In the midst of the meltdown of the U.S. financial system, the ongoing consequences of a global energy crisis, and a broken healthcare system, IBM recognized a unique opportunity to provide new leadership. They wanted to show the world that the thinking and technology that’s needed to solve the world’s biggest problems exists today.
Ogilvy & Mather New York asked Office to develop a visual vocabulary for the launch of IBM’s “Smarter Planet” campaign. This began with a series of ads with essays about transforming the world’s most important systems such as food, energy, transportation, healthcare, education, and banking.
The design challenge was to create a visually arresting language that was as bold as the ideas they represented. How do we create something that will grab people’s attention and engage them so they want to learn more? How do we distill complex essays into one clear visual concept? And how do we represent these big, complicated problems in a way that’s approachable?
The Office team was inspired by the creative vision that designer Paul Rand developed for IBM in the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s. Rand’s work was about boldness and clarity, and had a “wink” that created an emotional connection with people. These became the team’s driving principles.