Established in 2000 but with precedent as far back as 1965 with the ID Prize, the Danish Design Award is presented as a joint effort by the Danish Design Centre and the alliance of design professionals, Design denmark. The fifteen categories of the Awards celebrate “design that has created jobs or cut costs over health solutions and resource sharing to visionary concepts demonstrating the wide range and diversity of the capability of design to bring added value” among others. This year’s event and celebration debuted a new identity designed by Copenhagen-based Kontrapunkt.
We started by looking back. Danish design has a long, proud tradition for humanistic and democratic design. Especially the early modernist and Danish design pioneer Knud V. Engelhardt’s typographic work became key in our search for inspiration. So we decided to design a new typography that we called “Danish”, based on Engelhardt’s functionalistic aesthetics. Then we looked forward. We worked with tight and “chunky” typeface compositions and black and white graphics to give it a contemporary touch and not get too nostalgic.The result is a visual identity that captures the combination of tradition and innovation in a recognizable font. Together with the tight and simple graphical universe the typeface gives Danish Design Award a strong voice to promote the power of design.
The old logo wasn’t bad but it fell in that trap where a design thing is trying to not be design-y and it just looks bland and lacking any personality. The new logo has personality to spare and is so design-y it deserves its own award. Based on the work of Knud V. Engelhardt — read it and weep — the logo is a bold, charismatic monogram-slash-wordmark that creates an iconic mark for the awards program. The letterforms are unexpected, aggressive even, but there is a strange sense of joy and pride in them — like they are screaming, “Look at us! We can go on a curve and make a ‘D’!”. Obviously, don’t shrink that logo too much because it becomes unreadable, even as a “D” it becomes fuzzy. This might bring back memories of the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam logo and beg question why do I like the Danish Design Award logo but not the Stedelijk one? When I start going to the psychiatrist I’ll let you know officially.
The typeface is super fun. I love how chunky and angular it is. The cuts in the bottoms of letters like the “A” and “R” give it a certain medieval feel that clashes really nicely with the extended structure.
This. So so great.
Not much in application — side note, I also just remembered what this project reminds me of in vibe and aesthetic, OCD’s Saint Bartholomew’s Church identity — but the banners alone show the potential of this and it’s hard to go wrong with a hot, proprietary typeface and a black and white color palette. What I like most about this is that it goes against the grain of today’s trends and offers something new dug up from the past.