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One of the coolest jobs we have done this year so far was the design of an exhibition and catalog “The Gardens of Gdańsk” for the Museum of Gdańsk. We have tons of photos but they’re unedited so they have to wait a while longer but today we wanted to share a sneak peek at the catalog. The cover has green hotstamping and a half-dust cover. Inside you can find a ton of garden-related images. More to come soon(ish).

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Last time we talked about the huge Wyspiański exhibition we saw in Kraków and how impressed we were by the number of exhibits. But because of a mess of circumstances we didn’t get to spend as much time on the exhibition as we wanted to so we were glad to find a large, reliable catalog, presenting all the objects with descriptions.

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(We don’t necessarily agree with all the design choices made for the catalog but we don’t know how it was created and under what circumstances. We’re mostly just happy to have such a huge, nicely printed book full of Wyspiański’s work.)

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One of our recent(ish) works for the Museum of Gdańsk was the design of a catalog and other materials for an exhibition of silver objects borrowed from the Wawel collection. The exhibition showed a selection of objects d’art displaying the mastery of old masters from Gdańsk. The catalog presents all the objects, prefaced by critical texts by the exhibition’s curators.

We chose to use silver spot color for the catalog (because how could we not). We opted for slightly old-fashioned typography offset by a simple sans serif. In fact, only the titular typeface with its fantastic decorative elements is one of few elements of the design that are not understated. We also designed an ornament inspired by an ornament on one of the exhibits and later geometricized.

For the cover we used a detail of one of the exhibits printed with spot silver, with silver hotstamping of the title directly on it.

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The silver ornament is used in different parts of the catalog.

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A silver spoon. All the exhibits got separate spreads with a full-page photo and a lot of specialized information, in addition to the regular description.

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A spread from one of the introductory essays.

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Introduction by the Museum’s Director.

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In addition to the catalog, we also designed other materials, including informative boards that told the story of some of the exhibits: their previous owners, how they were used etc. We kept the boards consistent with both the catalog and the suggestions of the designer of the exhibition.

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Last year the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdańsk held a large exhibition entitled Fête funèbre. The participating artists presented their reflections on the subject of death. We were invited to design the catalog for the exhibition, which we were very happy to do. Gloomy subject notwithstanding, as we might have mentioned already, catalogs are the best things to design, barring none.

The catalog includes profiles of all the artists with the presentation of their work and also two academic articles on the representations of death in the history of art, all of the texts both in Polish and in English. So the layout needed to be flexible enough to include all these elements. As it was also the first stage of our work on the guidelines for future publications, it needed to be quite orderly and consequent.

We wanted to reflect the somber tone of the exhibition but without making the whole thing depressing, so we chose to use a lot of black offset by a (quite lovely, really) warm-silver metallic color and red accents. This limited color palette created a good background for the presentation of the varied works. We used the symbol of the dagger, traditionally used in biographic notes to mark the time of death, and thick frames that are also sometimes used to mark the names of the deceased. We also chose somewhat decorative serif typography for the titles.

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The dust cover turned out quite lovely, thanks to printing techniques that the photo does not do justice. What looks here like dull beige is actually the same metallic color, combined with matte silver hot-stamping on the texts and the frame.

Silver hot-stamping, but not the shiny kind.

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The cover under the dust jacket uses reversed colors and no text. The flowers have also lost their heads.

Title page, with the dagger ornament on the left.

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Close-up of the ornament, in red and silver – probably the most lively bit of the design (the pun was truly not intended but, oh well).

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Close-up of the names of the participating artists (the frame used in its traditional function).

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The exhibition was held in the unusual architecture of the Academy’s exhibition space and most photos that were used were taken on the spot, which gives the whole catalog a unique feeling.

Most photographs by Bartosz Żukowski.

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Paintings by Beata Ewa Białecka.

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More sculptures by Mariusz Białecki.

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How could we resist the use of red thread? We never do.

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The two languages are set side by side in two columns, Polish in black and English in silver.

A spread from one of the scientific articles.

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Despite the inherent melancholy of the subject matter, the catalog was true joy to work on (and to see the final result when we got our copies).

In case you want it, here’s a 3-day promo link for free shipping in our Society6 store.

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In the middle of winter (well, hopefully, at the end of it), we’re sharing a vaguely spring design we did last year. We created a catalog for an exhibition called Planting Seeds that happened in the Łaźnia Art Center. This was an event by Irwin group from Slovenia.

The exhibition was promoted with the photo of the artists who were, well, planting seeds and we needed to use it on the cover. At first, we planned to cut it into four parts, with different covers having different parts of the photo but it was necessary to use the whole photo in the end. So we arranged it in such a way that you can combine two covers to see all of it.

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Inside we used a bright pink color for one language version of the text and as a strong visual element. As a decorative motif we created a grid of dots to symbolize seeds and used them throughout the publication.

Title page with dots and pink.

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Close-up of the contents pages.

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Introduction to the catalog.

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As Irwin art is rather conceptual the catalog contains more texts than images so it was important to find a good layout for the articles.

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Catalogs – always one of the best kinds of job.

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One of our latest works, not yet in our hands, is a post-exhibition catalog (always a favorite kind of job) Fête Funèbre. Last week we were approving dust jacket printouts in the printing house and so today we can share teaser photos of the extremely cool hotstamping that they have. We will show you the rest of the catalog – including, well, its interior – once we get our copies but that may be a while yet.

Also, did you know that visiting a printing house can be sort of exciting (if not done too often when it becomes a bother)?

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A while ago we designed identity for an exhibition When Is a Neighbor a Stranger? in the Center of Modern Art Łaźnia, which was a great fun. The fun was even greater when later on we were asked to design a catalog for the exhibition because catalogs are definitely one of our favorite jobs.

The identity was already established so we used the same colors, typography and the symbol of frame but, of course, designing a catalog required many more decisions and allowed us to play more with specifically print-related options. The aqua-green color of the cover is Pantone spot color, which makes it very even. We decided to use an extra neon color both for the cover and the interior. We also used a die-cut on the cover to make the window/picture frame more tangible.

The holes in the cover, when the book is open. The holes have different dimensions, which makes for a nicely layered effect.

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The fully opened cover contains a list of all involved artists. The cover inside printed in neon Pantone color.

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The text inside is in two languages, Polish and English. Throughout the publication we used the neon color for the English version of the text. We used a flexible grid for the contents and so each page needed individual attention and design. It made for much slower typesetting but was more satisfactory than a more typical page layout which remains the same for the whole book.

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Beginnings of essays and an example of flexible layout.

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Because of the conceptual character of the exhibition the catalog contains a lot of text so we needed to accommodate that.

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List of contents close-up.

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Cover close-ups.

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Back cover fully-open, with a neon-colored photo.

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We are very satisfied with the result of the project: it was great to play with unusual, vivid colors and arranging interesting contents, and the book is quite a pleasure to hold in one’s hand.