Opinion by Richard Baird.
Run Mfg is an independent race design and production company, creating unique running events with a high-level of detail and creativity, founded by husband and wife team Nathan Barnhart and Elaine Lau working from their studio in Chicago. Nathan and Elaine commissioned graphic design studio Perky Bros to develop a brand identity that would link a variety of printed collateral, which included business cards and race plans, with digital experience. Brand identity is characterised by a series of paths, an electric blue and white colour palette, and a sense of motion.
Inspired by the loops of shoelaces, drawing on race routes to create image and words, working in an element of planning and construction through type choice and colour, and the technological in iconography and website build, Perky Bros manage to bring together the key aspects that make up the Run Mfg brand.
There are moments of the more obvious, particularly in the expanding and contracting nature of logo, its start and finish points, and the race routes that it forms, but this is paired with an element of planning and construction in the use of visible grids, blue print colour and the angular shapes of Linteo’s Replica. It is this that gives the work a more layered and nuanced quality.
Some of the imagery created by the paths appear a touch awkward, particularly type (above), but also in the working together structured shoelace and the more erratic nature of race routes. The former does not read particularly well (but does make for a strong graphic impression) while the latter is very clear in its reference. Although the is an unmistakable continuity in the use of logo to start and finish a variety of paths and a consistency in the single line weight, some of the ideas appear fragmented. Typesetting of business card, which has a strong sense of direction, and the way that a blue line runs through the centre of the business cards are neat little details.
Colour palette, much like the use of paths and type, find a balance between multiple ideas. The space conscious and planning references, energy and a bit of the architectural comes through in the use of white and the blue of blue prints across stationery, and the hits of yellow and green amongst a cool grey online.
Perky Bros find a balance between planning, construction and running paths, the robust and the energetic,delivered in both static and dynamic forms in print and online. There is variety, visual impact and a clear sense of continuity in the use of monolinear lines, both to engage as pattern and to inform as iconography, and in the use of a blue and white colour palette. More work by Perky Bros on BP&O.