December 2021

So… was the end of anyone else’s year a little different than expected?

December 2021

I should preface the rest of this piece by saying it’s being written by me on my studio Mac in my bedroom at home, because we’re all unexpectedly working from home again, much to the extremely mixed feelings of everyone at the studio. What was going to be a very jolly round up of 2021 is therefore tinged with some bitterness. Bear with.

“We survived (I suppose ‘continue to survive’ is really more apropos) the pandemic as a business.”

In many ways this was a triumphant year for Tangent! We survived (I suppose ‘continue to survive’ is really more apropos) the pandemic as a business. We added a spectacular project manager to our team. We delivered significant work for not one but two massive global events. We worked on many projects dear to us and added several brilliant new clients to our growing list of favourites. We seamlessly transitioned from home working to studio working (to home working again I guess) - give or take a few fights with Microsoft Teams. A good year! But in these weird times it’s sometimes difficult to remind yourself of all the successes. That’s what this is for.

We started the year the way we meant to continue it: by working obsessively on Expo 2020. It’s literally been teased in these pages for an entire year now - our full case study on it is coming, we promise. It was just such a huge event to work on and commanded so much time, effort and brain space, that it’s been necessary to have a bit of a break from thinking about it for a while! Rest assured, in 2022 we will have a case study up for the work we did for Expo 2020. That’s a sentence that makes much more sense these days, when time means nothing and a week lasts a month and a year lasts a week.

“Our campaign featured illustrations by Linn Fritz and evoked the kind of optimism and community spirit that the book festival stands for, especially in these times.”

Longtime clients Eden Mill launched, with our help, an updated brand identity simultaneously with - because they love a challenge - nine entire new gins. The new look was applied across two ranges: Premium and Heritage, and introduced the world to their new eco-conscious glass bottle, which was designed and manufactured in the UK using 18% less glass than the industry standard. This climate conscious ethos is something you can get used to with Eden Mill, who plan to open at least part of their revolutionary carbon neutral distillery in 2022.

Eden Mill are natural storytellers, and their new identity puts that proclivity front and centre. Each new product was born out of myths, historic anecdotes and both local and far flung legends. We worked with illustrator Ella Ginn to bring the stories to life, and each bottle’s illustration contains multitudes - spot the snake in the Garden of Eden in Forbidden Gin, the tiny initial necklaces on bitter rival queens Mary and Elizabeth in Red Snapper, and the famous Tiger Woods hotel key in the Eden Mill classic Golf Gin.

Speaking of long term clients, 2021 was our twelfth annual campaign for the Edinburgh International Book Festival! This year’s hybrid event was the first of its kind for the erstwhile festival, though I’m quite sure it won’t be its last. In their new home at Edinburgh College of Art, they hosted live events as well as online, and saw the triumphant return of their iconic bookshop. Our campaign featured illustrations by Linn Fritz and evoked the kind of optimism and community spirit that the book festival stands for, especially in these times.

“It’s long been a fundamental part of Tangent to focus on work that we really care about, and that we feel can make difference.”

This year we also began working with Construction Scotland Innovation Centre; initially on a rebrand, which is still in progress - but it’s a partnership that’s grown quite happily this year, with us delivering an identity for one of their initiatives Accelerate to Zero, site branding for their Innovation Factory, and a whole lot of brand work for COP26, for which CSIC hosted a 11 day showcase on sustainable practises within the construction sector. Our work with these clients led us neatly into several projects for COP26, which have been written about elsewhere on this site: People Make Glasgow Greener, Sustainable Glasgow, Get Ready Glasgow, GenZero, Transforming Timber and arecipeforchange.com, with Levy Restaurants, who have commissioned us in 2022 to help them roll out their low carbon, climate conscious approach to event catering across more of their locations.

It’s long been a fundamental part of Tangent to focus on work that we really care about, and that we feel can make difference. In addition to the eco-conscious work we did for and adjacent to COP26, we were delighted this year to continue working with our friends at Remade Network, helping them open a new location in Victoria Road. Remade Network is working towards a future where a circular, repair oriented economy is the norm, and we’re looking forward to the successes they’ll achieve in 2022.

Another long term client of 2021 was the Glasgow Alliance to End Homelessness, for which we completed a full brand identity, website, and just recently a winter campaign: Get Help Glasgow.

Other charities we’ve partnered with this year include the children’s charity Connect, for which we created a new identity; YPeople, for which we are still in the midst of finessing their new identity and website (due to launch early next year); and charity consultancy firm Eastside Primetimers.

“Tangent has some huge plans for the next few months.”

In the last throes of 2021 we were delighted to be awarded new work with the Homelessness World Cup. This is very new, so we can’t say much, but more coming on this in the next few months! We also won work with Progressive Alliance, an organisation dedicated to changing the political system in order to change society.

In studio news, we were delighted to get the gang back together for a good five months there! The vast majority of our plants survived the 18 or so months with only occasional attention (our giant, stolen pothos is still greatly missed, RIP) and it was good to not hear the daily shriek of the Skype ringtone. We managed to host a couple of interns in the summer, which was nice - Tessa was fundamental to our work on Transforming Timber and also contributed Tangent’s Fedrigoni 365 2022 entry, while Amy was brilliant as we developed the identity for Connect Alloa. We spent a few nice afternoons in the pub, including a Christmas lunch that was just early enough to still be allowed, and we went axe throwing, where Sian showed everyone else up with her ridiculous latent axe throwing ability.

2022 starts off different in many ways to 2021 - and in some upsettingly familiar ways as well. Tangent has some huge plans for the next few months though, and we’re looking forward to being back together in the same space soon to put them into action.