Focus’ 4 Hour Brief – Iconography

By Laura Parker / Creative , Inside the agency / 22nd July 2021

Our design studio is full of widely-talented, creative designers who dream up clever design work for our clients every day. With a range and variety of work making its way through the studio, we wanted to test their resolve with a more unique challenge – a four hour brief set by Jason, our Creative Director.

Each month we’re giving members of the studio just 4 hours to answer a relatively open brief, allowing them to take off the gloves and get creative with less limitation. First up, Iconography with a very topical theme…

The brief

Produce 3x icons to sit as a part of a seamless iconographic set as if part of the Olympic Games.

The rules:

  1. You choose the city – which in turn inspires the style and graphical language the iconography follows;
  2. You choose the three sporting events to create icons for.

Here’s how three of the team got on:

Will Baxter – Tokyo 2021

Focusing on the clean, bold designs of Japanese symbols and the contrasting traditional, messy painting style.

Using the historic colours of Japan; red and black with accompanying colours in fitting with the Olympic theme.


What Jason had to say…

I thought what Will created was really strong… He completely delivered the set of uniform and themed icons which the brief asked for. From a style perspective, I think it cleverly took a recognisable, cultural style and distilled it down into a simplified and distinctly Japanese look which had real character. Then from a technical perspective it had all the hallmarks of good iconography: uniformity; consistency; brevity; clarity and personality. That ability to simplify something complex into only a few component parts, yet deliver clear communication encapsulated what iconography is all about. A really nice piece of work.

Becki McConaky – Los Angeles 2028

Using fluid, free-flowing lines that reflect the energy of the skate culture and street lifestyle of LA.

With a bold vibrant colour palette inspired by the LA sunsets and city lights.

Jason’s feedback…

Becki did a good job in capturing the spirit and energy of the city and weaving it into her execution. The youthful spirit and popular culture theme posed an interesting concept of modernising an established organisation – something which the London 2012 Olympics did and although became divisive, I personally really liked. Style-wise the colours, energy and dynamism in the line art gave it a strong personality. Thinking more technically, a consistent and uniform approach was clearly evident, but I with more time (that’s where the 4 hours become a big test) the icons themselves could be refined further and simplified to be give greater clarity and be more versatile. Still a great attempt though nevertheless.

Charlotte Alexander – Paris 2024

These designs are inspired by the artistic, energetic and revolutionary feel of Paris whilst reflecting its value of tradition by retaining specific characteristics across the icon set.

Each design is made up of only the Olympic Rings colours – blue, red, green, yellow and black. Strokes are free-flowing and alive like paint strokes. Each design is limited to three strokes of each colour to reflect unity and equality.

Jason’s thoughts…

Charlotte did a good job of finding and then fully committing to a theme. The artistic style she was aiming for came through in the flowing, elegant lines and I got the intended sense of traditional Olympic values across her theme. I thought her illustrations were engaging and had a kind of Parisian energy to them in the way they flowed – something I think could of been accentuated further had the colours been based solely around the the French ‘Tricolore’. Technically, I liked the uniformity of the design and thought the theme was characterful, strong and evident throughout. A well thought-out proposal.

We were super impressed with what our team were able to create in just 4 hours!

Which one was your favourite? Let us know on social! We’ll be bringing a new challenge every month so keep a lookout for next month’s.

Share this story

Laura Parker

Written by

Laura Parker

Laura is our Marketing Manager at Focus. She is busy taking Focus' content strategy to the next level and spreading the word about our bustling agency. When she's not attached to Instagram, you'll find her following cute dogs around and playing rugby.