Turning the Table: Fidel Peña

A look at amazing work by our 2021 judges

June 18, 2021

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Turning the Table: Fidel Peña

Fidel Peña is a Creative Director and Co-founder of Underline Studio who has worked on projects including identity and branding for the University of Toronto, the Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Harvard Medical School, as well as campaigns and publications for Google, UNHCR The UN Refugee Agency, and Audi, among others. Communication Arts, the Type Directors Club, Laus Awards, Latin American Design Awards, D&AD, and Applied Arts (that’s us!) have lauded him. We were honoured and grateful to have him as judge for our 2021 Design Awards, and were very pleased that he took the time to share a recent favourite project with us.

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Describe for us some unique features of this campaign.

The McMaster Museum of Art is a public gallery in the heart of the McMaster University Campus in Hamilton. The Museum sought a new brand identity that would communicate their Vision of disrupting the traditional museological narrative. To showcase this, we created a brand identity program based upon a logo with the “M” for “Museum” set in parentheses — symbols put around a word to show a remark or passage that departs from the theme of a discourse, in this case the idea of the Museum. The parentheses in the logo also expand, in different applications, to include sentences or works of art, to show that the Museum engages, educates and inspires through inclusivity and diversification.  The brand identity works and functions across a range of promotional collateral including brochures, newsletters, posters, banners and a website.

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Could you give us a “peek” behind the scenes?

The project went on very smoothly, from the first design presentation to the final selection and refinements, with only a small delay in the final selection of colours. We can’t wait for the printed pieces and signage to be rolled out when the Museum re-opens in the Fall.

Why is this particular project a favourite?

We worked directly with their Director and Chief Curator, Carol Podedworny, their Curator of Indigenous Art, Rhéanne Chartrand and their Senior Curator, Pamela Edmonds who are all committed to advancing de-colonization, diversifying the collection and dismantling institutional and ideological boundaries. All concepts we are deeply committed to. They were also excited about developing a brand that was simple, direct and bold which would let the collection shine — all aspects that excite us when creating a brand. In short, a dream project.

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What do you think this made this project a success?

The respect we have for the work they are doing and the respect they have for the work we could do for them. Also, the intelligence and honesty with which they approached the project from the beginning.

You can see more more of Peña's work at the Underline Studio website here, their Instagram here, and his personal Instagram here.

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