When I think of World Chess Championship, branding does not immediately pop into my mind. To me, chess is a difficult and intellectually stimulating game for serious people. I imagine everyone super focused on their next chess move and not on the visual elements of the championship. ShuKa Design, a studio in Moscow, blew me away with their abstract, playful visual system for the 2016 World Chess Championship in NYC. They designed everything from the navigation to posters/ads to merchandise to interior design.
Their unexpected approach to branding captivated my attention right away. I honestly expected to see a stiff, corporate aesthetic. Instead, Shuka Design created engaging graphics with lots of movement to represent the thought process of a chess player. Also, the imperfect style gave the overall brand a human touch. Overall, the graphics reminded me of charming doodles. I loved how they took the classic black and white colors of the chessboard and gave the visual system a delightful twist.
According to Shuka Design, “In the endgame — no merchandise was left unsold. No visitor was unable to navigate the halls of Fulton Market building, which hosted the match. All that was left at the end was the spirit of intellectual competition.”
In conclusion, who says chess can’t be lively and artistic? Sign me up for the next World Chess Championship! I definitely won’t be participating, but I’ll buy the well-branded merchandise and silently observe.0