The Basel School of Design 2019
FHNW Visual Communication Instituteart direction, campaign
In 2019, the Visual Communication Institute of FHNW Academy of Art and Design commissioned the first campaign to promote their two Master programmes: Master of Arts in Visual Communication and Iconic Research (MA) and International Master of Design UIC/HGK (MDes). The institute calls itself “The Basel School of Design” to point at the heritage of the world-renowned Kunstgewerbeschule Basel, where graphic designers like Emil Ruder, Armin Hofmann, and Wolfgang Weingart taught their craft. The school was known for its process-oriented approach and a design methodology that focuses on generating a considerable amount of variations, mostly in black and white. This design tradition is still present in the current design education at the Visual Communication Institute. For that reason, it was decided to show various visualisations of the commissioned topic of “friction” in the campaign design. Those abstract illustrations were then positioned on a rigid layout, which again points towards the prominent grid systems that are often understood to be characteristic of Swiss graphic design. The concept and design were developed and realized by Hoang Nguyen during her time at the design department of the HGK FHNW.
Next Generation 2018
FHNW Academy of Art and Designart direction, campaign
The annual campaign “Next Generation” invites the students of the FHNW Academy of Art and Design in Basel shortly before their graduation to present themselves with their work, attitude, and plans to an interested public. The chosen motif for the campaign of 2018 shows all current graduates coming together across disciplines to exchange ideas and celebrate together. The motifs were staged by Hannah Weinberger and shot by Diana Pfammatter. In the second step, the graphic designer got involved and was asked to take over the art direction in order to formulate a convincing campaign with the given material. To fulfil the client’s request to not appear all to “clean” and “polished”, the photographs were interwoven with a dominant typographic composition. In many cases, the images were positioned off-centre and asymmetrical. In addition, a visual pattern was created by repeating the names of the different relevant institutions of the academy. This helped to give structure to areas in the compositions that would have otherwise appeared empty and clean. The art direction (graphic design) was done by Hoang Nguyen during her time at the design department of the HGK FHNW.
Honored & Exhibited
Gestalten in Metaphern
FHNW Academy of Art and Designbook, poster
“Gestalten in Metaphern” was created as part of David Gobber’s master’s thesis at the Basel School of Design. The thesis project investigated the metaphorical nature of many design concepts by building on the following premise: Given that design decisions are not purely arbitrary but rather based on conscious as well as unconscious thought processes, an analysis of the way we think should enable us to shed a light on how we design. There are different theories of cognition which could help us in this endeavour. Among those, the conceptual metaphor theory is quite promising. It helps to describe and analyse a prominent type of thinking in graphic design: The so-called metaphorical thinking, which essentially refers to all instances of “understanding and experiencing one kind of thing in terms of another”. In “Gestalten in Metaphern” – which means as much as “Designing in Metaphors” in English – David Gobber explored different design concepts and analysed their metaphorical structure. He collected and described some of the most common metaphorical concepts but also looked into the creative potential of more unconventional ones that were purposefully used to create truly original results. In this context, projects of designers such as Julia Born, Irma Boom, Fons Hickmann, Claudiabasel, Ralph Schraivogel, and many more were discussed to illustrate the crucial role of these unconventional metaphorical design concepts. The final outcome of this study was the development of a method that helps to inspire an initial design concept, based on which an original piece of graphic design can be developed. The conceptual metaphor theory was boiled down to a pragmatic tool for creative people who are struggling against the paralysing void of the empty sheet of paper in front of them.
FHNW Academy of Art and Designbook, 3d
The project “SWISSTOPIA AUTOMATA” was created as the practical part of Hoang Nguyen’s master’s thesis “Visualizing Utopia: Switzerland after the Labour Society”. It is an investigation into the utopian future of Switzerland and how it can be visualized. More concretely, it is a study of a utopian society in which labour does not play such a central and in many ways problematic role as it does today. The problems linked to labour are manifold: May it be that many kinds of work are not recognized as “proper work” or the increasingly precarious conditions in which many people have to do labour to secure their livelihoods. Our history has shown that things could always be different. However, it seems that today, we do not have any concept of what a better future might look like. German futurologist Harald Welzer criticizes this lack of images of the future (Zukunftsbilder) in today’s society which is, in other words, the lack of positive goals people aspire to. He sees a possible solution for motivating people to take action in the creation of realities that have a concrete connection to the life-world (Lebenswelt) of its contemplators. For that reason, the fictive report “SWISSTOPIA AUTOMATA” was created, which also fulfils what Thomas Schölderle defines as the purpose of every utopia, namely an effective criticism of current social injustices. The report is written and designed in a way that suggests that it comes from a not further defined future and mixes real and fictive elements to provide a graspable portrait of a utopian Switzerland, called SWISSTOPIA. The report consists of three main parts. The first one illustrates the historic developments that led to SWISSTOPIA. It covers various actual and fictive events from the initiative for the introduction of an unconditional basic income in 2016 to the COVID-19 pandemic in written form and through recontextualised images, altered captions, and other pieces of media. In the second part, the various kinds of automation developed in SWISSTOPIA are shown. They are the supposed centre of this report and are proudly presented as products of Swiss innovative capabilities, hence the report’s title “SWISSTOPIA AUTOMATA”. The third part focuses on the renewed ways in which the former workers and other parts of Swiss society are living. In a way, this last part is the visualization of a very classic utopian idea, which is known for a long time, yet was never realized. It is the right of a dignified and self-determined existence that realizes itself through leisure (Musse) for everyone.
