Since its inception in 2011, WantedDesign has grown into an essential destination for business and culture, nurturing dialogues around design in NYC and fostering connections within the international design community.
We sat down with WD co founders Odile Hainaut and Claire Pijoulat to talk about the brand and to learn more about the 8 years of collaboration with forceMAJEURE.
It all started when Claire and Odile met in NYC in 2010. Both hailing from France, they were surprised at how often Americans were looking at other cities to stay ahead of the latest trends. What's going on in London? In Milan? In Paris?
At first, it was quite a culture shock —Odile explains her confusion as to why New Yorkers weren't looking into their own city for inspiration. "I mean, we're talking about NYC!” This is where everyone wants to be; the epitome of culture, eclecticism, and sophistication.
And in 2011, WantedDesign was born.
The idea: transforming New York into an international design destination, bringing together the NYC creative community, and building a legitimate design week combining culture and commerce.
The forceMAJEURE brief: building WantedDesign's brand identity, creating all branding and communication materials, keeping the brand on-trend over the years.
Since its inception, WantedDesign's core concept hasn't changed but rather kept growing and solidifying. The idea was to build a design forum rather than a regular trade show —not just about launching new products; it was about human-centered interactions between creatives around a cup of coffee, about new companies—how people are envisioning products, who started them, who designed them. It's a forum for discussion rather than a showcase. WantedDesign fuels conversations, workshops, and brings together companies of all sizes and people of all ages. To communicate that vision, WantedDesign's brand identity is not that of a corporate event, but rather of a cultural gathering with a business undertone.
What's in a name?
Claire and Odile, both French expats in NYC stepped into the American design scene and turned it upside down. They call themselves outlaws; as you would see in old Clint Eastwood movies—Wanted in the Wild West—or the Wild East for that matter. Not only that, but the word "WANTED" holds a certain power behind it; the energy and strength that comes with its pronunciation feels bulletproof. So why WantedDesign? Because Odile and Claire brought with them the long awaited disruption that the design industry was reaching for from across the Atlantic. Because there was an awaited need and extreme desire for an event that would unveil the best of design. Because people wanted the best of design.
To align with WD's audacious name, we—at forceMAJEURE—had to create a bold logo design, visually translating the brand's mission. The WD logo is enclosed between two brackets, creating a physical as well as virtual space, welcoming people into the WD family. As for color, the bright yellow represents energy—in line with the dynamic WD name. The team wanted to do something reflective of New York - and what's more New York than yellow taxi cabs?
Over the years, the goal was to keep the brand identity efficient. Sure—WD is a series of cultural events, but it also means business. The brand is meant to be in constant evolution. It isn't just a place to meet fellow designers but rather a place to inspire new collaborations that will eventually turn into new businesses. At forceMAJEURE, we know what needs to stay—the color, the name, the bold attitude—and what needs to evolve: the predominant shapes went from circular to angular, underlying a sense of belonging and structure; the typeface became bolder and bolder, capturing New York’s unapologetic nature.
Something that significantly changed over the years, was switching from the use of hand-drawn illustrations to photographs. Throughout 8 years of WD events, the team has collected a database of enticing images, bringing a unique look&feel for years to come. Photos refer to past events, encompass the spirit of the show, and add texture and life to the brand.
8 years of collaboration, that's really something!
Year after year, WD and FM have optimized the way they work together. The exciting part? Many have been involved in the project, and different designers have left their mark on WD's brand. Various perspectives and unique skillsets kept the brand enticing.
For the 2018 edition, Michelle Mak , creative director at forceMAJEURE, and longtime lead on the project , was able to refresh and strengthen the brand identity. We can't wait for next year's edition!
So let's talk global impact.
In this day and age, politics cannot go unnoticed, and that is why WD makes a point to address world challenges. As designers, it is our responsibility to assess the outcome of what we put out in the world. Our ecosystem is changing, so our behavior must change too. Last year, WD's thematic —design without borders—was a proof that as an international show, WD's doors are open to anyone. This year, the theme revolves around healthy living and adopting the Zero Waste attitude. Designing with responsibility, anyone?