Cool Concept is a talk series featuring the personal passion projects of designers, illustrators, animators, and other visual creatives in Toronto. I launched the first Cool Concept talk in 2018 with an audience of 100+ people, and it's only grown since.
This series continues today, and serves as a platform for creatives who do amazing work that otherwise lives in obscurity. I love championing designers and others from Toronto specifically, as our work is often overshadowed by work from the States and Europe. Cool Concept is based on the philosophy that there is amazing work being done here by very talented people, who often fly under the radar if they don't work at popular agencies or apply for awards.
That work and those people deserve to be celebrated, and we are all better off for knowing them and learning about how they think.
Since CC is a talk series, I developed the logo with the idea that people were watching, using the O's in "cool" as pupils in the eyes. The eyes serve a secondary purpose in other graphics, where I have them look in different directions, towards a speaker or the work being presented, and they can also be animated to show excitement or surprise.
I wanted to create a mark that could easily be broken down and used in different contexts, with or without the full lockup, while remaining recognizable. You can see how I used this in posters for later events, where the name of the event wasn't as obvious as the eyes and edition number; the eyes serve as a touchstone of the branding, and reinforce the idea that this is an event with spectators.
Fun fact: Cool Concept was almost named "Odd Thought"
See how the eye mark is used in signage and other graphics. A subtle sign that Cool Concept is nearby, without using text.
For every event, I design a poster that anchors all the communications. While other graphics are templated, this initial poster informs the colour palette used to colour code all event promotions and serve as an indication that this is a new addition to the series.
Initially my focus was the eyes from the Cool Concept logo, but over time I moved towards doing something interesting with type and the number of the event, often creating custom numerals.