Lucifer is a display typeface with an almost hostile appearance. Its sharp, expressive serifs and overall organic look are inspired by the hand-lettering of Robert Stöcklin in his poster design for the Mustermesse Basel 1924. The goal was not to produce just a simple redrawing of Stöcklin’s hand-lettering for use in a digital environment. Lucifer aims to achieve the expressive quality of a few of the original glyphs within an overall working type-system, that is suitable for typesetting of various kinds of running text. The very first glyphs of Lucifer were sketched back in 2017. In its current state, Lucifer is a type family consisting of multiple cuts and has more than 550 different characters. A version suitable for a commercial release is still in the making and expected to get finalized in 2021.
All About Space (Vol. 2)
The publication “All About Space (Vol. 2) — HOUSE 1 Catalogue” is the second volume in a series of four planned books on ALICE, Atelier de la Conception de l’Espace, which is affiliated with the School of Architecture at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL). It focuses on the so-called HOUSE 1 a prototype structure developed and constructed throughout the academic year in a collaboration that involved 250 first-year students and architects. The HOUSE 1 Catalogue itself is structured in three sub-catalogues which are: the Theory Catalogue, the Construction Catalogue, and the Inhabitation Catalogue. The first one is a collection of different types of texts written by guests of the ALICE Studio, various reference literature, and quotes contributed by the involved students. This first part can be understood as the intellectual base on which the HOUSE 1 project is built. In the second part, the rich pool of reference material is presented, which inspired the conception, design, and construction of HOUSE 1. The publication then ends with the Inhabitation Catalogue, which consists of 12 short stories featuring fictional characters through which the various ways of inhabitation of the developed structure gets explored. The design was developed and realized by Hoang Nguyen with and for Hubertus Design (Jonas Voegeli).
For and With
Hubertus Design (Jonas Voegeli)
Print & Binding
An der Grenze der Lesbarkeit
FHNW Academy of Art and Designbook
Emil Ruder, 1959: “Typography is regarded primarily as a means of ordering the various constituents of a layout. Exacting artistic postulates or creations are no longer involved; the endeavour is simply to find a formally and functionally satisfactory answer to daily requirements.” At first glance, it seems like Ruder wants to suggest that the main goal of typography is to make something legible by reminding the reader of the importance of functionality in typesetting. However, we also know many cases in which the function of a certain typographic design is specifically not to be legible. Sometimes the typesetting needs to have an unusual aesthetic, surprise, or connote a different meaning than the text itself. In the bachelor’s thesis of Hoang Nguyen, this whole range of typographic design, from totally illegible typesetting to the most possible clarity, was studied. She did so in two different ways: Firstly, within her scientific writing, she focused on alternative typographic demands in poster design as well as current theoretical papers on questions of legibility in typography. Secondly, she conducted practical experiments, through which she explored the oftentimes unclear and rather broad border between legible and illegible typesetting. The scientific writing as well as the results of her design experiments are documented in the first of two books that make up her bachelor’s thesis. This first book also features an indexing system that helps the reader to understand the structure of categories, techniques, relations, and references by which the output is organised. This makes it effectively an encyclopedia-like piece of work. The second book provides insights into the experiments through photographic documentation and written notes about thoughts, decisions and findings that guided the process.
FHNW Academy of Art and Designtypeface
The first few characters of Generation Mono were drawn by Hoang Nguyen for the 2019 edition of the annual “Next Generation” campaign of the FHNW Academy of Art and Design in Basel. We took these initial shapes and expanded the character set to cover the basic Latin alphabet, including all figures and some of the most essential punctuation. Its design is ultra-wide and lends itself to be set vertically, just as it was done in its first application. We decided to offer this typeface as a free font which can be used in both commercial and non-commercial projects.
