In a previous article we detailed why we chose to name our studio Minute Works. In short after concluding that our title should represent a commitment to conscientious design and print, the decision was subsequently influenced by the iconic Doomsday Clock.
With the name agreed we set out to create a new identity that would denote a race against time and a counteractive response to unsustainable practice. Communicating a sense of positivity and possibility was also important to us. We set ourselves the challenge of avoiding any reliance on established Doomsday Clock iconography or traditional clock faces.
Instead we began by looking at other ways in which time is measured. We felt drawn toward methods that involve no complex mechanics or power, which instead rely on gravity. One such device that came to mind was the hourglass. We were instantly attracted to the object due to its reliance on natural and renewable materials to measure the passing of minutes and hours. Since an hourglass can be turned through 360 degrees, we imagined it to be symbolic of revision and renewal. Grains of sand constituting single units of time are constantly rearranged with each turn. The object could then be said to contain an almost endless potential for change.
We set about the task of drawing a new marque inspired by the form of an hourglass. To begin with the letters M and W were loosely shaped into a frame. We decided to place 60 dots within the marque, each representative of one minute of time, or an hour in total. 55 dots are included in the lower-half whilst only five are positioned in the top. Their placement is a conscious acknowledgement of The Doomsday Clock’s current setting at 11:55; a time that marks Minute Works’ inception and The Clock’s position in 2007, when the Science and Security Board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists added climate change to the prospect of nuclear annihilation as one of the greatest threats to humankind(01).
In addition to the marque a logotype was called for. We chose to create a custom type based on Brandon Grotesque. Certain characters have been altered to improve their legibility when displayed at smaller sizes. The tittle (the dot above the letter i) has also been redrawn to include a second subtle reference to 11:55.
Lastly our colour palette was influenced by Martyl Langsdorf’s 1947 cover design for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists(02).
01. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. (n.d). 2007: It is 5 Minutes to Midnight. Available: http://thebulletin.org/clock/2007 Last accessed 27/11/14
02. Bierut, M. (2010) Designing the Unthinkable. Available: http://designobserver.com/feature/designing-the-unthinkable/12447 Last accessed 27/11/14