Tokyo-based Aircord are a creative studio working at the forefront of technology and blurring the boundaries between the real and virtual worlds. Aircord combine digital and analogue techniques to visualise concepts and stories, investigating the margins between simulations and live events with a process built on extensive prototyping. These have so far taken the form of the music video, advertising campaign, art installation and other interactive events. We produced an angular, opinionated visual identity for them that stresses the unorthodox nature of their work.
Inspiration for a suitably futuristic approach was suggested by a chance encounter with the past. On a visit to the Paolo Orsi Archaeological Museum in Syracuse, Sicily, among the ancient treasures on display was a pithos (a type of large earthenware storage jar) from 6-7th century Greece. Dedicated to Athena, goddess of wisdom and warfare, this had a distinctive letter A scratched into its rim; the angularity and position of the cross-bar on the letterform was radical and unexpected. This became the starting point for the identity, transplanting the ancient into the modern. We produced a typeface whose characters possess multiple generative variants on each letterform and which works on various levels of abstraction. The identity’s attitude is further influenced by the feedback loop between the organic and the synthetic that lies behind Aircord’s philosophy.
The identity is a dynamic, protean experience, with a structure that unfolds across multiple iterations. The colour palette is built on the stark use of black and white, with interruptions of colour from oceanic blue to soft pink. A range of animations treat the lettering not just as carriers of meaning but as shapes to be explored, while posters highlight the striking A-form with fluid trails of colour that suggest the bleed of the digital into the analogue. Environmental graphics and signage complete the transformation of Aircord’s studio space. The Aircord identity has won a number of design awards in Japan.