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Best of Behance: Made of Electricity

By Jenny Carless

Who: Bartosz Włodarczyk and Bartłomiej Walczuk

What: Art Direction, Branding, Typography

Where: https://www.behance.net/gallery/48373365/RWE-Made-of-electricity

Behance member since: 2012 and 2008, respectively

Made of Electricity is only the second collaboration by Bartosz Włodarczyk and Bartłomiej Walczuk, friends and designers based in Warsaw, Poland—and they seem to be on to something.

Their first effort won the Polish stage of the Cannes Lions Young Creatives competition (Design category) in 2016.

“That assignment was to name and design a drinking space for Żywiec beer, “Włodarczyk explains. “We came up with the concept of ‘Wiecznie Ż’ (Eternal Life)—a place that always lives and a beer that always flows there.”

Both Włodarczyk and Walczuk are self-taught designers. They met while working at the 180heartbeats + JUNG v. MATT advertising agency.

Walczuk studied psychology of media, which helps him with advertising, but his roots are in graphic design. Włodarczyk gained his experience from books, hard work, and learning from great colleagues. He graduated from Poznań University of Technology as a civil-engineering constructor.  

LOOKING TO THE FUTURE WITH A NOD TO THE PAST

RWE asked 180heartbeats + JUNG v. MATT (Walczuk and Włodarczyk) to create temporary branding, for a period of time before RWE was to become Innogy. (Innogy, a subsidiary of the German energy company RWE, was created in 2016 by splitting some of the RWE businesses into a separate entity.)

The team designed a custom typeface (bottom) inspired by circuitry diagrams (top).

“Because we knew that they would go through a further massive rebranding, we kept the color from RWE’s brand and created a visual language that took from Innogy’s existing brand, to make the transition easier,” they explain. “By keeping the RWE colors, and as the design itself speaks for electricity, we knew it would be easier for people to digest this transition.”

Neon was a natural choice for the branding.

“Here in Warsaw, we love neon,” Walczuk says. “It’s a part of our visual culture, partially destroyed by the war.

“One aspect of this project is that we created a design that just clicks in your mind when you see it: ‘OK, it’s a new RWE thing, it’s electric,’” he continues. “We placed neon signs in popular sites around Warsaw. It just felt like the right thing to do.”   

Włodarczyk and Walczuk created a typeface and a set of illustrations—simplified versions of which were used to create the neon signs—as well as seats, flags, balloons, Facebook posts, and animated posts—and a lot more. In everything, they focused the design on the transition of RWE into Innogy.

“Innogy’s branding features a lot of vector illustrations that follow the company’s main sign,” Walczuk says. “We created something that’s based on electricity but is also very similar to the original Innogy designs.”  

RWE liked the team’s work so much that the project scope grew significantly as the job progressed.

“This visual language is really easy to create and to react with it,” Włodarczyk explains. “The cool thing is that the client recognized this potential and allowed us to expand the design.” 

The two relied heavily on Adobe Illustrator CC for this project. “It’s a religion,” Walczuk says. For analog work, he works with Molotow markers.

A NOT-SO-TRANSITORY BRAND

The very nature of this project is its ephemeralness.

“It’s a transition branding—something we knew was going to die,” Włodarczyk says.

But because the pair drew on icons from Poland’s cultural and artistic heritage as the inspiration for their designs, the actual neon signs that were created as part of the branding will live on—at Warsaw’s Neon Museum: As RWE is a sponsor of the museum, the signs will be transferred there after the rebranding is done.

See more of this project on Behance.