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Last year the Museum of Gdańsk was celebrating its 50th anniversary. We had the honor and pleasure of being graphically involved in these celebrations. We designed the logo of the anniversary and a book on the history of the institution. Covid restrictions meant that the celebrations were humbler than originally planned but the book makes it possible to prolong them with some solid history reading.

The logo of the anniversary uses the cross pattern from the regular logo, but interwoven with diamonds.

The book is titled “From the City Hall to the Museum”, which references the fact that one of the buildings belonging to the Museum is an old city hall of Gdańsk. Through five essays the book tells the story of the then-young Museum of Gdańsk: how it was established among the political upheaval of the 1950s Poland, how the buildings were slowly reconstructed after the war’s destruction and how the young institution was involved with the life of the city’s inhabitants. It’s quite fascinating for any history lover.

The logo for the Museum’s anniversary inspired the design. We used the diamond pattern and gold paint throughout the book. We drew another inspiration from old newspapers which constituted an important source material for the book’s authors. We used a golden diamond raster on some of the photographs to recall the raster of old newspapers and chose typographic solutions that also bring them to mind. Red color and thick frames also appear in the design for that reason.

In addition to the golden color of the frame, the cover has embossed diamond pattern. The cool photo shows workers installing a reconstructed sculpture of the king.
A title page of the first article, about the life in Gdańsk in 1960s.

Additionally, some of the pages fold out to highlight the most interesting photos, with a detail of the same photo printed in the golden raster on the cover of the folded page.

We again congratulate the Museum on the occasion and wish it 500 years more!

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The latest annual report for the Museum of Gdańsk is being printed now and we still haven’t shared the previous one (because we’re not great at time-management these days and photographing projects is the last thing on our list, only followed by gardening, I guess). But today we’re correcting this oversight.

The 2017 annual report followed the design line we established the year before with the first report. Graphic ornaments are inspired by the new (then new) logo of the Museum with its pattern of crosses/pluses and the red and dark blue color scheme also comes from the identity so that the report is very much a visual product of the Museum.

It is illustrated with many photos of the events organized by the Museum, with old prints from its collections and with photos of the Museum’s very picturesque buildings. The cover has an etching of the old Town Hall in Gdańsk and a rather fancy ornament which is debossed in some places and hot-stamped with shiny blue foil in others, all of it printed on matte paper, very natural to the touch (unfoiled and unvarnished, which in some ways is the best way to print).

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The very first page (a half-title page without a title?) with a photo of one of the paintings in the Artus Court.

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Statistics.

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Annex about the Museum’s digital strategy.

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Soon(ish) we’ll share the latest volume.

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Sorry for the missed update last week but it wasn’t a great week for us and we had some personal crappiness to deal with. Anyway, we’re back with a sort of addendum for the last post when we showed you an annual report for the large gas provider. In addition to showing their involvement in sports, they also wrote a report on the environmental impact of their investments and activities. We designed it using the same layout and some of the same elements, except the lead color was, of course, green and instead of photos of sports people we used photos of nature. Maybe it’s just us but we will take nature over sports so we like this part of the publication even more and it was even more fun to work on.

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The cover uses the same round die-cut, except this time to show a seedling through it.

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The dynamic diagonal lines reappear, this time in green.

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Data shows environmental impact.

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While we usually show you most current works, we still have a whole archive of things waiting to be photographed and when we manage to document one of those, we will be sharing them too. Today’s work is an annual report for GPEC, the biggest local supplier of gas. They chose sports as the theme of the report, particularly sports as it is practiced by the employers of the company and each chapter uses a different sports discipline as a metaphor. (The photos show a German version of the report but there is also a Polish and English one.)

The report in an envelope.

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And out of it.

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Now, sports is a pretty cool theme visually and we were glad to work with it. As the brand color is bright red, we used it as the lead color for the publication. We also had the pleasure of working with Futura, one of the typefaces we’re passionate about, because it is also a part of GPEC’s brand. As a lead motif we chose diagonal lines for their dynamic quality and because they combine well with infographics that we created. In addition to the graphics which illustrate facts about the company, we also drew illustrations of sports.

Infographics combined with illustration. Yep.

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Each chapter starts with an intro spread illustrating its sport with a photo. The cover of the report has a round die-cut, showing a runner through it. This circle is concentric with another one cut in the brown-paper envelope that is printed with only one color and that offsets slightly the dominance of red in the design.

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Title page with the runner showing.

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Chapter intro spread.

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Data.

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Contents page.

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Some people are not fans of designing annual reports because of their corporate character and because one needs to include a lot of data. But we always enjoy this kind of subject because if you know how, you can combine the strict structure with more expressive solutions.

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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).

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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.

solidarity-redesign-08As this week we celebrate Independence Day in Poland and this year something called 25 Years of Freedom, we thought this is a good occasion to show you a slightly older project, a book we designed for the Center of Solidarity in Gdańsk to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Solidarity. (Here’s Wikipedia about the Solidarity movement in Poland, should you feel the need to catch up on history.)

The book is a result of sociological studies about the awareness people have of the movement thirty years after its formation and of its political and historical impact. It includes a report full of quotations from various respondents and results in the form of graphs and tables (which, as you may already know, is something we generally like to design).

solidarity-redesign-02solidarity-redesign-01While inside we were limited to two colors (which in itself was quite an interesting challenge and an occasion to work with mixed inks), on the cover we decided to add silver, which gave the book a technical appearance. We used a dot grid and a technical monospace typeface to additionally emphasize the measuring aspect of the book. This grid, obviously, also organizes the layout inside.

solidarity-redesign-03The book includes a limited number of archive photographs, mostly showing the people of Solidarity or historical moments. We used them especially for chapter openings. Here Lech Wałęsa with Jerzy Popiełuszko.

solidarity-redesign-06Jacek Kuroń on the left, Tadeusz Gocłowski and Tadeusz Mazowiecki with Bronisław Geremek on the right.

solidarity-redesign-05The Pope John Paul II’s trip to Poland in 1979.

solidarity-redesign-04solidarity-redesign-09This might not be the most exciting part for many readers but it was certainly the most challenging one to design (at least once the layout was complete): all the ways to present statistical data.

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ucq-redesign_0016A while ago we had the pleasure of seeing our pixel dogs published in UC.Quarterly and this time the cats joined them. Once again we happily received an authors’ copy that let us enjoy many exciting design projects from around the world and the internet. If this sounds like something you’re into, here‘s more information.

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