmartPlanet, I'm Priya David Clemens.