How Semi Permanent Studio designed the visual identity for Future State 2023

We love the visual identity for Semi Permanent's forthcoming event, Future State 2023. But how was it made? Read on to discover the main design elements and how they work together.

A major tech event is taking place next month as global talent gathers in Auckland, New Zealand, to talk tech, AI and the future of digital transformation. Presented by Spark Lab and Semi Permanent, Future State 2023 is a keynote speaker event which will explore the driving forces behind the next era of technological innovation.

But to us design nerds, what's equally as interesting as the event itself is the visual identity crafted for it. The creatives behind it, at Semi Permanent Studio, were kind enough to share the design style guide behind it with us, and it made for some fascinating reading.

In this article, we share some of the main design elements behind the visual identity, the thinking behind them, and some examples of the branding work out in the wild.

1. Brand idea

If you're going to put on a conference about the future of tech, you need to have a strong vision behind it. And suitably enough, the visual identity for Future State 2023 is founded on a clear and well-explained brand idea.

"At the core of our brand is the sole belief: The future is not a destination – it's a state," Design Director Mike Souvanthalisith explains. "We believe the world of tomorrow is already here and that the answers to the industry's biggest questions are right before our eyes. This bold brand idea informs our name, why we exist, how we speak and every decision we make."

2. Logo

The event requires a logo that would speak to the idea of futurism while avoiding design cliches around the theme, and remaining clear and legible. We reckon Semi Permanent Studio has done a great job. Inspired by the punched tape used to speak with computers in an earlier era, the main wordmark is built with a custom typeface on a dot-grid system. It's simple, scales well and evokes the idea of future innovation in an original yet instantly recognisable manner.

3. Colour

The colour palette brings the brand to life and symbolises the spirit of innovation and sophistication. It's a bright, modern feeling that evokes positive, upbeat energy.

4. Typography

A tier of three typefaces helps the brand communicate its voice consistently and most effectively. First, a custom typeface called Future State was built on a dot-grid matrix. Inspired by punched computer tape, it's an all-caps display typeface with no lowercase characters.

Second comes Whyte Inktrap: a sophisticated and robust grotesque font characterised by its ink traps. The curved detailing and chiselled ends mirror the shapes within the Future State typeface, connecting the two when used in tandem. Finally, Aeonik Mono is a monospaced typeface, always used in all-caps, that adds a sense of order, clarity and refinement.

5. Arrow symbol

To help shape Future State's visual language, the studio created a suite of graphics as well as systems that allow designers to create distinct assets for the brand. The Arrow Symbol represents upward progression and reflects the future-first momentum of the brand.

6. Circle motif

Drawn from the holes in punched computer tape, the geometry of the Circle Motif is foundational to the brand's visual language, informing everything from graphics to typography. It's used as a secondary element to bolster the design and give graphic detail to compositions.

7. Tape device

The Tape Device is a nod to both printed computer tape and digital LED boards from stock markets. This device adds a sense of movement to the designs and allows content to repeat on screen, creating moments for storytelling.

8. Pictograms

To give the brand more variety in graphic elements, a suite of Pictograms capture the themes and topics of Future State's speakers. Each is built on a strict grid system, and they're designed to give the audience a glimpse into what will be spoken about in the talks.

Presented by Spark Lab and Semi Permanent, Future State 2023 will be hosted at Spark Arena in Auckland on Thursday 11 May. For full details, visit the Future State 2023 website.


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