Design Notes x SP—AN 2018 Collateral

As part of Google Design’s SP—AN conference, held in Helsinki in 2018, we recorded a series of podcasts with Google hardware designer Isabelle Olsson, artist and writer James Bridle, transdisciplinary artist Stephanie Dinkins, artistic director Marko Ahtisaari, and sibling design duo Tuuli and Kivi Sotamaa. The podcasts probed our understanding of and relationships with technology and the systems we’ve created.

I created a series of assets that married the highly stylized SP—AN identity system with Design Note’s own flexible aesthetic, a system which I’ve detailed in a post on Medium.

I created a short series of posters to highlight the podcast series with selected quotes from the collection of interviews. These posters were distributed through the Google Design Download newsletter.

The posters ended up informing a lot of how the Design Notes identity approached the SP—AN identity. The fusion focuses on darker or more monochromatic approaches, integrating texture and the implication of surface as often as possible.


Ghosted letters in the background of each poster spell out “a show about creative work and what it teaches us,” the Design Notes tagline. A layer higher, a pared-down selection of primitive shapes from the SP—AN system forms a dynamic canvas for the selected quote. SP—AN’s stacked logo and Design Notes’ own typographic lockup fill out the composition to complete the poster. The three posters also play with SP—AN’s notion of noise-as-surface in different ways, using it to anchor or balance each composition.


I also created a sequence of assets for the Google Design blog to communicate the idea of a podcast series and inline assets to introduce each speaker. The hero images (adapted to 2x1 and 3x2 formats as detailed in the Design Notes identity story) retain the basic structure of Design Notes art (the D and N silhouette shapes) but also integrates the equilateral 2x1 format, color use, and layered structure of SP—AN’s identity. Shapes are layered, bounded, and occluded, and some elements—like the diamond-shaped vignette of the Sotamaas—allow imagery to flow out freely, creating additional depth and texture.




Work ✏️


Podcast 📻


illoLiam Spradlin