Poetry of the Real
FHNW Academy of Art and Designbooklet
The transdisciplinary symposium “Poetry of the Real: Imagination – Friction – Transformation” was organised and held at the FHNW Academy of Art and Design in Basel in 2018. It featured various talks and workshops dealing with the transfer between extended arts practices and contemporary discourses. The poster design of this symposium was created by AGI member and chairman of the Visual Communication Institute at the FHNW Academy of Art and Design Prof. Michael Renner. A central, yet not so prominent, visual element of his design ended up being the key visual of this booklet. It also became the inspiration for the circular typesetting visible on some pages. The concept and design were developed and realized by Hoang Nguyen during her time at the design department of the HGK FHNW.
Hofmann is based on a grid system by Armin Hofmann, hence the name of this display typeface. The grid system was, to our knowledge, never used to create an applied design. It was more of an experimental design tool for visual studies. In the same spirit, this typeface is an experimental exploration of the possibilities and limits of creating a typeface with the help of Hofmann’s design tool. The result is a display typeface with a distinct visual appearance. While it is for sure not suited for use in any kind of environment where crystal clear legibility is demanded, Hofmann does lend itself to create unconventional wordmarks, offbeat typographic posters, and eye-catching titles.
9. Secondo Theaterfestival
Secondo Theaterfestival, Miller’svisual identity, poster, flyer
The renowned “Secondo Theatre Festival” was initiated in 2005 by different migrants and Swiss citizens who are active in the cultural sector. After several years in Aarau, Switzerland, the 9th edition of the festival took place at its initial location, Zurich. The main focus of the festival has always been the topic of migration. In the 9th edition of the “Secondo Theatre Festival”, the event was metaphorically set in a camp. It is the first and still a small camp, hence the title “Camp_0”. This site was understood as an open space that invites everyone to encounter each other. To reflect this core idea of a space, in which people can meet, create new connections, and exchange ideas, the poster design features different elements that touch, overlap, and intermingle. The main graphic element spells “Camp_0” if read from bottom to top. However, it is also a visualisation of curling path which hints towards the topic of migration. The concept and design were developed and realized by Hoang Nguyen with and for Hubertus Design (Jonas Voegeli).
U.S. History through Postage Stamps
“U.S. History through Postage Stamps” is a book that shows 267 U.S. postage stamps which Hoang Nguyen has archived since 2002. The main part of the book consists of a selection of 125 enlarged U.S. postage stamps reproduced in black and white. Their motifs show various events from 1587–1968 in the history of the United States. These chronologically ordered series of stamps get interrupted at four occasions by close-ups of several colourful postage stamps. The book concludes with an overview of all the stamps that she collected during her childhood. This overview is given in two distinct ways: firstly by reproducing all postage stamps in their original size accompanied by general information about their motifs and secondly by providing a detailed list with various technical information of all the postage stamps depicted in this publication. The book “U.S. History through Postage Stamps” does not only show the masterful illustrations of these stamps in detail but also offers an insight into the self-image of the United States and invites to critically reflect the often quite propagandistic messages that were spread with these small pieces of printed matter.
The Basel School of Design 2020
FHNW Visual Communication Instituteart direction, campaign
The Visual Communication Institute of FHNW Academy of Art and Design commissioned a campaign to promote their two Master programmes: Master of Arts in Visual Communication and Iconic Research (MA) and International Master of Design UIC/HGK (MDes). The institute calls itself “The Basel School of Design” to point at the heritage of the world-renowned Kunstgewerbeschule Basel, where graphic designers like Emil Ruder, Armin Hofmann, and Wolfgang Weingart taught their craft. The school was known for its process-oriented approach and a design methodology that focuses on generating a considerable amount of variations, mostly in black and white. This design tradition is still present in the current design education at the Visual Communication Institute. In the preceding year, the campaign reflected this circumstance through a series of abstract illustrations. In 2020, the campaign design focused on the identity of the institution and dealt with the fact that there is no independent corporate design for this institution. Therefore, many variations of possible wordmarks were created and put together in a playful composition. While the layout might seem completely unstructured at first sight, the onlooker can identify different sequences that show the intermediate steps in the various approaches. The concept and design were developed and realized by Hoang Nguyen during her time at the design department of the HGK FHNW.
