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"Radim Pesko" Tag


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

cover of Ray by Susanne Kriemann

What could ‘Ray’ be about I wonder? What kind of ray? Ray who? Stingrays? Electromagnetic radiation?
After holding this book for long enough to determine that it has nothing to do with any of these, the mystery of the content, for that moment, became irrelevant.
The matte, black and grey photograph of what seems to be a large rock amidst a rockier landscape provokes the question further, but this provocation is quickly smoothed out by the incredibly soft texture of the cover in which to run your hands across with pleasure.

Apologies Susanne Kriemann, for I am without doubt that this is an interesting book, but my other senses are currently occupied…

Opening the not-so-glossy, smooth publication that is creating such an aura of intrigue, is all the more satisfying. With black pages and a silver typeface to contrast, I am immediately drawn in by the first few images; a double page, inverted radiograph of two keys – unlocking this mystery at last perhaps – two saturated photographs of landscapes and hand written material.


By cleverly playing around with the orientation and size of photographs; some with an opposing black page, others wedged between boundaries of silver, is just one of the ways in which Radim Pesko, designer, creates more invitation to go deeper into this book.


The simplicity in using a plain Typeface (F Grotesk Light) can be overlooked, with text positioned only on the far left and right of the page, giving the centerfold its black depth.

This dark and light theme gracefully continues throughout the book, with a few pages of text, followed by changing and developing perspectives of more atmospheric images.

This layout has been well thought out, even down to the threaded binding, this book has a particular attraction about it.

Finding an instant connection with a publication is a rare and enjoyable experience.

Sacrificing myself to the curiosity that had built up, just by holding the book and skimming through the pages a few times, I decided to delve into the contents.

Obscurely at first; broaching a subject that we are so familiar with, and such an integral part of every crevice of our lives,  yet we barely give it any thought. Written in such a way that doesn’t seem to want or need to give too much away, which matches the design impeccably.

When talking about light, to a photographer especially, the layers upon layers of this incredible source we take for granted becomes aparant, and goes deeper than expected.

Rooted in geology, rocks and the landscape; our connection and consciousness with the Earth, are essential in Kriemanns research. The birth of photography and introduction of electrical lighting, the minerals extracted, right down to the mine from whence it came; the corruption that followed blinded by human desire, to the growth into the world we live in now, with the glare of an LED screen ever present and almost impossible to escape.

A somewhat poetic approach, exemplifying more than just the artificial. As humans we are connected to the landscape and geology of the Earth, both physically and psychologically, as much as we continue on the unscrupulous path we tread.

An enticing read, with interesting extracts from contemporary writers and stories of the past, many angles are covered and stones unturned. This goes deeper than a photography publication, but more like an exploration into the process; the why, where and how we have reached the conditions we are in today…

This conceptualization must have also attracted Pesko to work on the design. For him, methods in working number 1: have an interest!

If you are not drawn in by the concept or idea, then you will not produce a successful outcome. With ‘Ray’, he brings forth an approachability to a book that I have not encountered before.

I could have returned ‘Ray’ to the library weeks ago, but I didn’t want to. It felt too nice and I had not finished reading it. But also the photographs, are wonderful, and mysteriously come together and take form as you read on. I want a copy of my own.

So how is he able to hit the mark? Well not only is a peak in Pesko’s interest essential, but also an element of humanitarianism; doing it for the people and the community.

After gaining plenty of knowledge studying at art academies in Prague and London, then completing a post-grad at ‘Werkplaats Typografie’ in Arnhem, he began designing for a magazine.  The history of all typeface-design, and the idea that you could make a part of that history, was an interesting thought for Pesko, and when design became more serious a deepening interest and work on commissions helped to form his own preferences and continue to develop his skills.

Successful working method number 2: be comfortable with your own limitations. That’s when it got more interesting, as his style became more refined and he was easily able to pull together key elements.

Formerly based in Amsterdam and once a teacher at the Rietveld Academie,  he now primarily works in London as an independent graphic designer. Whatever the project, I think Pesko has developed a good approach to his way of working.

Lesson 3: You begin with no material, until you start drawing, then allow your concept to grow. In each typeface created, he is also finding its own story, and history.

Playing with weights, styles, layers and colour, there are “endless combinations and infinitive variations”, which gives him a sense of freedom. A freedom that he also shares… At RP Digital Type Foundry established in 2009.


is one of the many examples that have been used to preview his fonts. This information is automatically saved to his website. From Amsterdam Weather Forecast, BBC News and New York Times, to tv show The Wire and other websites and sources. Hundreds of these headlines are cataloged and published in the ever updating book ‘Specimen’, along with new and indicative fonts.


His distinctive family of fonts, whether in response to changing conditions in production or individually adjusted according to the space they occupy, are highly recognizable forms with the design remaining in the defined project.

Working method number 4: VISUAL is important.

Emphasized in personal projects such as the book ‘Informal Meetings’. A collection of photographs made during his travels to different places.

‘any part, any form’ is the follow up to this, and also the beginning and the end. No other text is included in this book. Discoveries of interesting encounters between space, architecture and water, each photograph seems to reference the other, forming a narrative and giving the images a natural flow, without the addition of text. A blue rectangle and textured red circles on the cover are all this book needs; relating to the title and content, everything makes so much sense, without giving it all away at first glance.

cover of 'Any Part, Any Form' by Radim Pesko [x]

Similarly in the design for Ray; the links form themselves. Ah so that is a Quartz Crystal on front cover… nice.

Teaching number 5: Let me take you on a journey, let me be your guide on this path of realization that you have already begun, you just don’t know it yet.

Okay, entice me a little more why don’t you, that is fine with me.




Rietveld library catalog no : kri-1


Karl Nawrot and the charm of infinity

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.


New & Newer Alphabets.

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.


The cube as a representation of a democratic art form

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

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