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Jupiter CT's creative work for Virgin Radio rolled out internationally

14 July, 2016

Virgin Radio

A truly collaborative approach sees Virgin Radio come to life

How do you make sound visible and interactive? How do you show listeners of your radio station that you’re not only broadcasting out, but also inviting conversations in? And how do you combine traditional and digital media to visually represent a radio station that is ‘Always listening out for you’?

If you’re Virgin Radio International, the world’s largest radio station group with 14 radio stations around the globe, you entrust your brand’s identity to a team at the tip of South Africa, The Jupiter Drawing Room Cape Town.

Pitching against international agencies, Executive Creative Director of Design at Jupiter Cape Town, Joanne Thomas, and her team were awarded the account and took on the formidable task of evolving the old Virgin Radio logo and creating a visual identity for the parent company, Virgin Radio International.

The brief was to refresh the brand’s identity in a way that drives brand development, works across multiple types of media, and amplifies the unique personality of each individual regional station. The biggest challenge was finding a solution that not only creates a consistent look and feel for the parent company, but also allows each of the regional stations to adapt it to suit their style.

Jupiter CT's creative work for Virgin Radio rolled out internationally

Thomas explains the agency’s approach: “Virgin Radio’s brand promise is ‘Always listening out for you’, so we wanted the identity to feel responsive and dynamic, where the logo was a living entity. We needed a way to show what Virgin Radio is all about, namely sound, and we needed it to stand out visually too. So, using the star from Virgin Radio logo as our starting point, we explored the use of cymatics.”

Cymatics is the study of sound and vibrations made visible through patterns that are formed when a sound frequency is introduced to a medium like water or fine grains of salt and sand.

It was a truly collaborative project in every sense of the word. Rob Brinkworth from Resonate Sound developed sound frequencies and all the equipment required to create different cymatic patterns. Gavin Coetzee and the team at Jupiter then set out to photograph and film the entire process.

The footage and photographic images were used to create an identity for the global parent brand, and inspired each regional Virgin Radio station. The cymatic patterns not only represent the nature of the brand, but also how listeners respond to sound. “We used this as a simple analogy: the star represents a Virgin radio station, the sound frequency is the input from its listeners, and the resulting pattern is the stations individual broadcasting style.”

Jupiter CT's creative work for Virgin Radio rolled out internationally

Using augmented reality (AR), Jupiter also applied the identity to static media like stationary, making even the Virgin Radio business cards an interactive experience. “By scanning the card with an AR app on your phone, the logo comes to life as you can scan over it and the user is able to automatically save the details for that business card to their phone.” This same approach is pulled through to email signatures which are animated too.

“We applied the identity to elements like an interactive website with the help of web company, Jamdonut. As we began working on the project, it evolved every single day. To make the brand responsive and give the feeling that it’s ‘Always listening out for you’, the site features bold, graphic, interpretations of the cymatics, the Virgin logo, and its visual identity. As users navigate the site, it responds dynamically to their mouse cursor’s or finger’s movement, affecting the shape and colours of the cymatic patterns.”

To enhance the site experience further, we amplified it with sound pertinent to each region. The original black and white cymatics footage was used for the parent brand, Virgin Radio International, while each region’s station is represented by unique graphic versions of the cymatic patterns and colours inspired by their national flag.

It took just short of a year to see the Virgin Radio brand promise: “Always listening out to you’ come to life. Unlike other campaigns where you pitch an idea and set about creating that one idea, this campaign literally evolved in front of our eyes every day. Working with some of the best creative talent in the industry, we are incredibly proud of what has been produced, and the quality of work that is now being rolled out in in each market by their respective agencies.”


Virgin Radio Campaign:

Designer: Alwine Nolte
Executive Creative Director: Joanne Thomas
Animators: Alwine Nolte, Altus Brandt, Jo Thomas
Writers: Lynette Lawley-Day, Ayesha Daniels
Account management: Cait Edgecombe, Jane Rowlinson, Alison Pegg
Production managment: Susann Kompa, Julie Gardiner
Sound design and cymatic engineering: Rob Brinkworth of Resonate Sound
Digital agency: Jamdonut
Web development: James Gray, Nikki Burchell, Ben-Piet O'Callaghan
Cinematography and Photography: Gavin Coetzee and Gerhard Pretorius

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