This year's London Design Biennale will be devoted to the theme of emotional states and how design affects every aspect of our lives – the way we live and how we live – and influences our very being, emotions and experiences.
With the theme in mind, Pentagram – for the second consecutive time – created the visual identity and promotional materials for the Biennale, using a strict colour palette of orange, black and white. Taking inspiration from Charles Darwin's seven universal emotions, Pentagram created and commissioned a series of arresting masks, handmade by Wakefield-based paper artist Andy Singleton and photographed by London-based John Ross.
In order to subtly conceptualise the paper masks, Pentagram conducted an exhaustive audit of words, symbols, actions and facial expressions associated with Darwin’s universal emotions – anger, fear, surprise, disgust, joy, sadness and contempt. After compiling extensive mood boards, Pentagram identified reoccurring shapes and forms, which ultimately informed the visual signature of each emotion.
The avant-garde masks certainly bring the Biennale's theme to life in a way that is independent of race, gender and age. And the resulting visual identity has been rolled out across the event's online banners, print, outdoor, social media and marketing materials – which were also designed by Pentagram.