The publication “GayMenzel Parcours” shows different buildings designed and realized by the architectural office of Catherine Gay Menzel and Götz Menzel. It is not a simple catalogue, though. The featured projects were visited with their architects on a road trip through the canton of Valais in Switzerland. The journey was accompanied by the journalist Lorette Coen, who lead an insightful interview about various aspects of the presented buildings, parks and other spatial structures. Ludovic Balland helped to document the road trip with his camera. The interview and photographs were used for the first and main part of “GayMenzel Parcours”, followed by a series of keywords through which the architectural work of GayMenzel gets explored and an indexical overview of the complete portfolio. In this concluding part, the onlooker is invited to go through even more material of the visited projects, including a reproduction of the original architectural drawings.
Lorette Coen, Catherine Gay Menzel, Götz Menzel
Print & Binding
Kreative contra Corona Initiativeposter
The poster “Keep Distance” was designed during the coronavirus pandemic for the poster initiative “Kreative contra Corona” organised by the local newspaper bz Basel, Jean Jacques Schaffner, Pro Innerstadt Basel, and BaselLive. Being hung in the streets of Basel shortly after the first lockdown was loosened up, its intention was to remind people that a proper physical distance between each other is still necessary. Not being cautious in this respect would risk a further spread of the virus. The poster design features visualisations of the viruses that are positioned in close distance to each other. The design with its rough shapes and harsh contrast is supposed to blend into the streetscape of Basel with its numerous posters and functions as a reminder rather than being a disruptive, disciplinary order. The typeface used is Lucifer Bold.
FHNW Academy of Art and Designvisual identity, poster, flyer
“future sense” was a lecture series organised by the FHNW Academy of Art and Design at the Campus of the Arts in Basel, inquiring into the question of how artists and designers can contribute to a sustainable future. The key visual is an abstract individual sensing their surrounding and possible approaching futures through antennas. They represent the necessary sensitivity to act sustainably and responsibly. The typography of the symposium’s title further illustrates this metaphor of sending and receiving information about the environment in/with which one is operating. The visual was first developed for its application in the poster design and then adapted for several pieces of printed matter accompanying the lecture series and exhibitions. Several respected figures and experts in their particular field such as Dr. Claude Martin (Member of the Club of Rome and former General Director of WWF International), Prof. Dr. Harald Welzer (Co-Founder and Director of FUTURZWEI and Professor for Transformation Design, University of Flensburg), and Eyal Weizman (Founding Director of Forensic Architecture and Professor of Spatial and Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths, University of London) held lectures in this context. The design was developed and realized by Hoang Nguyen during her time at the design department of the HGK FHNW.
Benedikt Jäggi (IVK HGK FHNW)
Honored & Exhibited
Wir sind so frei!
FHNWvisual identity, poster
“Wir sind so frei! – Vom Umgang mit einem (problematischen) Versprechen” which translates to “We are so free! – dealing with a (problematic) promise” was the complete title of an FHNW lecture series organised by the School of Applied Psychology together with the School of Social Work and School of Business. Different experts were invited to introduce their perspectives on the question of freedom. Defining the term “freedom” as the guiding idea of a lecture series led – in a way quite fittingly – to a broad and rich spectrum of talking points. However, these talking points were discussed at an organised event with fixed dates, speaking times, places as well as social norms that had to be respected. These and many more factors simultaneously limited and enabled the reflection on freedom. Within the setting of this event itself, the problems and contradictions connected to the idea of freedom became obvious. The design reflects on these aspects through the means of visual communication. Rephrasing the title in many different ways hints towards the openness of the topic. At the same time, the rigid layout as well as the restricted colour scheme which limits itself to the corporate colours of the FHNW seem to contradict this supposed freedom. The concept and design were developed and realized by Hoang Nguyen during her time at the design department of the HGK FHNW.
Typologie des Streits
University of the Arts Berlinbook
The book “Typologie des Streits” explores Streit (german for contention, fight, or dispute) as a productive principle. It contains an analysis of Georg Simmel’s ideas on Streit as a way of producing society as well as an in-depth study of Jacques Rancière’s philosophy of politics and aesthetics. Rancière’s theories suggest that politics, as well as art or design, should be understood as two specific forms of productive Streit; namely a political and an aesthetic one. The analysis continues by focusing on the idea of design as an aesthetic Streit and all its political implications by taking a closer look at the work of Peter Behrens and Wolfgang Weingart. The second half of “Typologie des Streits” introduces the reader to the different types of Streit as they are distinguished by Georg Simmel. This typology gets illustrated by experimental typographic interpretations of various specific Streits, such as the quarrel between two infants, a game of chess, or the rivalry between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton during the US presidential elections. Those typographic interpretations themselves can be seen as concrete realisations of Jacques Rancière’s idea of an aesthetic Streit and therefore function as a pinnacle of the preceding analysis. With regards to the content of this typology, the vast variety of productive Streit is expressed to encourage the reader to implement the idea of a productive Streit into their very own contexts. This book is written and designed by David Gobber as his graduation project at the University of the Arts Berlin.
