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Bang & Olufsen
Seeing in sound
Bang and Olufsen have long held a reputation as an innovative audio manufacturing company that places an outsize emphasis on design and quality.
Cemented firmly in the luxury category, B&O products don't come cheap... One of their latest TV products has a price tag in excess of $40,000 (thanks, you can mail me one for Christmas). Over Bang & Olufsen's 90 year history the brand has centered its growth around evolving audio technology that is both beautiful and functional. This extends from high-quality polished metals that feature on their headphones down to cleanly crafted typographic expression and their logomark. The logo, in particular, has an iconic art deco feel to it. With it's extended, slim height and geometric letter bowls, its as if lifted it was lifted from a Great Gatsby movie set.

The B letterform also appears upside down which creates an unexpectedly striking visual interplay between the ampersand and O. The logo curiously was designed in 1930 by a 16-year old boy who charged 5 Kroner ($0.79 USD) for the piece. *cries in unpaid artist* I really was shocked to learn this, the boy was reportedly a painter's apprentice - it's especially remarkable given the quality and visual balance present in the logo, it has a timeless yet modern feel to it. $0.79 for this masterpiece, highway robbery of the artist to say the least.

If you'd like to see more about B&O's typography choices and design architecture I've attached their brand book to this article... I randomly googled it and it was there! Available for download and everything (it's since been removed - but I saved it 😉). Inside you can see that B&O's brand is centred around the font Gotham (a classic) and Tiempos Fine, a crafty modern serif font by Klim type foundry.

Now the imagery in this article is from B&O's 'Exist to create' campaign with collaborators Wednesday Agency and Multidisciplinary studio Man Vs Machine. The campaign was created entirely in CGI and looks to magnify and champion the dedication to quality, construction and materials that is part of the B&O ethos.
The 3D animations place particular emphasis on certain textures and materials by pulling them out of the actual products and displaying them as standalone planks of woods, liquid-like forms and bendy metal textures. There is sparse information about the brand strategy and thinking behind the campaign. But I felt compelled to share the work because of the astonishing quality of the 3D work and the more tactile, enduring and thoughtful Industrial design that goes into B&O's actual products.
The material and texture animations feel strangely familiar on second viewing. And on closer inspection, you discover that the wooden plank animations in one artwork are lifted straight from a B&O TV product. Or the liquid metal blobs in another motion scene are grafted straight from a button on the headphones. It's as if all of the products have been deconstructed into a floating Moodboard of materials like a backwards puzzle in need of sorting.
B&O will be one to watch as they continue to project affluence and ignore the price gauging of their competitors - for years they have stayed true to their luxury market positioning and intense dedication to craft, just make sure to avert your eyes when you see the price tag...

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