Identity design for Free Radio SAIC
Art Direction & Design
Free Radio SAIC (also known simply as Free Radio) is the student-run internet radio station of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). Producers develop shows according to their interests. Examples include: curated mixes, traditional and experimental sound art, narratives, informative or news-oriented talk shows, interviews and live performances. Station membership is open to any SAIC student, faculty, staff or alumni. "It is our goal to encourage the SAIC community to play and expand upon traditional broadcast and to produce original radio experiences."
Free Radio's identity was designed to reflect both the past, the present, and the future.
The color pallet chosen features neon yellows and greens, bright oranges and blues, and invigorating pinks and reds. Oranges, yellows, and blues reflect the design aesthetics from the past (1970s disco and boho), while neon greens and yellows reference the digital age and the devices that allow these neon colors to live and thrive.
Carrying ideas of longevity and malleability, the logomark itself features smooth, geometric letterforms that feel vintage yet new. This is due to the chosen typeface named Gotham (released in 2000), whose letterforms were inspired by examples of architectural signage of the mid-twentieth century.
The use of lowercase lettering helps promote a playful, open attitude without the feeling of unnecessary structure or aggression (which could be associated with large, uppercase lettering.) Streamlined curves and thick lines make the logo strong, fluid, and flexible. It's linear quality and reversed lettering symbolizes the past being pulled into the present.
The free-flow configuration of the "f" and "r" borrow heavily from the shape of analogue sound waves, which dip up and down in a "u" pattern continuously through time. The idea of an endless, free-flowing sound wave pulling its way through the past toward the future is a fantastic way to envision Free Radio SAIC's aura and style in terms of content, experimentation, and community.