Color Intelligence - PDN Photo Annual Winner: Pantone and Sub Rosa Discuss the “Make It Brilliant℠” Campaign
PANTONE Color Institute

PDN Photo Annual Winner: Pantone and Sub Rosa Discuss the "Make It Brilliant" Campaign


Pantone Color Institute
May 18, 2015

On the heels of Pantone’s ‘Make It Brilliant’ campaign being chosen as a winner of the PDN Photo Annual for 2015, we reached out to Sub Rosa to discuss their reaction to being honored. Natalie Sims, Design Director at Sub Rosa shares with us their thoughts and the design direction that lead to the award winning photo.

PDN Photo Annual Winner: “Make it Brilliant℠” photographed by Sarah Silver
PDN Photo Annual Winner: “Make it Brilliant℠” photographed by Sarah Silver
Pantone: Can you tell us a little about your role at Sub Rosa?

Natalie: I'm the Design Director at Sub Rosa, which involves my working closely with both the Design and Strategy teams to coordinate conceptual and aesthetic direction, establish compelling visual language and ensure that creative output is well-crafted and with purpose. The Design team embodies 'the how' of what we do here – we are the makers and manifestors. We take 'the what' and 'the why,' and we create something new. Design, at its core, is in the service of revealing links between objects and ideas, and it is our job to manipulate the system of graphic design in order to make meaningful visual connections that perhaps didn't exist prior. The good work that makes those connections always starts with good listening; and I take care to be an active participant during all formative conversations with a client, so that I can assemble the right team of thinkers and makers to tackle each new design challenge that comes our way. And as an educator in spirit, I regularly devote time to helping the team develop awareness and mastery over the perceptual and rhetorical tools of our trade, so that they may apply them to be better creative, critical thinkers along the way.

Along with Sub Rosa's CEO, I also lead the design and editorial process for a bi-annual publication put out by the organization called La Petite Mort. I art direct the magazine and solicit rotating members of the team to work with me on bringing each new issue to life, so that the look and feel is consistently morphing to suit the content and represent the contributors. I also author the magazine's popular astrology column, which merges my version of a horoscope with the over-arching theme of each issue (e.g. rebirth, taboo, habits, etc).

Pantone: Did Sub Rosa’s relationship with Pantone begin with the Make it Brilliant campaign?

Natalie: The Make It Brilliant campaign was the product of a longer-term strategy assignment that began in the early part of 2013. The work created a deeper and more deliberate positioning for Pantone, founded on rooting them as the authority in all things color, and ‘Make It Brilliant’ was the campaign that brought this to life. The aim was to create inspiring and evocative visuals which reflected Pantone’s ingenuity and originality, as well as the playful nature the brand is known and loved for by consumers. This work created the foundation for our second opportunity to work with Pantone as we crafted the launch campaigns for the Color of the Year in 2014 and 2015.

Pantone Color of the Year 2015 Marsala
Pantone Color of the Year 2015 Marsala
Pantone: Sub Rosa recently completed the ‘Color Evolved’ campaign for the launch of our new artist covers. How did the creative for that campaign come about?

Natalie: The new Pantone Graphic Products campaign, "Color, Evolved." was designed to speak to designers of all stripes, with bold statements and tiny flourishes alike. Using tools-of-the-trade from the last 50+ years, we took a storytelling-led approach wherein the components of each scene depict a progression in time relative to the objects displayed. A gradient of “old,” desaturated desktop tools on the left gradually transitions into timely, vivid tools and graphic objects on the right, with each vignette subtly addressing differences between the profiles of the primary users of each product. Hidden within all the images are charming details that can be cropped in on and used in different channels, further endearing the campaign to designers and provoking (bonus) brand love. "Color, Evolved." it’s the promise of 2015/16.

Pantone 'Color Evolved' Formula Guide Artist Cover 2015
Pantone 'Color Evolved' Formula Guide Artist Cover 2015
Pantone: What was Sub Rosa’s reaction to finding out the art direction for ‘Make it Brilliant’ was chosen as a winner of the PDN Photo Annual 2015?

Natalie: We were thrilled to hear Make It Brilliant and Sarah Silver were recognized in this year's PDN awards! As the inaugural campaign to launch the tagline – Make It Brilliant – into the world, we had the added pressure of doing justice to the brand's new promise whilst not excluding any one of their consumer groups or company verticals. The choice to use light as the medium for color was in response to this inherent challenge. And even more appropriately, it was a way to communicate the true brilliance of the colorful world Pantone affords us. Everyone involved poured a lot of heart into this campaign, and we couldn't be more proud that the world noticed!

Pantone: What can we expect from Sub Rosa for 2015 and beyond?

Natalie: Our vision includes achieving a well-understood global reputation for meaningful solutions on behalf of brands, cultural institutions, governments, NGOs, and the like. Sub Rosa will continue to be sought out for sophisticated yet practically effective experience design that can scale and localize on a global scale to address ubiquitous human challenges and opportunities. We seek to be an aspirational place to work for the best-intentioned and brightest people for generations to come; and to continue to explore, learn and grow, into the best version of ourselves.


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