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African Crossing

African Crossing is an exclusive London-based importer of contemporary African art and design products. African Crossing are a conduit for talented African artists and designers by helping them sell their products in European markets.

The brief was to develop a brand that should make a statement and breakaway from the traditional African craft/curio stigma. African Crossing positions themselves as a hybrid travelling exhibition and a retail operation.

The branding needed to be contemporary and African but avoid the cliché African treatments. Requirements outlined in the client’s brief included ‘non-conventional’ / ‘unexpected’, ‘modern’, ‘but MUST suggest African heritage’, ‘cannot look like a European brand although it must appeal to the average European.’

We enjoyed this small branding project as it provided us with a challenge. The challenge was to convey Africa without being overtly and stereo-typically African! We identified the emergence of Afro-futurism and this has been communicated in the design. The branding also offers 3 key ingredients typical of African design, namely, colour, texture & raw materials. We adopted a very modern take on a well know African craft (wire sculpting) by rendering the wire in 3D. We conceptualised a shape that pays both homage to the shape of Africa and to the circular nature of the globe. The colour palette, based on the rich hues of the metals bronze, copper and platinum, achieves a finish which is slick yet still ties in with its African roots.

The result is a successful harmony between ethnic and contemporary design stylings.

WORDS: firedog