Glasgow creative studio has designs on major global events after pivotal Expo 2020 Dubai World Fair contract

The creative studio behind the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and People Make Glasgow brands is working to add some of the biggest events in the world to its roster after providing key “visual identity” work for the Expo 2020 Dubai World Fair.

Glasgow-based Tangent explains that in a major boost for the business, it was chosen to conceive the brand identity, event dressing, and branding for the venture in the Middle East – a massive global showcase held every five years to connect major international organisations, governments and citizens from around the world.

The six-month-long event – whose start was postponed until October 2021 due to the pandemic – attracted 23.4 million visitors from about 192 countries to more than 32,000 smaller events at the purpose-built venue.

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The eight-strong creative design studio’s work encompassed designing façades for 120 country pavilions, and developing and delivering a wayfinding system featuring more than 100,000 signs to navigate the 438-hectare site.

Thousands of exhibitions at the event showcased how nations can tackle some of the biggest challenges facing the world, including hunger, sustainability and energy, and high-profile names involved include the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, French president Emmanuel Macron, sports stars Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, and musician Alicia Keys.

Tangent says it is now in discussions with the city of Vancouver about developing branding for its 2030 Winter Olympics bid, and it is working with the Homeless World Cup, set to be hosted in New York this September.

The firm’s co-founder Andrew Stevenson said: “Glasgow 2014 changed everything for us. The widespread reaction to the Commonwealth Games and our city brand opened doors, and as a small Scottish company, we’re incredibly proud to be trusted by Expo 2020 Dubai.”

From left: Tangent founders David Whyte and Andrew Stevenson. Picture: contributed.

He added that the scale of the Middle East event is “incredible” – and the purpose-built site “really has to be seen to be believed”.

Mr Stevenson also said: “We established an event-time wayfinding and signage strategy that complements the permanent signage, which will remain after the Expo is over and the site is used for other purposes, whilst still being distinct.”

Fellow co-founder David Whyte said the studio is positive regarding its outlook after around 80 per cent of its predicted turnover was threatened at the start of the pandemic. He also said: “Expo 2020 is a massive project that we’re incredibly proud of, and it feels like a real springboard for the future; events are back – and there are lots of opportunities for Tangent on the horizon.”

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An example of Tangent's visual identity work for Expo 2020 Dubai, with the firm hailing the contract as a major boost. Picture: contributed.
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