Beautiful Thinking.

Freeing the birds: A tribute to our original Beautiful Thinker, Leonardo da Vinci

Each month we seek to champion an individual who, for a member of our team, perfectly encapsulates what beautiful thinking means to Free The Birds.

As we celebrate a refreshed visual identity for our own agency, it has been an exciting opportunity for us to revisit the origins of an ethos which forms a core and vital part of everything that we do.

We therefore celebrate here the mind and work of Leonardo da Vinci.

Our name, Free The Birds, is born of an act which – in its simplicity – has inspired us deeply since our agency as it is known today, was born in 2018.  When Leonardo da Vinci would see a caged bird for sale in the Florentine markets, he would purchase them simply for the pleasure of liberating them.

Half a millennia on, Da Vinci remains one of the world’s most inspiring thinkers and artists, but his compassion influences us equally.

It is this sense of spirit that drives us to produce our own Beautiful Thinking for brands. It is this liberation of thought which inspired our name. 

Leonardo da Vinci epitomised the Renaissance era. A genius who – beyond being one of the most celebrated artists of all time – was also a theologian, an engineer, a scientist, a polymath, an architect. Even today, budding innovators seek to bring to life the work he theorised in notebooks, some of the most progressive thinking ever witnessed or discovered.

Over time, the world has pondered the methods and motives behind da Vinci’s artistry for many reasons. The breadth of his talent and skill is unrivalled to this day, but what strikes us here at Free The Birds is how freely he allowed his mind to explore all facets of what fascinated him. It seems that there was a limitlessness and freedom with which da Vinci explored his passions. 

It is little wonder why an artist and creator who speculated about how wings took flight, sought to release the animals whose very nature was to soar through the air. 

We as an agency are inspired by how the mind can be freed and ideas take flight. Just as Leonardo was not afraid to challenge the norm, ask questions, explore the why, our team is driven by a desire to imbue every element of our work for our clients with a beautiful thought. We seek to explore a multitude of routes, break into new territories. 

As a brand elevation agency whose work is dedicated to our desire to immerse ourselves in the world of our clients’ brands and businesses, we further emulate da Vinci’s consistent dedication to look outwards. Unlike other theologians of his time, his exploration of self was limited. His mind and his work was dedicated to discovering the world around him, and speculating as to the potential of what could be achieved.

Where (we hope) our agency differs, is Leonardo’s tendency to often leave work unfinished. This reputation meant his contemporaries of the time – again some of the most revered artists of all time – Botticelli, Raphael, his young rival Michelangelo, were regularly commissioned by the Pope in their fame. Those who have documented da Vinci’s life comment on his constant desire to return to his multiple interests and the notebooks into which he poured his ideas and explorations. It has been reported that he felt relief in being relieved from the pressure of completing such commissions. 

It was part of a commission of the celebrated mural, The Last Supper, where da Vinci explored solutions to challenges he faced in creating his art. Early in his career, he moved away from the popular egg-based tempera of the time. Leonardo instead adopted oil painting, which brought to life the beautiful, delicate creatures he painted. It was reported that his technique in painting an angel alongside his first Master, Verrocchio, for The Baptism of Christ, led to Verrocchio never painting again. In murals da Vinci found a need to mix tempera with oil paints to create the bond required with the wall to give long life to the mural. Here da Vinci faced another challenge in his desire to pore over his work, examining and altering it over time. Once the paint used for murals was bonded with a wall, it was difficult to make these kinds of edits.

Indeed his most famous work – in fact, arguably the most famous of any artist in history – the revered Mona Lisa, is one which Leonardo would seemingly return to time and time again. While speculation of who this figure was, da Vinci never revealed the identity behind the world’s most famous smile, a piece which saw small flourishes added to it over years by da Vinci. 

Our team takes pride in putting thought behind every idea, every detail, and so we find again further inspiration in the care with which da Vinci clearly took in his work. 

In our pursuit to elevate a brand above the everyday, provide connection between businesses and their customers, and give a brand soul, we celebrate the man who has inspired so many.

The man who freed the birds.

FTB Free The Birds
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