Established in 2005, Safari Sundays is a design firm in New York, NY, with clients like Pepsi, Carlsberg, Lays, Doritos, and more. In their words, they are a “creative collective of nomadic designers, thinkers, inventors, misfits, explorers, muppets and makers seek clients who aren’t afraid to take the open road”. There is no obvious reason why you should know of them — other than they designed this previously reviewed project — and you are probably wondering why they are getting a Review if more well-known design firms that redesign rarely get one. I’m always very intrigued by how designers design for themselves and this new identity for Safari Sundays is unexpected and worth a discussion.
The old look was fairly annoying with the rave-like wordmark and heavy use of alternate rounded corners. The new identity starts out by throwing out that smooth-electro-suave look and adopting an unapologetically bizarre wordmark that has so many twists and turns it’s like reading a Penrose triangle haiku. As an exercise in weirdness, the alphabet directly above is quite successful leading to some interesting shapes, combinations, and interpretations. Oddly enough though, “Safari” is set in this impossible-object typography while “Sundays” is not and instead it’s set in some absurdly ugly (not the good kind) Helvetica with tiny flared serifs. Unpleasant and extremely timid compared to the rest of the identity which really goes out there.
Who is Steve?
Our sight, smell, sound and sixth sense.
A taste factory that changes skin. A monster, wrong in all the right ways…
Steve is at the heart of our new identity, the proud icon of Safari Sundays.
Steve; weaving together the Safari and the Sundays, exploring the wilderness to find something fresh and then taking stock, seeing potential and creating something new.
Steve; mischievous and marvelous, where nothing is quite as it seems, a living identity with volume and mystery that changes everything it swallows into something better.
Steve; fluid and rigid, for now and everything ahead, driving our own work and transforming our client’s brands into exciting visual, verbal, tactile and aural stories.
What got my attention was this… thing. “Steve”. I think the fact alone that it’s called a generic American name makes me love it. Steve is a gangly mess of curves that, in the end, manage to make the shape of a n “S” and it is then colored and adorned in a multitude of ridiculous ways. Yet… it maintains its consistency and establishes a high-octane visual language that has the freedom to do anything. The animation above is very MTV-ish but it’s addictive to look at and listen to.
In application, the oddness continues with bizarre patterns, odd framing devices, and questionable typographic layouts. Clearly, along with the way the company talks about itself and the new identity, there is a very calculated method to the madness — which at times grows irksome — that clearly sets up Safari Sundays for the kind of consumer brand work they want to do and this approach is as appropriate as all the serifed wordmarks of larger design firms looking for their own kind of clients that will most likely never hire Safari Sundays. And that’s alright.