Drawn Here (and There): Non-Format


Uploaded by walkerartcenter on 01.03.2010

Transcript:
Andrew Blauvelt: Good evening. Good evening. Welcome to the Walker Art Center. I am Andrew
Blauvelt, the design director and curator of architecture and design, and welcome to
Drawn Here (and There), which is a special edition of our ongoing series, Drawn Here,
which shines a spotlight on the design community of the Twin Cities and beyond.
While the mantra of collaboration has been at the forefront of many of today's design
discussions, creative partnerships between designers are as old as the profession itself.
However, with today's interconnected global design scene and the communication tools available
today, collaborations between distant geographical locations have become much more feasible and
thus increasingly common.
Drawn Here (and There) looks at two leading design partnerships, one half of each partnership
based in the Twin Cities, the other thousands of miles away. The most distance is featured
in tonight's speakers. We can learn more about their long-distance working relationships
and what it may mean for design practices in this century and the possibilities of being
in two separate places.
There is one note. Unfortunately, Kjell Ekhorn, who is one half of Non-Format, and he's based
now in Oslo, Norway, formerly in London, was unable to make his flight because... Actually,
Jon will explain why. There's a very good reason. However, we will try to get him to
join us in this presentation via Skype, maybe at the end of it. And we will have to give
Kjell a standing ovation if he is able to do it [laughs] because there's a very interesting
story behind this.
Tonight, I'm pleased to welcome both Jon Forss of Non-Format and, I guess, virtually, Kjell
Ekhorn. Jon is originally from Gloucestershire in Western England. He now resides in Saint
Paul, Minnesota. And the trajectory of that journey I think I'll leave up to Jon to tell.
In fact, it was a bit of a mystery. I think I came across some posting that said that
half of Non-Format was located in Saint Paul, Minnesota, a few years ago, and I couldn't
understand how they got that wrong. [laughs] It's like, "That's just not possible. I think
they're in London."
So, they became kind of a mystery, in even our own studio, about, "Do you know anything
about this person, or do you know why they would be listed there?" And of course, we
thought it was Kjell, because he was Norwegian, so we just assumed that there was [laughs]
some kind of family burial ground here [laughs] that he would have to come back to, or some
other story. So, it's been a bit of a mystery. We happened to be at an event, actually, in
Saint Paul one evening. We actually ran into each other, and the mystery was revealed,
so that was great.
Around 1999-2000, Jon formed a partnership with Kjell, originally in London, where they
were both working as graphic designers. Kjell studied at the Central Saint Martin's in London,
while Jon studied at Cheltenham School of Art and, I think, the University of Leicester.
They began their work together on the influential music magazine, "The Wire," before branching
out onto a variety of music, fashion, and publishing clientele. Their particular fusion
of type and image has been highly influential, defining in many ways the look and feel of
graphic design at the turn of the millennium.
Their work has been honored by the New York Type Directors Club and the Tokyo Type Directors
Club, the British Design and Art Direction Awards, among many others, and is actually
the subject of their monograph, "Non-Format Love Song," published by Die Gestalten Verlag,
which is actually on sale in our bookshop downstairs.
Please help me welcome Jon Forss of Non-Format.
[applause]
Jon Forss: Thank you. OK, I need a little bit of housekeeping here. I've got to just
hide a few things and give my guy here the nod when I'm ready. This is what comes with
trying to run too many things at once. So, bear with me. OK, let's do it.
OK. This is
the point at which I normally say, "I'm Jon Forss, and this guy here is Kjell Ekhorn."
But unfortunately, he's got a couple of kids, and they jumped on him a couple of weeks ago,
and he slipped a disc in his back. And he's kind of lying down, mostly.
[laughter]
Jon: So, he's unable to be here. It's a real shame. He was really looking forward to it,
and so was I, because I'm not used to doing this on my own. I'm very much used to doing
it with Kjell standing next to me, because when I have those moments where I'm just unable
to think, he jumps in with whatever I need to hear so that I can kick-start my brain
back in.
Anyway, I'll get straight on with it, because I've got 400 and something slides to go through,
and 3600 seconds in which to do it, so I've got eight seconds a slide. And I'm just wasting
time.
[laughter]
Jon: So, anyway. OK. Who are we, and what are we doing?
We started working together, actually, in 1999, despite what it says on the screen.
I think we established our business in 2001, despite what it says on the screen. But, we
kind of decided that 2000 was the date that we were going to stick to, so that's our story.
We started working together in London, between 2000 and 2007. And then, in 2007, I decided
to move here. It's a very, very long story why I made that decision. To cut a long story
short, I'm now married.
[laughter]
Jon: We then had a base in the UK and in the US for these two years, until last year, when
Kjell decided that he had had enough of London, sitting there on his own, and he would move
to Oslo. So, now he's working in Norway. So, we now have a base in Norway and the US, and
that's how we do our business. Most of it we do via Skype, email. We have clients all
over the world. And it doesn't really matter where we are. We just get on with our work
in our own space, and we kind of collaborate.
OK. One of the questions we get asked a lot: why did you call yourself Non-Format? And
the answer to that is we were actually, originally, established as Ekhorn Force, and that is still
the official business name. But, we trade as Non-Format because every time a phone would
ring and we'd say our name, we'd find that nobody could understand a word we were saying,
and it was just getting to the point where we'd just about had enough. So, we thought,
"We're going to have to find another name that people can understand," because all those
Fs and Ss, it was just a pain in the ass.
[laughter]
Jon: So, in the end, we decided we'd look for another source to find something that
would give us a clue as to what our name could be that people might understand. We found
this article in "Emigre Magazine." I'll let you read it. You've only got eight seconds.
[laughter]
Jon: Basically, it dealt with obsolescence of digital data formats and all that kind
of bollocks. But, there was a line at the end that made me think, "That sounds cool.
I want to be Non-Format, especially if there's a wee chance that we might be mythical."
[laughter]
Jon: OK, I'm going to start. Before I show you any work, and really, I promise you I'm
going to show you some work, but before I do that, I'm just going to take you through
an average day, or the time line, really, for how we work effectively, when we were
working together in London versus how it works now in the US. Well, now that I'm in the US
and he's in Oslo.
So, there's a day. I'll just move it down a bit. There's Kjell. He comes in to work.
He comes in at 9:00 AM, and he works till about 8:00 PM. And then I come in. I come
in at 10:00 AM, because we agreed 10:00.
[laughter]
Jon: But, he would always come in an hour before me, just to piss me off, just to make
me feel guilty. And there I am. I leave at 8:00 as well.
So, we have a working day that runs from 9:00 AM to 8:00 PM. We would work fairly late.
That's 11 hours.
