PopAtomic Studios and Energizing Earth Day


We’ve long been a fan of the art shop PopAtomic Studios and their work.

When we began the project for Energizing Earthday, they jumped to mind as a key partner for the new branding. For readers unfamiliar with them, PopAtomic Studios is a design shop based in NC, lead by Suzanne Hobbs. She describes the mission for the studio:

“After many years of dinner table conversations with Dad and his Nuke friends about the need to improve public perceptions of Nuclear Energy, in December of 2008 I decided to take matters into my own hands. As a formally trained sculptor and public artist, I have been lucky to work for some of the most respected artists in my field including Nina Hole and Mel Chin. I have learned the the subtle ways that art influences our daily lives and I realized that I could use my knowledge to show, rather than tell the world the truth about nuclear energy. My intention is to show that nuclear is the safest, most reliable energy source available as well as the best solution to Climate Change, through the creation of thought provoking icons and site specific public artwork. After all, you can’t have a Nuclear Renaissance without Art!”

Cooling Tower Sketch

For the specific Earth Hour branding, the design process began this way:

“For the logo I used existing, instantly recognizable icons, but I put them into a new context. I use these sorts of icons because they transcend the language and generation gaps that sometimes hinder communication. Pairing a lightbulb (bright ideas, energy, electricity) and earth (connectedness, foresight, responsibility), which tend have positive meanings with a cooling tower (not as clear on meaning, positive for some, scary for others) begs the questions ‘what is the relationship between these images?’ and ‘Is nuclear energy in fact a positive solution to the energy problems facing our planet?’”

And the creation of the brand was very physical and non-digital, using real tactile materials to bring iconic elements together:

“I cut everything out of paper and carefully put the pieces together, often scanning different arrangements until I am satisfied. Color is very important in communicating through images, so I tend to use bright inviting colors that I can tweak on the computer using virtual color mixing. Sometimes this process leads to funky shadows and color variations that I feel add to the finished product, making it stand out as an individual artwork rather than just another logo.”

Artist, Suzanne Hobbs

Suzannne describes her plans going forward:

“Eventually I plan to open a collective studio space and educational resource center focused on providing simple, accurate information about energy for kids and adults alike. We also plan to offer fun artwork ranging form t-shirts to jewelry to cooling tower shaped coffee mugs, so we can all proudly show our support of nuclear energy in our daily lives. You can check out what we’ve created so far at PopAtomic.org.”

Tags: PopAtomic Studios

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