Among the generally lofty and serious graphic design at Venice Biennale, Hato’s identity for the Hong Kong pavilion by Samson Young is refreshing. Vibrant, haphazard and friendly, the graphic and digital design conveys a wholly different image to many of its neighbours at the fair.
It stars an illustrated bust of Pythagoras as its icon, taken from Samson’s installations wherein it is a recurring motif. Acting as an anchor to the visuals, the navy blue Pythagoras is set against a vivid coral pink on the printed material, with bright yellow script in Samson’s handwriting, denoting the exhibition’s title Songs for Disaster Relief.
“Working in tandem with the Pythagoras bust, Samson’s handwriting forms the typographic backbone of the visual identity against a striking colour palette, which are both influenced by the artist’s neon sign installations,” says Ken Kirton of Hato. “We realised these visual elements via a multi-layered approach, as inspired by the exhibition theme of ‘disaster songs’."
“Charity singles often adopt a cut-and-paste composition,” Ken continues, “and similar to this montage idea, the design treatment looks into an assemblage of different structural elements. The challenge is to create a contemporary and harmonised identity that reflects the many social, philosophical, aesthetic and political vantage points from Young’s multifaceted exhibition.”
Situated opposite the Arsenale, a Venice landmark, the exhibition is advertised with some posters using this collage technique, with segments of different images appearing like the ripped layers of bygone billboards. The website features many of the same visual elements as changing background to the exhibition information. As an added touch, the curators also sent out cassette invitations, featuring Hato’s design for the sleeve, containing the unwound ribbons of a cassette tape.
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