Now that Kjell is in Oslo and I'm now in the US, from my perspective, my day stays the
same. But, I have the benefit of having a coworker that starts at one in the morning
and finishes work at sometime around noon, my time. Actually, I've put this in as eight,
and I realize that because I'm now married, seven is more of a realistic time to finish
work.
Seventeen hours is pretty much the span of our day, if we're lucky. And that means we
get a three-hour overlap when we get to discuss where we are at the end of the day, what's
been going on. And what's great about that is I will finish work. We used to finish work
at 8:00, and we'd get to a certain point with a project, but we'd both be at the same point
of that project.
We go home. The studio's not doing anything; it's just lying dormant. We come back the
next morning, and we're still at that same point with the project. Whereas now, we have
this fantastic situation where I get up in the morning. It's like some kind of fairies
have come in and done some work in the night. I recommend it. I really do. If you have any
partnership, just get 4000 miles, at least six time zones between you, and you're in
business.
Sometimes we work a bit late, or I might start early and Kjell will start late, and we might
get five hours between us where we get to chat about what's going on before he goes
to sleep, and I carry on. If we really, really work late, we can actually extend that to
10 hours.
And the fantastic thing about that, of course, you can see that that's 24 hours of coverage.
That means that, if the phone rings in either country, we've got it covered. We're a 24-hour
operation. That's only if we work crazy hours. What we need is someone in Japan, and then
we'd have it. Then we really would have it sewn up.
[laughter]
Jon: Anyway. So, I'm now going to show you some work. The first section of this is, really,
just getting to the heart of what it was to be a graphic designer in 1999 and 2000, which,
I can't believe it's 10 years ago that we were really setting out together. And the
attitude of design, for us at the time, was literally just type on image. You'd have an
image and an illustration, and you would get some type and you'd slap it on. And there's
nothing better than finding a brand-new typeface and spending money on some new Emigre fonts
or whatever and being able to play around.
So, we would predominantly get an illustration, or photography, put type on top, and it would
be a case of finding interesting ways of laying stuff out. And that was pretty much the root.
What we did to try and make it interesting was we would make it three-dimensional. If
you've got music packaging, we'd say, "Hey, let's just have a photograph, have no type
on it, but the type only appears on a sticker." So, you peel the sticker off, and it's just
a blank sleeve. Or we'd concentrate on it being just type. In this case, illegible type.
[laughter]
Jon: Or image. We'd find a way of creating an image. In this case, a Jesus button. Those
of you at the back can probably see that better. That's the face of Jesus. Maybe you can see
him. This is for a piece of music packaging for Lo Recordings, called Lo and Behold.
And then, for Red Snapper, for example, we would have a woven label made and stitch it
across the sleeve. So, we're finding a way of getting out of that mindset of something
just being typography on top of an image, finding a way of creating a story or it being
three-dimensional.
And then, for the follow-up on this particular album, they wanted to do a remix album, and
we really loved this label, because on the back of the label were all these crazy strands.
And we thought, "What if we have the label made so that the title is written in reverse,
and then you pop it into the jewel case, and then, when you flip it over, you can see the
title, but it's kind of all broken up in a really organic kind of way?" And we put the
sticker on what we regarded as the back of the CD. But, of course, all the shops racked
it that way round, because rules are rules.
[laughter]
Jon: So, at the same time we were doing "The Wire" magazine, which Andrew mentioned -
this is a sort of independent music magazine - when we took it on, the design was kind
of a little bit rooted in the '70s, a kind of '70s rock feel. And we wanted to make it
sort of modern, so we paid it all back and gave it this kind of simple sans-serif treatment.
But, again, this is typography on top of image. It's very simple, very straightforward.
I need to speed these frames up, don't I? This is what you do when the band is called
Jackie-O Motherfucker...
[laughter]
Jon: And then, so we would do a different type treatment for every month. In this case,
something you can't read, black on black. This was designed to look like a folded poster.
This one we stole warning signs. We thought they looked cool because they looked really
American to us.
This treatment came about as a result of a dispute over the cost of the photography shoot
for the Autechre cover. And we got pissed off with the editors who were complaining
about a few hundred pounds here and a few hundred pounds there, so we did a credit card
as the type treatment for that issue.
This one, the cover, I think, was Faust, and they were photographed in a factory, and we
decided to use, I would call them sticking plasters. I think you call them Band-Aids.
You go with brand names.
The Lou Reed photographs arrived in a FedEx box, and there was just something about those
bar-code labels that just makes me want to hurt myself.
So, this was Aphex Twin. This Aphex Twin is a kind of electronic pioneer. He was kind
of like lorded above so many people at the time, and it was almost like getting him on
the cover was like getting Jesus on the cover. And I had this idea that maybe we could borrow
some lighting from a Caravaggio, and particularly the kind of chiaroscuro effect you get with
light and dark.
And I really liked the idea of maybe we could go into a studio and shoot it dark, because
he was there with his posse, and they were going to be photographed as well, and we thought
maybe we could riff off this kind of idea. And when we got to the studio, Aphex Twin
was there. And he's a scary guy. If any of you have seen some of his music videos, he's
just a scary guy in the videos. And he's just as scary in the flesh.
[laughter]
Jon: He was playing around in the studio with his mates, putting pantyhose on his head to
look like a bank robber, and he wanted to be photographed like that. And we thought
it looked great, so there's absolutely no reason why we wouldn't do that, and that's
why we have that cover in the end.
But, one of the shots that came out of this for the feature was this shot, where they're
all messing about. And there's just something. I looked at that shot, and I thought, "Oh,
wow."
[laughter]
Jon: We actually got that.
OK. I've put this one in because I wanted to show you just how ridiculous we were. We
had no clue about software. Adobe, we had Photoshop maybe, and Macs were so primitive
that you could barely do anything with it. And we were using QuarkXPress to put all of
the pages together. And we got this commission in to do - well, this is "The Wire." So, we
decided we'd do an illustration for this.
Henri Chopin is a concrete poet, so he deals a lot with typography, so we decided we'd
do a typographic solution for the image. So, we thought, "OK, let's take the photograph
of Henri that we have and let's render him in type. Let's do every single..." - You know
those ASCII t-shirts that you get where you have your photograph taken and then they print
your t-shirt with your image made of, like, a Courier typeface, so that the darker letters
- you know, everyone has seen this.
We have that kind of idea. Let's do it so that we create this image with different tone
values for each letter. So, we got this text, which is basically just the description of
what the typeface is, and then I sat in QuarkXPress changing every individual letter to a different
tone value, because I'm a fucking idiot.
[laughter]
Jon: I had no clue how to use Illustrator or Freehand or integrate it with Photoshop.
