Design students are asked to create branding and design projects for all kinds of fictional businesses and events. Most of these projects probably feel like a giant waste of good work, but such was not the case for Andrew Colin Beck and his travel inspired rebrand of the existing NYC bookstore, Idlewild, for a design class.
I was reading all about Beck in Fast Company’s Co.Design and figured that our readers would like two things about this story:
- It involves some truly beautiful design.
- It has a happy ending (Trifunk blog readers love a happy ending).
Here’s a little blurb from John Brownlee’s telling of the story:
“’Often, I find that brands have a super rich visual culture hiding deep below the surface that they’re not capitalizing on,’ says Beck. ‘Visually, Idlewild’s existing branding didn’t say anything about their rich heritage or connection to travel. So I started to mine that heritage and bring it to the surface.’
Most of Beck’s inspiration came from 1960s airline tickets, travel brochures, and other tourist ephemera. From these sources, Beck drew his color palette and typography, then set about drawing out those influences into a coherent design language of literary travel. ‘As I was working on the design, I was looking at a lot of topographic and flight maps searching for little pieces of visual language,’ says Beck. ‘I love compass roses, and keys and mile-markers. Those sorts of cartographic symbols gave me a lot of inspiration.’ For example, the diagonal band of color seen in some of the new Idlewild designs, like the business cards, comes from a dial on the control board of an airplane called the false horizon.
Once the rebranding was done, Beck decided to reach out to the owner of Idlewild Books, David Del Vecchio, to show off what he’d done. In what Beck calls ‘a moment of uncharacteristic good fortune,’ Del Vecchio loved the design and immediately got in contact with Beck to roll it out to his stores.
The Idlewild re-branding has been a huge success, not just for the bookstore itself, which has been met with a surge of new interest since Beck’s designs hit the web but also for the designer himself. Graduating this month from Brigham Young University, Beck’s work with Idlewild has already gotten him several other commissions, and he’ll soon be moving to New York to help other companies to rejuvenate their brands.
They say reading a very good book is like jumping on an airplane and taking a trip. The brilliance behind Idlewild’s redesign is it gives you a physical ticket for every vacation sold.”