New York-based design studio Virgo, led by the visionary Dave Frankel, has crafted a compelling design system for Common Enemy, a revolutionary sneaker brand. Rooted in an assertive and urgent approach to typography and color, the brand identity reflects the dynamism and diversity of basketball culture while paying homage to historic protest movements.
At the heart of Common Enemy's design system lies the display typeface, GT America. A condensed sans-serif font that merges the essence of 19th-century American Gothics with 20th-century European Neo-Grotesk typefaces. This choice strikes a balance, ensuring a natural fit for athletic performance while harkening back to the powerful typography of 1960s protest movements worldwide.
The color palette is equally impactful. The brand-red orange hue embodies kinetic energy, commanding attention with its loud and urgent nature. Complementing this primary color are multiple secondary gradients that add depth and uniqueness to the brand's visuals. Each gradient pays tribute to the multifaceted nature of basketball, a game cherished for its diversity and inclusivity.
Drawing inspiration from the lines on basketball courts, abstract linework emerges as a recurring theme in Common Enemy's visual identity. These elements can be found in the photography, shoe box design, and bag packaging, further cementing the brand's connection to the sport.
The logotype incorporates an ingenious touch: the liner treatment above and below the brand name references the inbound lines on a basketball court. This detail not only adds a subtle nod to the sport but also reinforces the brand's association with motion and progress.
As for the symbol, Common Enemy opted for an abstract representation of the initials "C" and "E." The design cleverly captures the essence of movement, effortlessly aligning with the brand's energetic spirit.
Common Enemy was founded in 2020 by PUMA alum Ryan Gordon to change the conversation around public health in the U.S., and today is officially hitting the ground running by donating 5% of every purchase to nonprofits fighting for legislation that improves public health.
Common Enemy's design system, spearheaded by Dave Frankel and Virgo, showcases an impeccable fusion of aesthetics and purpose. By seamlessly blending athletic influences, historic references, and contemporary abstract elements, the brand establishes a unique identity that resonates with sports enthusiasts and design aficionados alike.
With a compelling and dynamic visual language, Common Enemy is set to make a lasting impact in the sneaker market, embracing diversity, and celebrating the spirit of basketball and activism.
Brand and product design artifacts
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