No clue. And it got to the point where the deadline was looming. They said, "They're
going to press, like, now. How are you getting on with that bloody illustration?" And Kjell
came around the corner and he just said, I don't know, I think something like, "I've
done like half of it." And he said, "That's it. That's it, it's finished. Look at that,
it's finished." That's what printers look like.
[laughter]
Jon: So, we integrated it into the layout, and lo and behold we actually had something
that worked, thank God. This was also done in QuarkXPress. It was done in QuarkXPress.
[laughter]
Jon: This was done for Barry 7, who put together this album of electronic music, and he wears
these fantastic Karl Lagerfeld glasses, and he came to us with this big box of stuff that
he'd gathered together from sort of 1970s scrapbook stuff he'd taken out of magazines
and things. And he was really into electronic music from that era, and we kind of had this
conversation with him, and we decided, "Hey, let's just do a portrait of him in his glasses
with circuit board hair? It would be crazy."
So, we did that, and we integrated it through the packaging, a bit of this and a bit of
that, and then we ended up with that. He came to us several months later and said, "Oh,
I loved that. It was a fantastic sleeve; it did very well. Can you do us another? I'm
going to do another album. It's going to be Barry 7's Connectors 2. Can we do another
album, same thing? Just do me the same thing.
And so we thought, "Well, we'll do a girl." I haven't, unfortunately, got - I tried to
find the scan of this, but I haven't got it. We did a girl so that we thought, "Oh, yeah,
you can have a girl on the other cover." So, you've got Adam and Eve or something like
that. It would be fantastic. Did a girl, presented it to him, he hated it. He hated it. He said,
"Why on earth have you done this? Well, what's wrong with this picture of me?"
[laughter]
Jon: So we thought, "Fine." So, we did a picture of him, but we put the opening on the other
side, and we had it so he's facing himself, so this kind of narcissistic riff.
[laughter]
Jon: And in fact the record opens on the left-hand side so that technically he's on the back.
So, this is illustration with gold overprint for the type. This is fairly old stuff. We're
talking early, early naughties, I would say. I say naughties. I don't know if it's aughts
you say, or something really crazy. It's naughties. Everyone knows it's naughties. The last decade
were the naughties.
[laughter]
Jon: Anyway, type as image. This is the next section. This is where we started experimenting
and realizing that we could make type the illustrative element. It could be more integrated
in, meshed into the image, and we started experimenting with Photoshop a lot more. We
still hadn't gotten our head around Illustrator yet.
So, we were doing things with typography and image. And then we got this - "The Wire"
- the issue with Matthew Herbert, who is this kind of social and political-sensitive musician
who was campaigning against the war in Iraq. And we decided to treat him like a politician
on the cover, and on the inside we took the USAF, the United States Air Force typeface
that you see on the side of the bombers, and we integrated it with these kinds of organic
shapes of flowers and birds. There's a little pay stub in there somewhere, I don't know
if you can see it.
And we ran this through the entire issue. So, we would do a different treatment for
each issue. It was just too much to do a different treatment each time, and "The Wire" absolutely
loved this. They thought, "This is us. We can see this as something that we own." That's
a very appetizing term. Something that they own. And they ran this through.
So then, when it came to the next issue, we thought, "Well, OK, that worked. Let's continue
this. Let's take the typeface, but then let's do another kind of treatment. Let's make it
look like it's fraying." And we had this big piece of black velvet lying around in the
studio because we used it as a backdrop, and it was always fraying everywhere, and we just
gathered up the bits of crap off the floor, stuck them on the scanner and scanned them
in, and then Photoshopped them to make all the type look as if it's fraying off and decaying.
And again we ran that through the issue, but we made sure that there was a sense of scale
so that no matter what size the headline was or the type that it was going to sit on, we
would set that first and then put the fraying parts on top so that the frayed parts would
always be the same size. That, for us, was a paramount consideration. We don't want to
be setting it and then scaling it up and down, because it takes away the magic, what little
there is.
And we ran that through several issues, and we had confidence to keep it going for a while.
This is the State of Song Issue. We used songbirds, and we blew ink through straws because that
was our take on using breath. And then we followed that up by doing an outline version,
which meant we could overlap parts of the type to give it more depth.
And then for the MF Doom issue, we had this guy come in called Si Scott. He was fresh
out of college, he had never done any work for anybody before, and we saw his work and
we just thought, "Man, look at that." He sits there and does this stuff by hand. And we
empathize with that: we know what it's like to sit and do something for hours and hours
and hours by hand, and we thought, "Let's run this in a whole issue of the magazine."
So, he came in and stooped over his lightbox for about a week and did all these headlines
for us, each one by hand.
This is a cover that came about when we got the photoshoot. We got the photos back of
the portrait of Alvin Lucier and they were terrible. There was no way they were going
to be good enough to put on the cover of the magazine. I mean, it's not just that he was
an old man, but it was that they just weren't good shots. The feature's images were good,
but we just didn't have that one that we needed for the cover, so we thought, "Well, let's
just riff off what he does."
This guy, he's a kind of 1960s performance musician type thing. He would put electrodes
on his head and then connect them - instead of connecting them to a polygraph, he would
connect them to instruments like drums, so his brainwaves would make a drumbeat or a
guitar strum. So, he would literally just walk onstage, sit in a chair, put some electrodes
on his head, and then have a good think.
[laughter]
Jon: And then all of a sudden this music would come out. And so that's why we did this kind
of polygraph illustration rendering.
And this one is the riff cover, where repeat motif was the theme, and we did this as a
joke. We put this cover together where we took the masthead and we just repeated it
down the cover. And we got the editors in and went, "Ha-ha, look at that." And they
loved it. They said, "Let's do it."
And the very idea that you get a magazine cover where you cut half the masthead off
and you put it over on the right-hand side of the magazine where no one can see it and
it's not even at the top is just mind-boggling. The very fact we got this through at all is
testament to the editors.
And then we got James Murphy. They said - their guy, the lead man from LCD Soundsystem.
His publicist was going on a little too much about the fact that he will not do anything
but stand and stare at you, they said. He will just stand and stare at you. And they
gave us some examples, some press shot examples, saying, "He will just stand and stare at you,
and you won't be able to do anything with him in the studio. You won't be able to make
him do anything interesting. And there are examples of what he's like."
And sure enough, he showed up at the studio and we thought to ourselves, "Well, what can
we do to make him do something?" We thought, "Well, we could set fire to him."
[laughter]
Jon: Or we could throw water on him. Or we thought, "Well actually, if we set fire to
him, we'd probably have to throw water on him."
[laughter]
Jon: So we thought, "OK, let's throw water at him." So, we told him that we were going
to throw water at him, and he agreed. And he showed up at the studio, and I stood on
one side of the room with a big bucket of water, and Kjell stood on the other side,
and we both had waterproof stuff on, and he just sat there, and - bosh! - got this face
full of water. And another. I'm really annoyed I don't have a photograph of us two throwing
the water, because I'd really like to have that on the wall. The poor guy was saturated.
