Here’s our very first newsletter!
Jan 27, 2022 3:37 pm
Today, we officially kick off our studio newsletter. It’s great to have you on our list!
This first issue is packed with lots of updates and insights from our biggest type family yet to our design guide for non-designers, Hoang’s talk at the Peter Behrens School of Arts, our collaboration with US artist Russell Perkins, our typefaces being spotted on billboards at the Times Square in NYC and at the NIKE store in Seoul, and much more.
If you think this newsletter could be of interest to someone you know, hit the forward button and let them know! And if you got something on your mind you want to tell us, simply reply to this email!
Hoang & David
SCHRIFTLABOR × NGUYEN GOBBER = LUCIFER TYPE FAMILY
We’re partnering up with Schriftlabor to finalize Lucifer
We’re happy to announce our collaboration with Schriftlabor, one of the leading font engineering companies founded by Glyphs co-founder Rainer Scheichelbauer. They’ll help us to get Lucifer finished according to the highest technical standards.
The first letterforms of Lucifer were drawn back in 2017 by David. Since then, we’ve received numerous licencing and collaboration requests from fellow graphic designers and type foundries. After 5 years of development, we decided it was time to finish up a retail version of Lucifer.
The Lucifer type family will be available later this year on our website. It’ll include multiple weights with both upright and italic cuts, a wide range of glyphs, and broad language support.
As soon as we have a concrete release date, we’ll let you know.
COMMUNICATING KNOWLEDGE AS A NON-DESIGNER
What you can do and when it’s time to hire a designer
Great ideas and deep knowledge are worth almost nothing if you’re not able to communicate them well. However, not everyone with valuable ideas and knowledge happens to be an experienced communication designer.
Especially, when you’re starting as a PhD student, lecturer, consultant, or in another knowledge-based profession, you probably don’t have the budget to hire a professional designer. Instead, you have to put your own time and energy into designing presentation slides, research posters, teaching materials, etc.
To assist you with this, we created a guide with design tips for non-designers. It’s based on a lecture that we held at the ETH Zurich back in 2021. Even though the lecture focused on the design of scientific posters, the advice is pretty universal. It’s a crash course in visual hierarchy, gestalt principles, choice of colours, sizes, visual consistency, and more.
The guide will help you to elevate your communication materials. It’ll pave the way for an easier learning process for your audience and more recognition from your peers.
However, your DIY designs (even with the support of our guide) won’t be enough at one point or another. This will be the case when ...
- the communication material in question is not ephemeral like a one-off presentation, but something more permanent like a book, a website, a template, a self-initiated event series, or similar.
- the stakes are too high to allow yourself to fail, for instance by leaving an unprofessional impression on a big stage or remaining unconvincing in an important meeting.
- your hours simply get too expensive to spend on tinkering with your DIY designs.
- your DIY designs don’t hold up when compared to others in your profession.
- you’re dealing with such a broad range of communication material that it stops making sense to tackle one application at a time. You need a full visual identity to ensure consistency and efficiency.
- you’d need to buy and learn to handle expensive specialised tools for designers to achieve the particular thing you want to do.
If you ever end up in one of the scenarios mentioned above, you’re better off hiring a professional designer.
THOUGHTS FROM OUR TALK AT THE PETER BEHRENS SCHOOL OF ARTS
Sharing our perspective on design
Hoang was recently invited as a guest critic and speaker at the Peter Behrens School of Arts in Düsseldorf, Germany. She provided feedback to students attending the M.A. course “International Perspectives” led by Raoul Gottschling. Afterwards, she spoke about her perspectives on design, how they have developed over time and their influence on our practice.
The many perspectives and influences from all the educational and professional contexts, that Hoang went through, were neither all positive nor negative, but always ambiguous when taking a closer look. Here are just a few observations:
While Swiss design schools put an emphasis on an open-minded, experimental design process, one will still experience a strong and sometimes dogmatic focus on the process-driven, formal explorations that the Basel School of Design has been known for since the 1950s. Basel’s approach is valid, but not the only one.
Another observation relates to the topic of precarity. Not only in entry-level design jobs but even within the design studies themselves, one is confronted with a working culture that demands “passionate self-exploitation”, to borrow an expression of Byung-Chul Han. While this might yield some good results, we all know that it’s not sustainable.
