THE award-winning creative studio behind the iconic ‘People Make Glasgow’ brand is now putting its skills towards tackling two of the biggest issues facing the city – homelessness and sustainability.
Tangent has been recruited by Sustainable Glasgow, a partnership formed by leading organisations from the commercial, academic and charity sectors, alongside local government, to create a brand that showcases Glasgow’s ambitions to become the UK’s first carbon neutral city by 2030.
Meanwhile, the firm is working with the Alliance to End Homelessness in its bid to eradicate rough sleeping in Glasgow by 2030. Its newly created brand identity demonstrates the hidden elements of homelessness and how the everyday pressures of life can slowly overwhelm people, while offering a positive message about how the city can come together to tackle the issue.
Andrew Stevenson and David Whyte co-founded Tangent in 2005. Having set up the business straight out of the Glasgow College of Building & Printing, where they met, they never worked in other agencies, instead carving their own path. The studio now boasts a team of eight designers, strategists and writers who specialise in brand strategy, identity, and activation.
David said: “People Make Glasgow showed the impact of good design – it can bring people together. At the time, everyone in the studio lived and worked in Glasgow, and we’re all very proud Glaswegians. That’s why it was so important to us that we did our city justice.
“There’s no formula for these things so putting your work out into the world can be nerve wracking, especially as the bar had been set so high by the previous campaign – Glasgow’s Miles Better. It was a huge relief when the reception was so positive.
“Branding can be really influential in lots of ways, but we’re conscious that for many people it solely represents market forces and commercial interests. We don’t believe talented designers should clock in the hours purely for the pursuit of driving other people’s wealth. We’re more interested in the spaces where design still exists as a form of social communication, helping change attitudes and open people up to new ideas.“
At the start of the pandemic, around 80% of Tangent’s business was under threat, but the studio recognised that, long-term, the pandemic was changing people’s attitudes about what mattered most to them and how we work together as a society.
Andrew added: “Despite the uncertainty, we resisted the temptation to change our offering as a knee-jerk reaction to the pandemic. We always think long-term, and our skills and experience are perfectly aligned with a post-pandemic world – Tangent delivers brands that bring people together, have wider societal impact and support those most in need. We’re small but our clients have the scale and reach to create behavioural change and have impact on a global scale.”
For Tangent, the real power of branding is the ability to change attitudes and open people up to new ideas. One of the studio’s most exciting current projects is the on-going branding work for the Remade Network, a grassroots network of social enterprises geared towards creating jobs, tackling climate change and reducing inequality. The branding work focuses on creating a new mindset – challenging consumerism by encouraging people to consider fixing household items before replacing them.
Tangent is helping many businesses to encourage others to become more environmentally friendly. With the global food system accounting for 30% of greenhouse gas emission, Tangent is working with Levy, part of Compass Group, the world’s largest contract caterer, to showcase their journey to Net Zero in the UK by 2027.
Meanwhile, with the built environment accounting for 40% of the UK’s emissions, Tangent is preparing to launch a new brand for Construction Scotland Innovation Centre with an ambitious but critical mission – for Scotland’s built environment to reach zero carbon by 2045.
The agency also counts Eden Mill, who are building Scotland’s first climate positive distillery in St Andrews, as one of its clients. This is a new chapter in their brand story – as they plan for further global expansion, Tangent has overhauled their brand and full product portfolio with sustainability as the driving force.