[laughter]
Jon: But, we got our cover, and that was the main thing. We got our cover. This is the
last issue we did of "The Wire." When we took on "The Wire," we heard that the previous
art director had worked there for five years, and we just laughed. It was like, "Five years?
Can you imagine? How institutionalized is that?" And then like four years later, we're
thinking "Crap. We've got to get out of here."
[laughter]
Jon: So, we did this. We sent "The Wire" some flowers. And we were getting job offers from
advertising agencies who had seen our work, and they were sort of giving us the opportunity
to explore those kinds of avenues. And this is one for orange mobile phones, which obviously
takes inspiration from the "The Wire" features that we did. They wanted a Christmas one.
But, somehow, I thought, "Can you do Christmas and include orange?"
[laughter]
Jon: This one, they just wanted a big number one, and I immediately thought of Stanley
Kubrick's 2001. There's the ad. And then a record label calls and said, "We've got this
artist who saw your copy of "The Wire." Can we do something similar for your music packaging?"
So, we created her a little book with similar illustrations, and we printed this on the
sort of paper that you get in wedding albums. So, it's translucent and allows you to see
through the illustrations on the other side of the paper, so you get this fantastic sense
of depth. You get a bit of a journey from light to dark.
And then other singles. And then, of course, the publishing industry wanted a piece of
it. So, we did a book cover for Sean Wilsey in the same sort of style. And then the Venice
Biennale called and said, "We want you to do a program for our theater section." So,
we created a typeface and took soil and ash. It's called "The Romance of the Ash," the
theater program that year.
And we did the catalog in two parts, so there's a main catalog and a program that you could
carry around in your back pocket. We held them together with a rubber band. Unfortunately,
the rubber band was brown. We asked for a white one, and they all came thousands of
brown rubber bands.
I was livid.
[laughter]
Jon: And there's your poster. And then Nike called, and they want a piece of it, too.
So, we did - it's branding here for LeBron James using a similar sort of technique, integrating
all these expressive lines with bold type. This is for his Zoom LeBron three basketball
shoe. And they produced a shoe. We never got a pair of these, of course.
[laughter]
Jon: T-shirts. Integration into photography. And then we thought, "We need to pare things
back. We've been doing too much of this. We're going to end up being a one-trick pony. And
that's a real worry, is that you get known for doing something and you get commissions,
and the money's coming in, and you know that you're going to get more commissions because
they've seen something you've done.
In the end, you just think you've got to have another string to your bow, otherwise you're
in trouble. So, we decided to - we were working on stuff that was a lot more hard-edged and
darker in feel, and we decided that we would try and apply this kind of thinking typographically.
But, one of the projects that we did was this stupid tiger thing that Kjell adores.
[laughter]
Jon: Hi, Kjell. This is - yeah, it's a tiger. I'm trying to make the tiger look as ridiculous
and pathetic as possible. But, we were using typography that was - you know, it was pretty
simple stuff. Just fill in the counters and wow, we've got a trendy font. But, we decided
that this was a kind of approach, this harder-edged approach was something that had legs, so we
decided to really try it out.
And when we got this project in from the White Chapel Art Gallery in London, we produced
a kind of - we customized the typeface so that it had that harder kind of aesthetic,
because we just wanted to do something that was completely the opposite of all those flowers
and leaves and butterflies. This was printed on Bible paper as an insert. This thing cost
a fortune to make. I think they were like 50 or 60 bucks apiece to make and they sold
them for 30. They made a loss on every one. But, it ended up in the gallery, and they
look kind of nice, just gold foil print.
Then we started making typefaces out of the basic building blocks, like Bauhaus teaching.
Get a triangle and a square and a circle, see what you can make out of it. And there
was a kind of sense that this sort of typography should be uniform, should adhere to a rule.
And we decided, "Sod the rule, let's just make it expressive. Make it emotional but
still constrained."
And we really liked the idea that you take something that's one - you take a rule and
you take another rule and you see whether you can make something else out of it. So,
in this case, we had a limited number of shapes, but we decided we would allow the "e" to be
high if we wanted, and we would allow an "l" to be an awkward shape - the things that were
slightly compromised. This was done for "The Wire" magazine, and unfortunately they didn't
like the "c" and the "e" so they made us put some little cuts into it, but I don't mind
those. So, that was used through the magazine.
And then building typography out of basic shapes, again, but just taking it a little
further, a bit less legible. That actually does say "Hanne Hukkelberg," believe it or
not. And then for their follow-up album, Rykestrasse 68, we sent this typography to an illustrator
called Mario Hugo, who is just brilliant. He's a genius. And he created this wonderful
saturated-ink kind of piece for us which worked really well.
This was a commission that we got because Kjell is Norwegian and he got - the Norwegian
embassy called up from London and they said, "Can you do a poster that commemorates the
hundredth anniversary of the independence of Norway?" So, this was the poster that we
designed. We took the cheese slicer, which is one of Norway's big inventions.
[laughter]
Jon: And we created a typeface out of it. Kjell took this along to the embassy and showed
it to the ambassador, and he just didn't get it.
[laughter]
Jon: But he went with it. He let us do it. It was good. And then we printed all these
little icons of things that you can do in Norway in the shape of Norway. I wanted them
to be really, really tiny, of course, as my revenge on Kjell for that Henri Chopin illustration.
I wanted him to sit there for hours and hours and hours. But, he did them a little bit bigger
than I wanted.
So this is another typeface, again made up - just constructed from stuff, from shapes,
but we gave it a perspective slant. This was done for a band called TUBE, but they rejected
the cover. They didn't want it. And we never want to waste our time on anything, so we
just used it on another project.
This is for a Cursa Minor called "Dance Floor," and for this, for the imagery, we remembered
these fantastic paintings by Roy Lichtenstein of mirrors, which we always thought were really
fantastic pieces trying to convey a space by just using these flat colors. So, we created
these motorcycle helmets for a Cursa Minor cover, just several of these to go across
the packaging. Flat shapes, three-dimensional space.
So then, we started messing about with super-bold, what we've called super-bold typefaces. Whether
or not we invented the super-bold typefaces is for you to decide.
[laughter]
Jon: But, we really, really fell into this. This was just like wow, we're going to do
this for a while now. There's so much potential here. We can take a typeface and we can super-bold
it. We can make it fat and aggressive and almost illegible, and it just was such a fresh
thing to our eyes at the time.
We used it on a book cover. We did a hand-drawn poster for Letterset. Nike wanted it for a
shop display in Vegas. This is printed gold on white leather. We made it into wood block
so that we could actually print using the wood blocks, so we'd get this kind of result,
which gave it a nice organic quality.
