The View From Skew | June 2024

Brand Strategy 6 minutes reading
The View From Skew | June 2024
TL:DR Skew’s creative team shares their insights, inspiration and intelligence on everything design and branding.""

In this month's View From Skew, the team got together to share new social platforms for creatives, their favourite brand/illustrator collaborations, and Senior Designer Flo walked us through her investigation into creating consistent lifestyle images in Midjourney. For the first time we've also added some quick hits straight out of the gate for the busy designer looking for a shot of inspiration on the go:

Quick Hits of Inspiration

Meta, Never Heard of Her

With social media platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest being ever increasingly monetised, where do creatives go when they want to avoid the doom scroll and distracting cat videos? This month Alix shared a couple of platforms that provide a smorgasbord of inspirational imagery, minus the adverts and influencers.

Cosmos: "a Pinterest alternative for creatives"

After signing up for a free account, you can search for ideas or curate ‘clusters’ (boards) by selecting ‘elements’ (images). Although a very similar premise to Pinterest, the images are undoubtedly of a higher quality with an overall more premium feel to the curation. Not to mention there isn’t a single advert in sight. Although it may take some time for the algorithm to catch up to your tastes, we'd say it’s worth the wait if you’re looking for elevated inspiration.

Cara: a direct response to Meta’s data scraping and downturn in engagement

Most of our designers are artists or illustrators, so this platform has caught the attention of the studio. At the end of last year, Meta announced that they have been using all images posted on their sites to train their AIs. There is an option to opt out, but (obviously) they have made the process difficult, and it doesn’t apply to any work posted before you are ‘approved’ to opt out. In steps photographer Jingna Zhang, who created Cara with her own money and runs the platform alongside a group of volunteers passionate about protecting artists' work. They have also teamed up with Glaze, which is "a system designed to protect human artists by disrupting style mimicry. At a high level, Glaze works by understanding the AI models that are training on human art and using machine learning algorithms, computing a set of minimal changes to artworks, such that it appears unchanged to human eyes but appears to AI models like a dramatically different art style." Find out more about Glaze here.

Cara is still a little glitchy in places, understandably due to the self-funded nature of the project and recent influx of users looking for an alternative to Instagram and Meta’s data-scrape antics. However, if you are a creative, we would recommend securing your handle now, just in case it blows up.

Artistic Attire

Staying with the theme of artists, the team shared some of their favourite illustrator and brand collaborations. Senior Designer Flo highlighted Anne Gabillot, an Argentinean creator who has teamed up with Adidas for a bright and bold collection, ‘Court Fun.’ To celebrate the launch of the first Adidas store in Latin America, Gabillot fuses her signature colourful style with the brand's famous logo, adding a sense of playfulness and whimsy.

Then skipping to the other side of the Atlantic, Irish illustrator Laura Callaghan has joined forces with cult East-London-based brand Lazy Oaf. Previous collections from this dream team have drawn inspiration from Stonehenge and trashy romance novels. The latest offering, named "Beauty is Terror" based on a quote from Donna Tartt in The Secret History, "Beauty is terror. Whatever we call beautiful, we quiver before it." This satirical collection plays with the idea of conventional beauty standards and the lengths people go to for aesthetic perfection. The accompanying faux beauty editorial also uses the "Gen X soft club" aesthetic that we’re seeing everywhere at the moment. Check it out here.

AI Experimentation

At Skew, we are constantly experimenting to see how we can use AI to create better workflows and efficiency within the studio, whilst also offering the best service to our clients. As part of each designer's role, they are tasked with an innovation project which can be part of a live brief or outside client work to ensure we’re staying on top of developments in technology. Senior designer, Flo, has been experimenting with AI, with a particular focus on mock-up presentation. In the past few weeks, she has been using Midjourney to create consistent look book images that maintain the aesthetic of a particular brand. Here’s the process she’s been trialling:

  1. Collecting images of photoshoot styles alongside interesting products that work with the brand’s style.

  2. Uploading the images to Midjourney and asking it to describe how it would describe the image. This part is key in providing an understanding of how the programme ‘views’ the images.

  3. Then Flo uses the description given to her by Midjourney to create very specific prompts.

  4. Using versioning, we can create a series of images that fit with the brand’s overall look whilst also being consistent, creating a lifestyle look book.

Ready to try something Skew?

At Skew, we specialise in crafting strategic creative that resonates with your audience. Whether you’re looking to create a compelling brand identity or developing an exciting brand extension, our expert team are here to bring your vision to life. Get in touch today to take your brand to the next level.

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