Print & Binding
Millersvisual identity, poster, booklet
The cabaret festival “Spektakuli 2017” was organised and curated by Matthias Egersdörfer and Martin Puntigam, who are both known for their dark humour and cultivated art of bashing others. They invited various colleagues with similar qualities to the Miller’s theatre in Zurich. The program of the 23rd edition of this festival was therefore not only humorous and enjoyable but also politically demanding and in many ways a great source of critical thinking. The festival was not just a comfortable event for simple entertainment but also had its controversial parts. Following this theme of provocation paired with humour, the design features the initial letter of the festival name “S” as a sharp-edged shape that fills the format. Red circles that are reminiscent of clown noses complete the key visual which was used for the poster design and other printed matter such as the newspaper. The concept and design were developed and realized by Hoang Nguyen with and for Hubertus Design.
for and with
Hubertus Design (Jonas Voegeli & Kerstin Landis)
Klösterli Wettingen Jubiläumspublikation
The publication “50 Jahre Klösterli in Wettingen” was produced in the context of the 50th anniversary of the children’s home Klösterli in Wettingen, Switzerland. It takes a genealogical approach to tell the history and development of this former catholic and now secular institution. The book begins with a series of photographs shot by Jonas Hänggi, in which the reader is shown how the institution looks at the time of designing. It continues with interviews, a series of archived photographs, a facsimile of a former publication, and much more. The variety of material prepared for the onlooker gives them the possibility to explore the institution and dig deeper into its past as the pages are getting turned. The project was realized by David Gobber with and for Studio Thomas Lehner.
Print & Binding
Never Straight from A to B
We were invited to take part in the 2020’s edition of the so-called “ALLSTARS” poster exhibition, which was dedicated to the topic of “Process”. It was hosted and organized by the PDP Creative Media Conference in Novi Sad, Serbia. The poster design we contributed deals with the unforeseeable twists and turns that one is always experiencing in the creative process, hence its title “Never Straight from A to B”. The poster design was reproduced as a 707 × 1000 mm silk-screen print with black and silver by a local printing company. The exhibition opened on Oct. 2nd and was visible until Oct. 18th 2020. The weekend after, the PDP Conference took place at the Lab Culture Centre in Novi Sad, from where they hosted online discussions with artists and designers that were live-streamed to ensure accessibility during the coronavirus pandemic. The typeface used is Farmacia and is available in our shop.
Summer University of the Arts 2017
University of the Arts Berlincampaign, poster, flyer
The Berlin Summer University of the Arts is the summer workshop program of the renowned University of the Arts Berlin. It offers a wide range of courses from violin lessons with world-class musicians to poster design workshops held by highly regarded protagonists working and teaching at the university. Every year a different design gets picked to advertise these creative weeks in the centre of Europe. In 2017, this colourful design was chosen to be the winner of the internal pitch held in the graphic design class of Prof. Fons Hickmann. The key visual, a rising sun, was interpreted in three different ways and used for the poster series that was sent around the world to be hung in befriended international art and design universities. In addition, the poster design was adapted for several online and offline advertisements, including a series of flyers.
Ausstellungsraum Klingentalvisual identity
Back in 2019, the collective behind the art space Ausstellungsraum Klingental in Basel asked for a proposal for a new visual identity. The brief was quite open and only demanded the visual identity to be a recognisable yet flexible design system to fit their diverse exhibition program. The design concept we came up with took the actual exhibition spaces themselves as the main point of reference. While the curators, exhibitions, artists, and artworks are very diverse and vary a lot, the rooms stay the same and effectively are the only constant in the given setting. Thus, three basic shapes based on the floor plan of the Ausstellungsraum Klingental are used as the key visual of the new identity. These basic shapes are continuously placed in new compositions to reflect the variety of curatorial practices and artistic activities within the framework of the Ausstellungsraum Klingental. For exhibition posters, flyers, and alike, corresponding images of the exhibited artworks get incorporated into the design. The wordmark “Ausstellungsraum Klingental” is placed in a fixed position and purposefully set with a matter-of-fact typeface. The interplay of graphic elements, ever-changing compositions, and straightforward typography result in an appearance that is flexible enough to reflect the different artistic positions exhibited but also offers the necessary consistency needed for a recognisable visual identity.
Proposal, not realised