Questions of visibility and how the structure of universities, studios, and agencies skew one’s perception of authorship, originality, and influence were addressed as well. While the given structures and power dynamics help some individuals to get recognised, others get pushed into the background.
In the talk, Hoang explained how these and other issues have implicitly and explicitly motivated her practice, from her master’s thesis about a utopian Switzerland beyond the labour society to the way Nguyen Gobber OG is organised today.
OUR ARTICLE "VISUALISING UTOPIA" ON FUTURZWEI & SKUG
Creative Means Against Lost Futures translated to German
You’re probably already aware of our article “Visualising Utopia – On Creative Means Against Lost Futures”. (If not, you can find it here on our website.) Now, you can also read an edited German translation online. You’ll find it either on the website of FUTURZWEI, a foundation dealing with viable futures, or on skug, an online magazine dedicated to the Austrian cultural landscape. Here are the links to the German versions: FUTURZWEI & skug
THE FUTURE TENSE
Expressing ideas through typography
When the NY-based artist Russell Perkins first contacted us and explained his intentions for the art installation “The Future Tense”, we were immediately captivated. The artwork would be exhibited at Les Réserves du Frac Île-de-France in Romainville, near Paris. His request to design a fitting publication to go along with his highly conceptual art installation to provide a better understanding of the art piece was an intriguing challenge we were eager to take.
Russell worked with the first movement of Johannes Ockeghem’s requiem (1420 – 1459), the oldest surviving polyphonic funeral mass. With the help of artificial intelligence and GPS movement data recorded during the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic, the piece, and with it the labour of grieving, got extended indefinitely, without ever reaching a harmonic resolution.
Our publication design didn’t include any images. Instead, it featured experimental typesetting reflecting crucial themes within Perkins’ work such as polyphony, cathedrals, fragmentation, repetition, choirs, and space for mourning. Looking through the spreads, you’ll see different texts overlapping with each other, getting intertwined, and being present in parallel. Individual words are fragmented and break off into the void of the empty page. You’ll recognise the formal vocabulary of floor plans of cathedrals within the shapes created by the running text.
These and many other design decisions led Russell Perkins, an absolutely wonderful person to collaborate with, to say the following kind words about our work:
“I’m thrilled with the outcome. Using only text rather than images, Hoang and David created a design that looks the way I hope my artwork feels. Their design is thoughtful, rigorous, and elegant – and absolutely singular.”
OUR FONTS IN THE WILD
MONOPOL FOR “WE ARE MORE”
An art campaign in NYC supporting the AAPI community
“We Are More” was a public art campaign celebrating the resilience and range of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community (AAPI). It was first shown on digital billboards and street furniture across 120 locations in New York’s Times Square district and around the district of Boston. This colourful art initiative was created by the multidisciplinary artist, educator, and activist Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya using our bold expressive display typeface Monopol.
HOFMANN FOR NIKE SEOUL
Custom “Air Force 1” sneakers for the Nike store in Seoul
Jaehoon Choi was approached by Nike to customize some “Air Force 1” sneakers for their store in Seoul. Jaehoon decided to go with Hofmann to create the graphics which were printed onto the shoes in bright orange and black.
FROM OUR ORBIT
THE POLITICS OF DESIGN
Ruben Pater explores the political dimension of design
Ruben Pater wrote “A (Not So) Global Manual for Visual Communication” back in 2016. It examines cultural contexts and stereotypes with visual examples from around the world. It’s a highly relevant book about design, enjoyable and insightful to professional designers and non-designers alike.
A tool to get the analogue back into the digital realm
OpaqueScript is a useful tool for graphic designers. This script for Adobe InDesign simulates paper opacity in print products. By doing so, it reduces the wide gap between the sensually limited gaze at some files on a screen and the much richer experience of looking at a print product that you’re holding in your hands. OpaqueScript was created by Bonsma & Reist and Roger Burkhard.
Pointing to the points you’re pointing at
The last find is a microsite developed by the immensely creative minds of Studio Moniker. They went through a database of amateur photography to create an enjoyable little website that helps you to kill some time.
You’re working on something valuable and important that unfortunately doesn’t look so? We can help you out and craft a compelling and professional appearance for your idea or project. → Get in touch with us!
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