Kaleido Grafik detail the design process behind our upcoming newspaper
In celebration of the upcoming edition of the Lecture in Progress newspaper, we asked the designers of this issue, Kaleido Grafik, to take us through the process behind its design. This edition is our third, and features many of the brilliant creatives we’ve interviewed on the site over the past few months, including Mr Bingo, Matt Pyke of Universal Everything, the teams at MTV and Future Corp and Malika Favre. Co-founders Pete Dungey and Miles Gould takes us along for the ride – from briefing to delivery.
Founded in Switzerland, Kaleido Grafik is a Bristol-based branding, digital design and development studio. We met at Brighton University before going on to continue our studies in Zürich, Switzerland, and both worked in London gaining industry experience at a number of great design studios including Why Not Associates, Established & Sons and GBH.
The studio welcomes projects of all sizes, for clients based locally and internationally, from start-ups through to global brands. We’ve recently worked with Avaunt Magazine, University of Oxford, Hiut Denim, Nike and Ozone Coffee Roasters. Our work has been recognised by New York Magazine, The Guardian, It’s Nice That and Wallpaper* magazine.
We first met [Lecture in Progress founders] Will and Alex whilst studying at Brighton University, they came to give a ‘Professional Practice’ lecture and then approached us to be featured in that years’ It’s Nice That ‘The Graduates’, for which we also designed the identity. Off the back of that feature we were contacted by Studio CRR in Zürich, which was the first stepping stone to launching the studio.
Will approached us with the opportunity to redesign edition three after seeing our output on social media, and thought we’d be a good fit to art direct and design the next edition of the newspaper. The objective was to create a look and feel which helps communicate all the key online content in a way that engages the next generation of creatives.
All project communication was undertaken over email and on the phone due to the fact that we are in Bristol, and the Lecture in Progress team are in London. Will had an open brief: To take what currently existed and put our mark on it. The theme of edition three was trusting yourself and self-belief. It wasn’t really a case of total reinvention, as the newspaper has already built a strong brand presence, so it was more a matter of taking what assets were available and amplifying them.
We started by covering the studio walls with all the brand assets – anything that existed online and in print – colours, fonts, illustrations, tone of voice and iconography, to create a visual moodboard that allowed us to immerse ourselves in the existing graphic voice.
“We transported ourselves back in time to remember the dread of your first real test of responsibility within a professional creative workplace.”
The biggest creative challenge was creating a visual concept around the theme. We transported ourselves back in time to remember the dread of your first real test of responsibility within a professional creative workplace. The smallest of tasks can feel akin to being asked to transport a Fabergé egg on a penny-farthing through Bank tube station during Monday morning rush-hour. However, the more experience you gain, the more the confidence builds, and the easier it is to battle those internal monologues of “I can’t do this” or “I’m not good enough.”
We came up with the idea of a sticker set which communicated key positive affirmations, which creatives could use within their own work environments, to help build or re-enforce self-belief. Humour felt like a natural device to take the edge off the associated horror connected with self-doubt. We wanted to try and disrupt the pessimistic thoughts someone lacking confidence might feel.
We decided to approach Dan Woodger (a fellow Brighton graduate) for the illustrations. We follow Dan on Instagram, and have always really enjoyed his work; he has a great knack for observational humour. We felt his graphic lettering and simplified characters would lend themselves perfectly to the constraints of a sticker, as they could be reduced in size and still work well. His experience of illustrating for clients such as Google and Netflix meant we were in safe hands.
Dan started by sketching out concepts in pencil for the stickers and spot illustrations which would eventually be used on the cover and centre spread. The sketches were reviewed by us internally and the Lecture in Progress team, to allow for feedback and thoughts before being taken into a digital space, drawn and coloured in Photoshop.
Initially we proposed the idea of a geometric character, however this approach changed through discussions with Dan, after deciding that it would be nice to inject some meaning into the character. Dan’s idea was to illustrate a character based on a seed, to allude to the beginning of a creative’s professional career. The leaves actually provided a lovely opportunity to add expression into the character, especially on the rollercoaster with the wind rushing through them.
Edition three underwent a design overhaul with readability at heart of our approach. We decided to review the existing grid system, fonts, page detailing and colour palettes. We focused on improving the signposting of articles by creating large typographic headers, and introduced two new fonts: NSW01 (by Matt Willey) and Apercu Mono (by Colophon Foundry) for their confident, impactful and textural qualities. The new fonts, coupled with the existing New Transport and Antwerp (by A2) were key to the improved signposting throughout the newspaper.
Column width and lengths underwent subtle changes, along with tweaks to line spacing and typesetting, to help make articles more readable. A pared-back black and white typographic design allowed the supporting article content to speak for itself, and bring their colourful energy to the page. The grid was also reworked to add more flexibility to the layouts. Finally, we proposed reshuffling certain content, to help improve the balance and variety within the content flow.
We worked hard to ensure that key information about all the amazing features and Lecture in Progress’ founding principles were more visible, simple and engaging, to help the next generation of creatives better understand what’s up for grabs.
Our biggest challenge throughout the process was establishing how far to push the existing Lecture in Progress visual identity, before it became something new and dislocated from everything else. Also, sourcing high-resolution images from a large number of artists around the globe within a short space of time.
We think the project’s success will be based on how the design engages readers with the content, and how many young creatives we can help encourage to have a little more self-belief – which is difficult to quantify. But even if the stickers help inspire one creative to do something they previously struggled to find confidence with, it would be a success in our eyes!
Mention Kaleido Grafik
Mention Miles Gould
Mention Pete Dungey