【sf-0122】 bcg, design system, 2022
Early 2021 the Brand and Creative Strategy team at BCG reached out to us at someform Studio with an exciting proposal - not only to explore 3D imagery for BCG’s brand identity, but even more so with a proposal to change the way how our clients can utilize our design systems. The result of this exploration led to the first of their kind unique branding visuals that can create themselves.

After discovering our automation-driven 3D project #rachaelisnotreal (the world’s first fully automated 3D design influencer), the global brand and design team at BCG saw an opportunity
to commission us with a design exploration that would ultimately result in an application that could become a working design solution for BCG’s corporate branding. For us, this was the client we have been waiting for - a client that shares our vision for the future of AI and automation and is willing to commit to such an innovative new approach to design.

Together we set out to create an automated design system implemented into a sophisticated tool running on Unreal Engine 5, that generates unique, fully rendered, high resolution 3D commercial brand visuals within seconds.

But every journey starts with the first step, therefore we began our process with the development of a unique visual language. Starting with creating concepts, defining a visual style, aligning creative content and production of the final creative assets. All this aligned with BCG-specific purpose, principles, values as well as multiple areas of expertise. In the process of collaboration it was highly important for us to make sure that the BCG 3D world reflects their business as best as possible.
We developed a design language that speaks to the diversity of topics the company engages with, offers the flexibility to adapt to a variety of different usages, and holds the potential to scale at large for the future of the brand. In an extensive initial development phase, someform created three elaborate design systems that use abstract objects, each with their own meaning, to build large sculptures that represent BCGs expertise in a meaningful way.

For “Climate & Sustainability” we created sculptures that reflect on the fragility of our ecosystem and symbolize the challenge of balancing all factors in order to bring a sustainable positive change.

For “Digital & AI” we took inspiration from the beauty of programming languages and created floating stacks that appear from chaotic arrangements; symbolizing the complexity of the digital space and how BCG finds order within it,  building the best solutions for their clients.

For “BCG Core Brand” we created minimalistic curated arrangements of just a few objects, selected from a chaotic cloud of options, to visualize the intellectual solutions that BCG offers to their clients, picking and combining the right pieces to find the right answer to the most important questions.

And we didn’t stop there: This elaborate new image world became the foundation of a complex highly sophisticated automated design system that would enable our client to generate their own imagery on demand: The BCG Image Generator.

Each image generated is unique and created dynamically based on the design principles that were defined earlier in the process. The tool offers a variety of options for the user to choose from; such as selecting the design system, format, background colour and custom options per system. On top of that the user can still alter the camera and crop after the generation of the sculpture, thereby gaining a wide amount of control to achieve the desired image. Once the desired result is achieved, the image can be rendered with the built-in pathtracer at high resolutions and saved out as a PNG file for further use in our client’s marketing needs.  

Currently the software supports three systems, each having its own custom design behaviour. You can find out more about each topic in the conceptual deep dive below.

【standalone application】
The final product of this design development process, the BCG Image Generator, is a standalone software based on Unreal Engine 5 that generates abstract 3D compositions within the defined design system with the click of a button. While the standard rendering process would take multiple hours per image, the “BCG Image Generator” produces unique, fully rendered, high resolution images in under a minute.
Future iterations of the tool could include expanded features, such as new visual objects, new behaviours, new compositions, color palettes, formats and a system for generating animations on the fly.

【generated imagery】

【Conceptual Deep Dive】

The conceptual deep dive of this project elaborates further on the three concepts that have been created for BCG prior to the development of the software and give an insight into the conceptual thinking behind each of them. 
During this inital design development phase, we created multiple assets, including a few animations. These assets were rendered using a traditional path tracer workflow and served as the visual benchmark for the generative application. 

【BCG Core Brand】
The main visual system is the BCG Core Brand. This concept emphasizes the narrative of finding order in chaos - choosing the right components in a multitude of options to prepare a custom solution every time, which represents the core mission of BCG. It leverages all 3D objects combined, reflecting multiple areas of expertise, including Digital & AI and Climate & Sustainability.
The system comprises of two compositional approaches: The solution - a delicate combination of only a handful selected objects, packed together tightly to form an almost typographic statement; and the so-called cloud compositions - unorganized loose clusters of floating objects. 

【Digital Transformation】
The foundational visual rule of the “Digital system” is the idea of stacking abstract three-dimensional objects in a loose floating array. The compositions as such interpret the BCG core theme of “transformation” by illustrating how a more chaotic loose bundle of objects is being organized into a sorted stack. Aesthetically it’s a reflection on the linear arrangement of programming languages,
which iterate through a stack of commands to achieve the desired result. We emphasized this connection further by implementing specific rules in the stack, e.g. controlled object repetition, brackets always appear in open and closed pairs “<>” and more. The generation of the stacks happens fully procedural and the amount of chaos in the stacks can be dialed in by the user manually.

【Climate & Sustainability】
“Climate & Sustainability” is all about finding the balance between societal impact and the delicate aspects of our natural world. Therefore the core design approach of this system consisted in finding balance points between abstract objects in order to construct a well-balanced but delicate sculpture. The variety of abstract objects used within “Climate & Sustainability”
represent both natural and human factors. The automated system is fully dynamic and balance points are evaluated at runtime based on the chosen objects. An alternative variation of the system emulates a circular visual arrangement that represents the circle of life, the circular economy and a holistic approach to sustainability.

With the ever-growing demand for marketing material and the growing popularity of a variety of different platforms, each with their own specific needs in terms of formats and resolutions, it is essential to find a solution that can cater to all those requirements dynamically, without having to go through the labor-intensive manual process of creating every single image by hand.

An automated design system is exactly that solution: A custom-built software that uses modern rendering technology and the power of automation to create high resolution images within seconds, thereby giving our client the ability to create their own image content whenever needed.
Our focus has always been on the design and conceptualization of visual systems, ideas and concepts. Once we’ve created a design system and defined the rules that become the foundation of each composition, those rules can be automated. Thereby we empower our clients to use the design systems created as a whole, rather than having to rely on just a few images. The true power of this solution lies in its scalability - once the groundwork of the software has been established, we can continuously expand its capabilites to build a dynamic generative application that can define and shape the visual appearance of a brand for years to come.

Design & Direction
someform Studio

Creative Team
Matthias Winckelmann, Helge Kiehl, Dominik Grejc, Santi Zoraidez, Chris Hoffmann, Julius Steinhauser, Bartosz Kaminski, Yannik Wenk

Lars Wagner

BCG (Boston Consulting Group)
Global Brand and Design Team

Client Creative Director
Jan Dudzik

someform Studio GmbH
eisenbahnstrasse 5

someform Studio GmbH
eisenbahnstrasse 5