Wednesday, October 31, 2012
- Lÿon typeface, designed with Radim Pesko
Karl Nawrot, also known as Walter Warton, is a French graphic designer and illustrator who lives and works in Seoul. He first studied illustration in Lyon, France and in 2008 finished a Master’s Degree in graphic design at The Werkplaats Typography in Arnhem, The Netherlands. Through his design studio Voidwreck Nawrot has been working on a variety of projects from designs of typefaces to illustrations and more experimental work. He has also been teaching drawing at the Rietveld Academy and has worked as a curator for graphic design exhibitions.
Nawrot’s designs explore basic shapes and patterns taking them very far into abstraction and playing with the different possibilities. Many works show a true fascination for infinity and repetition. In an interview for gallery 12mail he said that his inspiration was “the drawings that I trace in the morning when a part of myself is still asleep.” His work is often very drawing based yet he has also developed his very own style in working in more experimental way. He creates his own tools which can be anything from ink stamps to circular record templates and geometrical stencils. He uses these tools and devices to investigate and explore the possibilities of shapes and patterns and to make type experiments.
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
My research is about a Czech graphic designer named Radim Pesko who, along with contributing to various magazines, is running an Amsterdam based type-foundry (RP; a digital type-foundry established by himself in 2009). Occasionally he does curatorial practise and teaches in the graphic design department at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy Amsterdam.
In this text, I will focus on a collaboration Pesko did along with French graphic designer colleague Karl Nawrot in 2010 and compare it to Wim Crouwel’s “New Alphabet” from 1967.
Pesko and Nawrot made a family of four rather unique and aesthetically compelling type-faces; The Lÿon Family. This family is named up after Nawrot’s hometown Lyon, and the designer himself claims that the umlauts in his and Pesko’s ÿ were added to make it appear more personal and playful. The Lÿon font family was introduced to the public as a booklet supplement called “Newer Alphabets” to the “Typefaces Issue” of GRAPHIC (16th edition); a design magazine created by another colleague and friend of theirs, S-Korean Na Kim.
At the launch of Na Kim’s 17th edition of GRAPHIC (“When Design Becomes Attitudes”), both Pesko and Nawrot were there in person to have a talk about their collaboration on the Lÿon project. Lucky for me, since I happened to be in the audience.
I must mention that prior to this, I had made an attempt to interview Pesko via e-mail, but I found the talk at the magazine launch to be more fruitful for my research; basically all my questions were answered without me even having to ask them. The (funny and to some extent rivaling) dynamic between the two collaborators was also obviously easier to catch, and it helped me develop a more wholesome image of both their process and final outcome. But first a little more about the members of the Lÿon family; the Lÿon’s are Jean (after artist Jean Arp), Stan (after director and photographer Stanley Kubrick), Ulys (after Franco-Japanese animation series Ulysses 31) and Walt (after founder of Disney Pictures Walt Disney).
These brother type-faces are creatively based on a feeling or the essence of the characters they’ve been named after, as well as the fact that they have formal approaches to their subject qualities. This is also stated shortly by James Langdon in the “Newer Aphabet” booklet “…they are open and various and their spirit is this: to resist normative tendencies and to reject the idea of definitive form”, but as the booklet basically focuses on presenting the different family members and suggests various juxtapositions of their letters, it was quite helpful to hear the designers explain their work furthermore. Amongst other details, they mentioned how the different “Lÿon brothers” are created with the intention of being able to mix with each other; a feature I personally appreciate a lot because it encourages their potential users to be creative and exploring by being allowed to play around with them.
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
With a speech by Simon den Hartog, former director of The Gerrit Rietveld Academie, a small retrospect exhibit on the work of Jan Slothouber was openened at the “van Abbemuseum” in Eindhoven NL. An intimate group of affectionado’s and family bridged the gap of almost 50 years, when Jan Slothouber together with Willem Graatsma started his fascinating journey into the world of the cube. The Centre of Cubic Constructions represented a highlight in this extraordinary focussed research, culminating in the 1970 representation at the Venice Biennale.
Seemlessly scanning the architectoral space occupied by art and design, the exhibit –designed by Erik Slothouber and curated by Diana Franssen– clearly presented an extraordinary focussed spectrum of work
Some weeks later we revisitted this exhibit with a student research team of the FoundationYears C group. Exploring the cubic constructions we found direct relations between the work of Slothouber and the minimal art of Sol LeWitt. The choice for a simple universal and modular form makes it posible to built a grammar for an entire body of work in which all the steps in the process can become interesting in their own right. “in which even the concept can become as interesting as the final product” (Sol Lewitt, cat Sonsbeek 71).
The specific context of typedesign addressed in our workshop presented striking relation between their works and those of more contemporary designers like Radim Pesko and the Swiss designers Dimitri Bruni & Manuel Krebs of Norm
More research was conducted to explore related content or workapproach of other designers like, Bram de Does, Karl Nawrot, Na Kim (website) and Ji Lee.
This was part I of the C_group research.
All researches linked in this posting can be downloaded in A4 format and are also available as hard copy research prints at the ResearchFolders available at the academy library