And then this is another super-bold typeface we created for Loaf, which is a record label
that wanted some unique packaging. So, we did these huge - they're 12-inch square grayboard
with a print in a documents envelope stuck on top. Very low-tech. And on top of that
is silkscreen-printed the type. So, that would be the print inside, and then we silkscreen
over the top. So, at the top is the recording artist's name, and then below that is the
visual artist's name. They're given sort of equal billing.
That's Grandpeople's poster. There are several of these different colors for each act. This
is Sam Weber. His stuff is great.
And then we were asked to do "Varoom," which is an illustration magazine, a UK-based magazine
about illustration and made images, and called "Varoom." We were a bit annoyed with the title.
We just didn't thing it could work with the name "Varoom," especially with the two "o"s,
because it really looked - every time we did a logo, it just looked like a car magazine
because of the - especially with the two wheels. And then we decided, "Let's do those triangular,
and then we can get across the "o" problem."
But, we created another one of these super-bolds for "Varoom" and attacked the editorial design
for this. We tried to give it some personality, but we wanted the headlines to step back a
bit from the work itself, let the work speak for itself.
[silence]
Jon: This was our last issue. We did nine before we handed it back to them. And this
was created by Alex Trochut, who is a Spanish illustrator. He does really great work, and
we called him in to do this last issue for us. He's another one who is not afraid to
make type a little bit illegible. It says, "This is illustration." And then on the back
cover, he made it sync into the soup as a sort of farewell from us.
And then Nike - good old Nike - they wanted some super-bold for their football branding
and material. So, we worked with them on this. This is for a music magazine that wanted us
to do the lyrics to a Noz rap. This is kind of taking a gothic stance on it.
So, refining it slightly: instead of it just being a simple bold shape, we actually give
some unique flavor so that we knew it was ours. Because we were sort of starting to
see super-bold typefaces cropping up, so we thought we really need to make sure that we
keep it evolving. So, we had started making these shapes a little bit more unique. "More
unique," listen to me.
[silence]
Jon: And developing this on further. Trying to make it extend onwards and onwards so that
there is always another way of taking it on. Even if you just take a basic element from
one typeface, you could always create another typeface from it. So, in this case, these
kind of blob shapes evolved quite a lot. So, we now have this for vowels, which ended up
on the packaging like this. We only needed eight tracks, so we just did numbers one through
eight.
Don't worry about those two guys, they're not the Klan.
[laughter]
Jon: They're some English pagan Stonehenge worshipers. This is a reinterpretation of
"Planet of the Apes" that we did with an illustrator called Hello Vaughn. We asked him to do a
big gorilla, and he did a fantastic job, but it didn't have that - it didn't really say
"Planet of the Apes," so we put it into a silhouette of a human skull, which we think
sort of amplified that a little better. And then again, some more custom type.
This type was something we had done a while ago, but we decided when this job came up
for Greg Lynn Form, who is an LA-based architect, for his book, we would apply it, and we started
using it for the title pages and really trying to just play around with - just allow the
type to be the image, almost, so that the spaces in between the type are really as important
as they type itself.
Because one of the things about typography, for us, is just that it's almost like abstract
art. The closer in you go on a piece of type, the more fantastic it looks for me. It's just
bold and - they're just shapes. Fantastic shapes.
[silence]
Jon: That was the typeface that we created for Nike and then revisited for K-Swiss. They
wanted something to celebrate the re-issue of their classic tennis shoe.
[silence]
Jon: The [inaudible 0:43:53] sleeve. This is taking the blob shape that we've been using
a lot, but just trying to create another typeface where you have real extremes between the bold
parts and the light parts. So, there's a kind of - it's like a weird sort of elephant dance
kind of thing going on. And this is something that we developed a lot afterward. This was
the start of it, really - that sense of the ungainliness of a typeface having incredibly
thin lines, but also really super fat parts.
We got Dan McFarland, who created these fantastic miniature synthesizers. They're all about
the size of a matchbox. They're lovely little things. Gatefold LP. They still make them.
And then never wanting to discard anything at the end, we'd take that shape and create
another typeface.
This is a cover for Computer Arts, which is a UK-based - well, it's exactly what it says
on the label. They said, "Would you design the whole cover? We want to do die-cuts. So,
you can use die-cuts in any way you like." And we thought - originally we just thought,
"Well, we'll just punch holes out of it and create type." But then, we realized that a
die-cut could be used as a window, like an Advent calendar.
So we created this cover that looks sort of semi-abstract - again, just reveling in the
shapes - but then when you open the windows, it creates type. So, then it says the word
"birth," and then inside after you've opened the front you get this huge expressive splash
of color. And this is the result of realizing that there are only so many bold typefaces
you can do. We've got to keep this moving, and we've got to find another way of getting
this, another string to our bow.
There's always this constant pressure, this sense that we're being hounded, chased through
the woods, that we've got to get another direction going. So, we were experimenting with photography,
which I'll get onto a little bit later.
Teen Magazine - that's the New York style magazine - called us up and asked us to create
a typeface for their fashion features, and of course at the time we were obsessed with
this idea of super fat and very, very fine.
Especially as - you know, we really love the fashion magazine, especially Fabian Baron's
art direction. He always did those in Harper's Bazaar back in the early 90s. Late 80s, early
90s. He'd do all these fantastic spreads with really fine - he'd use data, but it would
be this super-fine cut. And I always loved that. And as soon as we learned how to use
Illustrator, it gave us the change to actually create this stuff ourselves.
So, there we have a couple of different versions of each letter shape, but an opportunity to
create something that could be used in a fashion magazine. And we tested it out with some well-known
names to see whether they fit. R.I.P. And this is how they were used in the magazine.
Of course, the art director was the one who designed the layouts. We didn't have any control.
But, we really liked these. I think he did a good job with them.
And this inspired us to then create our own version for sale. We'd always beforehand resisted
the idea of selling our own typefaces because as soon as we made them public, as soon as
other people could get hold of them, then it meant that what made our work ours could
suddenly be available to anybody on the planet. So, we always resisted that idea until someone
just called us up out of the blue and said, "Go on. Do a font, do a font."
So we decided, "OK, we'll do one." I don't know if we'll ever do another one, but if
you go to Hype for Type, you can buy this. And it's available in two weights. There's
the thin and there's the filled-in version, all the characters. And this works so that
you have the chance to mix the two together. It's kind of schizophrenic.
So, Very Elle. So, Elle in Paris gave us a call in Paris, and they said, "We're going
to do a special issue of the magazine. We're going to call it Very Elle, and we want you
to do the art direction and the design of it. Can you do something amazing for us?"
So we did our best to woo them with some different mastheads and some different cover ideas,
and we created a typeface for this, and we thought we were on a roll, this was going
to be a nice job.
