Session 2: Non-Format

Sep 22nd, 2009

Session 2: Non Format

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[/column] [column width="57%" padding="0"]How actively involved are the artists with the visual direction of each subsequent release? The level of involvement can very quite a bit. Generally speaking the recording artists on Lo Recordings don’t get too involved with steering the visual direction of their packaging, so this allows us to get on with our job fairly unencumbered. In Bernard Fevre’s case, we produced a visual showing the general direction the packaging would take and we got a reply via the label managers that he was happy with the look of it, so that one went fairly smoothly.
                 We’ve had a few situations in the past with artists not liking our visual direction or, worse still, trying to get too involved with the design, but mostly this isn’t the case. There was, however, one instance where one of our designs was rejected for the most unfortunate reasons. We’d centred this particular design around a series of photos of dogs, which just happened to be wearing make-up. The /images had a fantastically matter-of-fact and yet slightly disturbing feel to them. We were sure the client would either love them or, at worst, be disinclined towards them. It turned out that he was so horrified by these /images that he was almost brought to tears. He politely but very insistently rejected our designs and, after much cajoling, revealed that the reason was quite simple. He was once, as a child, savaged by a dog. We really couldn’t have chosen a worse subject for this chap’s album packaging. This level of rejection is, thankfully, very very rare.

In terms of typographic exploration, you’ve employed a bespoke typeface consisting of bold geometric forms, fine lines and large rounded serifs in some of your recent work – namely: Print Magazine, Vowels – The Pattern Prism, and to a certain degree: GAP (Red). How did this come about? We’re always playing around with shapes and forms that can translate into typefaces, and we’re always taking typefaces we’ve designed for one project and spending time exploring new avenues with the basic form and structure to see if we can create something new from something already tried and tested. The result is quite a large collection of typefaces, some of which get used on commercial projects and some are destined for non-commercial or more promotional projects. The typeface we’ve used for the Vowels music packaging has evolved from a mixture of typefaces including one originally created for the Hatchback album packaging. Some of the letterforms are also included in the t-shirt designs for GAP (Red), and modified versions also made it into the tattoo design for Print’s cover image. Not unlike a family tree it’s possible to trace the lineage of some of these typefaces back to earlier Non-Format projects and, no doubt, we’ll continue to cross breed these letterforms with new ones in the future.

As ambassadors of type, what has a been highlight for you so far this year? Generally speaking, our appreciation of type has been less about individual typefaces and more about the illustrative way that type is being handled. Alex Trochut, for example, is creating some great type but the real charm and impact of his work is in the way he creates compelling /images that are primarily typographical.
                 However, that’s not to say there aren’t some good typefaces out there. We particularly like Ondrej Jób’s Klimax, which has recently won a Judges Choice in this year’s New York TDC awards. Also, Planeta by Dani Klauser is a nice simple geometric sans serif, and Nicholas Massi’s Arco is a typeface that made an impression this year.

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  1. David

    A month of work, and twenty-something emails later, Session 2: Non-Format finally goes live! A big thank you to Non-Format (especially Jon) for making this happen – I really appreciate all the time that went into answering each question in detail.

    For those of you that want a really close look at the artwork for ‘The Strange New World Of Bernard Fevre’ you can check out some exclusive images—which Jon kindly sent over—on the SeptemberIndustry Flickr. (Make sure you view them in ‘Original’)

  2. Good stuff mate.


  3. Kevin

    Cracking read. Cheers for putting this together.

  4. David

    Cheers mate. Glad you enjoyed it ;)

    You’re welcome. As I say, it was a combined effort between myself and Non-Format, so they deserve as much credit as I do, if not more!

  5. Good stuff.

  6. u_helv

    Excellent read mate, very enlightening, great use of this platform you have.
    I appreciate the hard work!

  7. David

    Thank you for the kind words Helv/Craig. It took a lot more time to piece together than Session 1, but it was certainly worth all the extra effort! Expect more of these Sessions in the near future…

    Before I forget, here’s a Q&A that didn’t quite make the cut…

    D: What can we expect from Non-Format this year?
    J&K: We’re planning to have a font released commercially later this year. We haven’t released any of our typefaces as fonts for the general public before, so, it’ll be interesting to see if it actually sells.

  8. AGL

    Lovely feature. Looks like 50% of Non-Format is based in Norway!

  9. David

    Delighted you enjoyed it. Based on your previous comment, I’d assume you’ve picked up a copy of Studio Culture ;)

  10. a commercial typeface? whether it sells or not it will definitely gather a lot of attention. theres no chance of a sneak preview anywhere I wonder

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