The Consilience Project
STUDIO / DESIGNER
Creative Practice & Collaboration
Bob Gray (Designer, art director)
Paul Hughes (Art director)
Bobby Tannam (Typographer)
Leah Bredendieck (Designer, illustrator)
Ros Kavanagh (Photographer)
Ciarán Hickey (Developer)
Design Challenge and Design Ideas
The Consilience Project publishes novel research at the leading edges of global risk mitigation, governance design and culture. Their content explores the key challenges and existential threats facing humanity, and the underlying problems with current approaches for addressing them.
The identity needed to account for and be accessible to multiple audiences, from those in positions of influence, government, business and academia to those who are interested in understanding the state of the world from an unbiased point of view. The project acts as an educational resource as well as a publishing platform.
The content published is for any individual, group or institution trying to innovate around global coordination challenges, catastrophic risks and social technologies. The primary aim of the project and indeed the articles published is to clarify and reveal the nature of the metacrisis (interlocking, interrelated problems) to enable comprehensive solutions to global problems.
How the brief was fulfilled
A comprehensive identity system was designed to align with with the Gestalt principals; closure, common fate, continuation, similarity, figure ground, proximity, symmetry and similarity. The logo with its cut-out sections, layered imagery and website design are all a part of this system, applied across web, social media and print. The illustrations are created in parallel with to system, designed to highlight the message of the written word.
Long-form articles are The Consilience Project’s primary output, empowering readers in better sense-making and developing collective intelligence. Accompanying each article are a triptych of illustrations, sectioning features for the reader, allowing for pauses along their sense-making journey. The illustrations are deliberately made using collage and 3D forms, to tie in with the identity’s Gestalt principle origins.
We conduct several rounds of art direction and ideation with the authors. From here we work on depicting the feature’s central themes, distilling complicated ideas into single iconic objects.
Illustrations use collage, both flat and 3D, model making, and photography. The images are intended to be not just descriptive, but to address the goals of the article. When not directly representative of the feature’s content, they further the message of the text.
The collision of two ideas to form a hybrid image is a strategy that we use widely to create the illustrations. This is directly related to the principles that are encapsulated in the project’s name: Consilience, meaning the convergence of evidence from independent sources to form strong conclusions.
Images are made using almost exclusively public domain imagery, sourced from archives, libraries and photography collections. This aligns the illustrations with the project’s determination to allow free access to their research, research that would ordinarily be behind a paywall.
Other illustrative elements include watercolour sketches of clouds before rain, portraits partially hidden by filters, and dog-eared pages forming the notch in the Consilience logo, all literal interpretations of the project’s sense-making aims. These form an integral part of the identity system, with specific internal and external uses for each, from public facing articles and podcasts to intelligence briefings addressing government agencies working within the risk mitigation field.
A bold approach to brand imagery that is powerful, evoking a sense of revolution and change. This mixed media imagery bank is wonderfully crafted with a beautiful tactility and dimension adding a level of depth to the overall visual approach."