They didn't want to use any of this, but they were really excited and they gave us the job.
This was used. This was a typeface that we created. So, there is, again, these very thin
shapes and the fat shapes, but we added these curves to give it a more feminine feel. And
we created a typeface that could be extended so that you could push the lines together
and move the typeface out of the way. So, the "n" of "Janice" there can be just extended
out so that the two "l"s from "rebelle" can slot in underneath and can extend that "b"
so that everything can all fit together really tight. So, every single headline had to be
created individually.
And these are really the best examples of what came out of this magazine. We didn't
think it was - it's always difficult when you do one issue. You're just finding your
legs. And we were hoping that there would be another issue and another issue, but then
there was the big crash and I don't think we'll be doing any more for them.
But, we found out that Nicole Richie was going to be on the cover, and they showed us the
photos, and our hearts sank. We just didn't see anything there that we thought was going
to work. But, we tried a few cover ideas for them, and I don't know. It would have been
nice if it had looked even like this. But, unfortunately - and we suggested the Janis
Joplin cover. We thought, "Hey, how about you do this instead?" But, they weren't buying
it, and that's the cover that we ended up with. This is not something we show, so it's
going off the screen. What can you do?
[laughter]
Jon: So, another question is, are we illustrators? Well, yes, I suppose. We've never really trained
as illustrators. We don't think of ourselves as illustrators. But, we have done illustration
work, and we do do illustration work. It's just that everything is so blurred now, the
boundaries between what's a designer and who's an illustrator and who's a photographer that
we just do what we do. Call it what you like.
These are all done for Coke. This is about as friendly as we get.
The Economist.
[silence]
[laughter]
Jon: And we've just recently done some IBM ads. They're doing this fantastic campaign
with flat graphics that are very in the sort of Paul Rand realm. They're reviving that
sort of feel. And they asked us to do this, to get across the idea of a supply chain.
So, we gave them a kind of semi-abstract flow chart, as it were.
They've been a fantastic client, because we supplied them - we gave them about 10 options
and we just threw this one at the end because we thought, "They'll never go with it, but
this is the way we would like it to look if they would only go with it." And this is the
one they chose. I don't know if this is actually a word, but like I was saying earlier, we've
tried to incorporate photography into type as well. So, instead of just being illustration
on top of type, we've tried to find a way of getting photography involved in type. And
it started with the photography work we do, with a guy called Jake Walters in London.
We've had a kind of long working relationship with him for many years. We work with him
in the studio on the shoot. And then we'll take the raw material and work on it, and
work on it, until we create our own images.
And this kind of liquid theme is something that we've been pushing a lot. At one point,
we really tried to see if we could explore the idea of putting three dimensional photography
imagery into typography. So, this goes back to the bold era. This was the backer of that.
They nearly rejected the design, because they thought we were being lazy on the back. Fair
enough.
This is something for a lifestyle magazine in Denmark called "S Magazine." They asked
us to do a three spread, a six page feature, in their magazine. We could do what we like,
so we chose to do the word blond.
But, we'd been in the studio recently. We were doing a lot of photography lately with
splashes of milk and ink and different colored substances. And we built a typeface and really,
really spent hours and hours in Photoshop putting these images together.
Because we invest a lot of time in something like this, it takes weeks and weeks and weeks
to get this kind of work together, in the hope that it'll be picked up at some point,
and get paid for, eventually. That's the hope, anyway.
[silence]
Jon: This is a very recent project. How am I doing for time? This album has just been
released in the UK. And, again, it's taking the same theme, but applying it to this music
packaging. We did the branding on this, the slipcase on the CD version, which is die cut,
in the similar sort of organic shapes, printed gold on the inside. No expense spared.
This piece is - we've just finished - it's about to be published by Penguin, Penguin
Classics, in London. This is a cover for "Dracula" done in association with Product Red. They
asked us to do... We had to take a quote from the book, that they supplied, and we created
a cover using that quote. We sort of did it in the style of a kind of 1920s horror movie,
"Nosferatu" type thing, with the glowing eyes. And that's the finished cover, although, to
be honest, I wish it looked like that. Too much color.
And that's it.
[laughter]
Jon: That's what we're doing. I was going to show you one more thing, which is not that.
It is... Let me just find it. This just came in today. Kjell has been hard at work, lying
on his back, hard at work on a music video. Not a music video, but an ad for this Delphic
album. And he sent it to me today and I said, oh, I want to show this. So, I am just going
to fire this up, if I can get it to work.
Andrew: Hey, Jon, iTunes is still running.
Jon: iTunes is still running?
Andrew: Yep.
Jon: Wow. I'm going to just quit that.
Andrew: There we go.
Jon: Sorry about this. I know this is not the slickest presentation now, but it just
came in. Let me see if I can get it to work. Is the sound on?
Andrew: Yep.
Jon: Cool.
[music 0:57:12-0:57:35]
Jon: So that's what we're doing for the next 10 years.
[laughter]
Jon: We're going to make things move. Thank you very much.
[applause]
Andrew: I think we're going to bring up the house lights a little bit. We have a little
bit of time for Q&A and then you're going to try...
Jon: I'm trying him, right now. I'm not wasting any time.
Andrew: [laughs] We're seeing if we can do the Q&A with Kjell and Jon.
Jon: Yeah.
Andrew: There are two persons with microphones and that's in order for us to capture the
question, because we're web-casting, or you could repeat it, either one. [jokingly] So,
just think about your questions for a little bit.
Jon: Yeah. I don't know. It's... Well... Is Kjell there?
Kjell Ekhorn: I'm here.
Jon: There he is. Are you going to turn your video on?
Kjell: No, are you going to turn yours?
Jon: Oh, OK. There I am.
[laughter]
Jon: Welcome to America.
Kjell: Cheers.
Jon: There he is.
[applause]
Jon: Kjell, live from Norway.
[laughter]
Kjell: At three in the morning. That's worthy of an applause I would say.
[laughter]
[applause]
Jon: Did you get any sleep?
Kjell: Yeah, I slept.
Jon: You're giving away our sources. Is that a Tokyo Type Director's Annual you've got
there on the side?
Kjell: No, I don't think so.
Jon: No-no, we can't see that.
Kjell: That's good.
Jon: So, maybe someone's got some questions for us. I don't know. Maybe they will or we
could just have a chat. I just showed the Delphic ad.
Kjell: Oh, yeah.
Jon: It was nice to see it on the big screen.
Kjell: Cool.
[laughter]
Jon: Is anybody going to ask us a question?
Kjell: Yeah, the one up in the right corner there.
[laughter]
Woman 1: Hi. How did get into motion, if you haven't been doing that, or it seems you haven't
been doing that for about 10 years, then all of a sudden you have started doing that?
