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Best examples of dynamic brand identities

July 1, 2020

What is a dynamic brand identity? I like to think of them as algorithms. Inputs go in, visuals come out. Let's take the brand identity for NAi as an example. There are two variables you can change to produce over a hundred unique variants.

Dynamic brand identities were most often used for institutions like universities, museums or cities. Consistency is not as important there as it is for physical products. We all know where New York City is, we want to see what it is about. On the other hand I want my toothpaste packaging to always look the same so I don't have to think too much when I'm in the supermarket.

With more and more businesses being entirely digital this is starting to change. Not having to consider print as the main medium has opened a lot of possibilities for using animation or user interaction to alter the brand dynamically.

NAi

Author: BMD, See the full case study

Created in 1993 by Bruce Mau, NAi is probably the first example of dynamic brand identity. BMD developed the logo by projecting the image onto a range of different surfaces and materials. The result is a fully kinetic identity that reflects the complexity of the Dutch architectural institute program.

NAi: A kinetic identity with a sense of movement
NAi: Logo usage in brand collateral
NAi: Detail of the logo projection

Sonantic

Author: Pentagram, Case study: See the full case study

Sonantic is a start-up creating expressive AI-generated voices. The company recently received a new logo from the iconic design studio Pentagram. This dynamic brand identity is a great example of how digital first companies don't have to stick to the old rules.

Sonantic: Brand guidelines including dynamic elements of the brand

Part of the design work from Pentagram is also a custom build app for generating logo assets. Very clear example of what I mean by dynamic brand identities being similar to algorithms. Inputs on the left side, output on the right side.

Sonantic: Custom build app for generating logo assets

Monier

Author: Bleed, Case study: See the full case study

Bleed design studio has derived their idea from three different window sizes which are characteristic for the building. Monier brand identity has more than one dynamic component. First is the variable background photography, the other is a flexible block composition.

Monier: Different logo compositions
Monier: Inspiration coming from three different window sizes
Monier: Brand collateral examples

Demo

Author: Studio Dumbar, Case study: See the full case study

Demo is a festival showcasing work of artists and designers on all 80 digital screens located in Amsterdam Central train station. The animated typography is and bold colors made this standout in the busy environment. You can also see how the logo changes based on your mouse position on the Demo homepage.

DEMO: Dynamic typography
DEMO: Collateral example

NYC

Author: Wolff Olins, Case study: See the full case study

New York City by Wolff Olins is a great example where dynamic brand identity is key to the whole concept. There is only one New York City, but there is no one New York City. An idea that is amplified by the colorful imagery used as a backdrop for the custom typography.

NYC: Logo by Wolff Olins
NYC: Collateral examples
NYC: Billboard

OCAD University

Author: BMD, Case study: See the full case study

Each year, the school invites a select group of graduating students to design a logo within the basic window framework, meaning that the emblem changes annually. This dynamic brand identity created by BMD for OCAD University continues to evolves long after the author had the last say.

OCADU: Overview of different logo variations
OCADU: Initial shape derived from the university building
OCADU: Examples of brand collateral

Current TV

Author: Wolff Olins, Case study: See the full case study

Although no longer in use, the mapping of the type to an imaginary 3D flag created a distinct brand for Current TV. Definitely a trend setting work by Wolff Olins in 2011.

Current TV: Static variations captured from the moving logo

MIT Media Lab

Author: TheGreenEyl, Case study: See the full case study

Created in 2011, the MIT Media Lab logo featured 45,000 unique variations. Recently replaced by new work from Pentagram, it's still one of the most well known applications of dynamic brand identity.

MIT Medial Lab: Examples of possible color variations

MTV

Author: Manhattan Design, Case study: See the full case study

Perhaps one of the most fun and iconic examples in this list is MTV. The logo remained unchanged for nearly three decades because of its fluidity. It could be any color or texture—as well as animated—adapting to the pop culture just like music.

MTv: Examples of logo variations by various artists
MTv: Examples of logo variations by various artists

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