Top nine identity design systems of 2023
By Chris Reyes RGD, Independent Graphic Designer
Branding and identity systems come in all shapes and sizes—literally. Whether motion-based, typography-based or colour-based, each has its own unique message to convey. As each year passes, a select few emerge, setting the stage for the branding trends we can expect in the coming year. So, here are my top 9 identity systems of 2023, showcasing the good, the beautiful, the weird and the playful.
Sundance Film Festival
By Porto Rocha
The core idea behind this identity system is both simple and fitting. It features a box with an aspect ratio of 16:9, symbolizing the standard screen size, alongside a filmstrip. The true essence of the identity system shines when viewed in motion. The motion of the filmstrip is *chef’s kiss*. Due to the identity's minimalist style, it serves primarily a supporting role, effectively highlighting the diverse genres of the festival's films.
By PepsiCo Design (in-house)
If you were a kid in the late '90s to the early 2000s, you probably remember the 3D logo surrounded by crystals all over Pepsi's packaging. The new logo is an evolution of this old design, featuring the name at the centre of a circle icon nestled between the red and blue waves. It's nothing new or extravagant, but it makes sense and invokes a sense of nostalgia for the good ol’ days. The rest of the identity kicks things up a notch, bringing the brand into 2023 with refreshed colours, new visual language, packaging, advertising and even some merchandise.
As someone who loves soccer, I was excited to see the rebranding for LALIGA. The new logotype elevates the league's professional image, distancing it from the appearance of a children's sports team. The star of this rebranding is the custom variable typeface suite: LALIGA Headline, LALIGA Players and LALIGA Text. With a new bold colour and typographic versatility, the organization is better suited for marketing initiatives and general excitement surrounding the league.
Freedom Reads is a brilliantly-executed identity system that primarily relies on typography however, when paired with a simple colour palette, ligature-esque lines and minimal thick lines resembling book spines and jail bars, the concept is taken to the next level, resulting in a flexible and visually appealing design system. From the icon and brochure to the website, Kevin adeptly captures the essence of this identity system through elegant typography.
Chicken and the Wolf
The identity system for Chicken and the Wolf is as an excellent example of knowing when to break the rules. The typography balances on a fine line between asking yourself, ‘Is it ugly? Or is it brilliant?’ With multiple typefaces, badges and intentionally-varied illustration styles for different applications, the overall look remains cohesive. A limited colour palette further contributes to its harmonious integration. Bold, loud and full of personality, this identity truly stands out.
Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano
The ability to add motion behaviour, that is generated by sound to a logo, is a flex in its own right. It immediately gives depth to an identity system with a plethora of interesting compositions. This identity system is bold, modern, edgy and as unexpected as one would expect for a symphonic orchestra. The system does a fantastic job of conveying the complexities and dynamism to an organization that would otherwise seem boring to many people.
Too Much To Watch (The Royal Television Society)
By Studio Kiln
Event branding can be a daunting undertaking but it holds the potential for fun and rewarding outcomes. Often, this is where an identity system truly shines, bringing a space or experience to life in the real world. "Too Much To Watch" was a two-day event hosted by The Royal Television Society. Studio Kiln activated every space with playful, custom bubble typography and vibrant colours. The identity system is grounded by Lay Grotesk for practical purposes where necessary, yet it never feels overpowering or like an afterthought.
The Little Potato Company
With a name like The Little Potato Company, this rebrand works for all the right reasons. What's not to love about anthropomorphic potatoes? They're adorable AF and every aspect of the identity system is coherent. The colours are natural and appealing, which is especially crucial for food products. The packaging is delightful in its detail and the typography strikes a playful yet approachable tone.
It’s Okay Bar
There's branding and then there's Bamff. Their identity system for the It's Okay Bar is about as eclectic as they come. Despite featuring various logo variations that might not appear consistent at first glance, they somehow still maintain cohesiveness. The typography exudes a nostalgic charm and the colours are subdued, allowing the visuals to take centre stage. The visual language draws inspiration from Coffee News and all sorts of 80s stock illustrations.
Kyle Schruder RGD, Elana Rudick RGD
Vanessa Eckstein RGD