Jon: Did you hear that?
Kjell: No.
Jon: Oh, OK. The question was, how did we get into motion? We've been working for 10
years and we haven't made anything move. And then, right at the end, they throw in a wild
card. I show them something that moves. So, how on Earth did that happen?
Kjell: I think we've been seeing quite a lot of our stuff moving, so to speak. So, we felt
that it was probably smart for us to actually do some of that ourselves. So, a lot of the
moving stuff that you see around is inspired by print graphics. And it's a kind of natural
progression I guess.
Jon: But, it's hard for us, because we have to get our head around brand new software
that we're not used to.
Kjell: But that's beautiful, because it gives you the opportunity to make all those mistakes
again.
Jon: Absolutely. It's best to be a rank amateur, isn't it?
Kjell: Absolutely.
Jon: Does that answer your question?
[off-mic speaking 1:01:13]
Woman 1: Sorry. I'm still amazed that if it's software you didn't know, then all of sudden,
seeing that clip at least, it seems like you've mastered it quite nicely. Clearly that didn't
happen overnight.
Jon: No-no. Well...
Woman 1: That's still impressive.
Jon: Well, it happened over my night. I got up in the morning and it was done.
[laughter]
Jon: Anyone else?
Man 1: Have there been any desirable or undesirable side effects since you've switched to being
so far away from each other?
Jon: Did you hear that, Kjell?
Kjell: No, I don't hear them that well.
Jon: OK. The question was, are there any side effects to moving away - so was that the question?
From being so far apart now?
Man 1: Yeah.
Jon: Are there any side effects? I guess any bad points, or good?
Kjell: I think it's been very healthy for us, because we were kind of growing a little
bit too close while we were in London, I guess.
[laughter]
Jon: Yeah. Too much hugging. There was too much hugging, wasn't there?
[laughter]
Kjell: It was just if one had a little cry, then the other one had to sit and cry too,
you know?
[laughter]
Kjell: It's kind of good not to see everything, I think.
Jon: Yeah.
Kjell: And also because we've worked together for so long, we kind of know each other. We
still don't - we don't really surprise each other even though we're so far away. You kind
of know what you can rely on. So, I think it has been mostly very, very good.
Jon: I tend to agree with that.
Kjell: Yeah. I think, it would have worked, normally I stood the other way around. We
worked like this, put something together and then moved together, you know?
[laughter]
Jon: Yeah. That might have been a bit strange. Yeah, definitely, I mean, working for ten
years with somebody, you get to know them inside-out, so then when you're apart you
know you can rely on certain things.
But, I did find that having Kjell sitting right next to me and looking at my screen
constantly - you could just glance over at my screen, I mean - you get very self-conscious
about what's on the screen at any time, and you just get that horrible feeling that he
thinks, "What you have on your screen is shit."
[laughter]
Jon: So, just being able to spend a few hours working away on your own and not worrying
about your screen because he's never going to see it until you send it to him, that's
great. I think that really helps me. I don't know whether Kjell feels the same way about
that, but it certainly helps.
Kjell: It's a little bit of a shift for me, actually.
Jon: Because you're used to - a shift for you, you actually like to see the crap on
my screen.
Kjell: [laughs] It's very nice to see what the other person is working on, but it is
a different beauty to actually get it served in the morning like that like we are getting
now. It's fantastic to turn on the machine and find that stuff has moved along, and you
feel like you have had a very good night's sleep. Not tonight obviously, but...
[laughter]
Jon: No, you'll get nothing tomorrow morning, I'm sorry. Although - yeah, never mind.
[laughter]
Jon: Every time I see Kjell's face, I feel like I should be talking shop, and this is
actually a day off. So, I was about to mention a project, but I won't.
Kjell: That's good.
[laughter]
Jon: There's another question. That one, OK. Oh, you've disappeared. Oh, hello.
[silence]
[laughter]
Kjell: I'm just testing out the audience.
[laughter]
Jon: What do you think, guys? Can you see what it is?
Woman 1: Yeah, it's a teddy bear.
Jon: Cool. Take it off the screen. They've seen too much.
Kjell: Yeah. All right, OK.
Man 1: So my question was about your photography. And do you guys shoot most of your own stuff?
Do you prefer to shoot your own stuff? And what's your training in photography? Because
you have really beautiful imagery.
Jon: So the question is about the photography, are we rained to do our own photography? I
feel like I'm relaying this, and I'm saying a completely different question.
Man 1: No, that's good.
Jon: Is that right? It was like...
Man 1: Yeah.
Jon: How did we get into this discipline of adding photography? Do we work with other
photographers? And I'm going to let you answer all the questions, because I don't...
Kjell: No, just answer it.
Jon: All right. Well, we do work - as I mentioned a little earlier, we work with Jake Walters.
He's one guy that we've worked with an awful lot. And if we ever have an idea and we feel
like it needs taking into the studio and shooting, then he's the guy we tend to work with because
we just have such a great rapport with him. Anything you want to add?
Kjell: No, I think that's true. But, we like working - I mean, we like working with images.
We work quite a lot with stock images as well if we find that that is - we like playing
around with stuff, just like we do with typography, we play around with photography, but only
- it has not that much in common with being neither a typographer nor a photographer ever
again.
Jon: All right.
Man 1: Because that James Murphy image, you guys said you were throwing water at him,
so someone else was shooting that, but you guys were creating the action, I guess?
Jon: Yeah. I guess that is getting involved in the photoshoot for sure, yeah. I mean,
the idea of throwing water on him was our idea, and the very idea that somebody else
would be throwing the water is just ridiculous. There's no way anyone else is going to get
that job.
Man 1: So I guess I was just kind of like do you do that a lot? Do you get really hands-on
with the photographers?
Jon: Yeah, definitely. We like to - we wouldn't be that comfortable just phoning a photographer
and saying, "Here's an idea. Go ahead and do it" and see what comes back. We are incredible
control freaks, so we like to go and nurse everything and see everything. Because then
you have the chance to add input and say, "Oh, that's working, but it will maybe work
better if we try this and try this and try that."
[silence]
Jon: Nothing.
Woman 1: Jon? [laughs]
Kjell: No, I'm just staring at you, Jon.
Jon: OK. You can only see me, can't you, I'm afraid?
Kjell: I can only see you, yeah.
Jon: Maybe I should just give you a little treat. I'm going to turn this around, and
you can see all these wonderful people.
Woman 1: Should we all wave?
Kjell: Yeah, look around.
[laughter]
Kjell: What are you doing up so late?
[laughter]
Woman 2: How do you balance your business part? Because if you work with clients all
over the world and you guys are in different time zones, how do you decide who talks to
clients and when, and how do you deal with the client interaction?
Jon: OK. So, the question was how do we handle the business side of it, the client interaction.
We've got clients all over the world, so someone has to answer the phone. Now, whose phone
do they ring?
Well, I suppose the answer to that question is we have two numbers, one for the US, one
for Norway. But, people don't tend to ring, they tend to email, so that way they reach
us independently, also together.
Kjell: But also they do call as well.
Jon: Yeah, they do call.
Kjell: Advertising agencies normally call.
Jon: Yeah. They like to speak.
Kjell: Yeah.
Jon: Yeah. That's true.
[laughter]
Kjell: It's quite funny, because my name is Kjell, which is an odd name in England, when
we had the studio in London, whenever the phone rang, the person would just say - if
it was a person that we had never had any dealing with, they would always say, "Could
I speak with Jon, please?"
Jon: Yeah.
Kjell: And then if I said he wasn't there, there would be a pause, and then they would
say, "Could I speak with, ki-jell?"
[laughter]
Kjell: So, but yes. I don't think anyone knows who is where now anyway, so...
Jon: No. I think that just answers the phone question. I suppose the main thrust of the
question is, how do you run a business based in two separate countries? Our accounts department,
if you want to call it that, is based in the UK still. So, we run everything through the
UK. All of our business is done from one source and then we're in effect employees of our
own business.
Kjell: Well, we run two separate companies that are kind of feeding off.
Jon: Yeah.
Kjell: Yeah.
Jon: That company that we work for never makes a profit, does it? It's a terrible, terrible
business. It's the worst run business in the world.
[laughter]
Kjell: Their directors must be crap at what they're doing.
Jon: Yeah.
[laughter]
Jon: They're giving it all away to the workers. Does that answer the question? OK. Everything
else is classified.
[laughter]
Jon: That's it. I got a few... Oh, no it's not.
Woman 2: Hi, there. I was just wondering since you showed some of how your work has evolved.
Do you see yourself going backwards at all and maybe using the scanner and putting the
dirt on there and using those methods again? Or is it just more of this forward evolution
in going into typography and movement with the typography?
Jon: So, the question is, are we always pushing forward with new technology? Or is there ever
a point where we might get our hands dirty ever again? Is that the question? Yeah.
Kjell: What do you mean by hands dirty?
Jon: Like when we would put fraying type onto a scanner or dirt or soil onto a scanner and
scan it in and all that kind of... It's more of an organic... It's more analog than digital.
Kjell: Yeah. Well, all that stuff, it always goes in waves, I think. You do something for
a while and then you feel like going back and doing something completely different.
I mean, certainly. We are not very good with technology at all as we have probably demonstrated
with pushing QuarkXPress as far as it can.
[laughter]
Jon: Yeah.
Kjell: That can only be done by idiots. But, it's kind of charming. I mean, it's something
that required light. So, having sort of a lack of intelligence had never been a problem
for us, I think.
[laughter]
Jon: New technology is always exciting, but like Chow says, we are so slow to pick up
on it or to learn it. It takes an awful long time to get your head around those programs.
And so we find ourselves falling behind in that respect. But, when we do finally get
our hands on it, technology has been around long enough that all of the tech heads that
made it become trendy have done all the things they need to do. It's like when desktop publishing
started and everybody was squashing type and stretching type because they said woo, look
what you can do!
And then as a designer you get a hold of that technology after the tech heads have got it
you seize it off them. And then you can start doing something a bit more refined... Or not
really refined, not necessarily better, but just more what you feel comfortable with.
And I think that we'll just take anything and see how we can work with it. So, like
with that Delphi CAD, I'm sure that people who run after effects would be able to see
right through how it's constructed. But, we hope that our naivety, our ignorance for the
way it works will just mean that we create something that isn't the same as everybody
else is creating. Now, I'm just rambling.
[laughter]
Kjell: That is good. It's good.
Jon: Yeah. More questions?
Man 3: I've got a question for you. I notice great typography and loads of avant-garde
usage through your presentation. And I guess my curiosity is what typographers inspire
non-format? I notice that there's a lot of breakdowns between... I see what I would consider
"Lubalin Graph" and beautiful, beautiful usage of that. And "Serif Gothic" and I could even
say maybe Herb Lubalin in that aspect. But, what typographers really inspire non-format?
Jon: Yeah, the question was what typographers inspire non-format. And of course the answer
is all of them. But, yeah, you've definitely seen a pattern. You're mentioning some names
that... Like Lubalin is definitely someone I admire greatly. And I mentioned Fabien Baron
as well. I mean, the typography he does for fashion stores I always thought was fantastic.
But, I don't know. There's just too many.
If I pick some names it makes it seem like I hate the rest, so I can't even begin to
reveal my sources. What typographers do you like, Chow?
[laughter]
Kjell: I'll go with you, I think. I greatly admire all of them.
Jon: Yeah. We're being tight lipped.
Kjell: Not at the same time, obviously.
Jon: No. Yeah, I think things come in and out of fashion as well. We've very guilty
of being influenced by the fashion of things. I can't remember which book it was in, but
there's this fantastic style wheel that was just on one page. It was this circular diagram
with words and at the top I think it started with good taste or something like that. And
then the next thing was cliché and then it became overused. And then it became
just dropped, or I can't remember what the words were now. So that you have this sense
of whatever you're creating right now will either be super trendy or it will be a bloody
cliché or it will be dead in the water because no one's going there anymore.
Or it will be fetishistic because some back room person has suddenly picked up on it and
realized that it's so out of date that it's cool again. And then it just goes round and
round on this wheel. And we saw that and thought, wow, that really puts things into perspective.
You could look at anything on the planet and regardless of what it is. We've been asked
to do packaging for an album that is basically not rock. And it's like we just heard it,
it's like oh my God, this is Don Fagen or whatever his name is.
Like, who wants to listen to this? And of course the answer is a generation that have
never heard it before. And so it's the same with typography. We look back at stuff and
we try to look forward at stuff. And it's all up for grabs. But, of course there is
no fixed point at which something is good. That's always moving and always shifting.
I don't know if that answers that question.
[laughter]
Jon: I'm just answering my own questions.
[laughter]
Jon: The ones in my head.
Kjell: You always do.
Jon: Yeah, I know.
[laughter]
Jon: I know. I think we have to be, don't we? You've got to go to bed!
Kjell: Yeah. So, will you soon.
Jon: Yeah, true.
Kjell: There's a lot of work waiting for you.
Jon: Oh crap.
[laughter]
Jon: Go and get some sleep, man.
Kjell: Yeah. OK. It was nice to see you all.
[applause]
Kjell: OK. [inaudible 1:18:49] tomorrow.
Jon: All right. He's gone.
[laughter]
Jon: Thank you.
[applause]