• Shapeads-4_web

    Graphic Thought Facility: Kvadrat

Graphic Design

Our new Here profile explores the prolific output of Graphic Thought Facility

Posted by James Cartwright,

Graphic Thought Facility has long been at the forefront of British graphic design. Founded in 1990 by RCA graduates and close friends Andy Stevens and Paul Neale, it fast became one of the most influential design studios in the country, on a par with contemporaries like The Designers Republic, Research Studios and Barnbrook.

Where their contemporaries stood out for maintaining a signature graphic style, GTF defined themselves by avoiding stylistic repetition, approaching each new project with a holistic attitude and creating a unique visual language for every brief they took on. With a commercial portfolio of work for The Science Museum, Habitat, Marks & Spencer and Vitra amongst a whole host of others, this expansive approach to design has allowed GTF to segue easily between commercial and public sectors, producing work tailored specifically to their clients’ needs. At the same time they aim always to push the studio’s creative potential in order to produce work that’s as satisfying to the designers as it is to the consumers.

  • Shapeads-3_web

    Graphic Thought Facility: Kvadrat

  • Shapeads-2_web_1

    Graphic Thought Facility: Kvadrat

2012 has been a great year for the studio, with a number of hight profile projects occupying their time. Though they’ve produced the identity for the Frieze Art Fair for the past nine years, this year’s campaign raised the bar with some stunning choreographed daylight fireworks – easily one of our favourite projects of 2012. Working closely with photographer Angela Moore, the GTF team created a series of brightly coloured smoke plumes bursting across a deceptively blue autumnal sky.

Despite their undeniable gift for design, the studio’s output consists almost entirely of commercial briefs – a pretty classic design studio setup – with very little self-initiated work ever being published. At Here, Andy will discuss how GTF goes about finding the creative opportunities within these commercial projects to produce a body of work that pushes and pleases the studio whilst at the same time delivering work that clients are happy to pay for.

Here is at London’s Royal Geographical Society on Friday September 21. The event is now sold out but you can add yourself to the waiting list or get more information here.

  • Ms_web1-web

    Graphic Thought Facility: M&S International Foodhalls

  • Ms_web9-web

    Graphic Thought Facility: M&S International Foodhalls

  • Ms_web10

    Graphic Thought Facility: M&S International Foodhalls

  • Ms_web20-web

    Graphic Thought Facility: M&S International Foodhalls

  • Faf-1-web_2

    Graphic Thought Facility: Frieze Art Fair Identity

  • Frieze_entrance-sign_final_web

    Graphic Thought Facility: Frieze Art Fair Identity

  • Faflondon12-adverts-1-web

    Graphic Thought Facility: Frieze Art Fair Campaign 2012

  • Faflondon12-adverts-2-web

    Graphic Thought Facility: Frieze Art Fair Campaign 2012

Jc

Posted by James Cartwright

James started out as an intern in 2011 and is now one of our two editors. He oversees Printed Pages magazine and content wise has a special interest in graphic design and illustration. He also runs our online shop Company of Parrots and is a regular on our Studio Audience podcast.

Most Recent: Graphic Design View Archive

  1. List

    There are plenty of ways we hear about new creative talent, and we came across Ronan Kelly after his mate Tweeted us saying we’d be mad not to feature him. Turns out said friend was bang on the money, and we explored his portfolio with an increasing sense of excitement.

  2. List

    I’d say that when one of the few companies lauded by children the world over commissions you to design artwork for the interior walls of their HQ, you know you’ve made it. This actually happened to Patrick Savile, the graphic designer and illustrator responsible for splashing his irrevocably diverting artwork throughout the building that houses kids TV channel Nickelodeon, resulting in playful digital illustration, typographic experiments and cartoon eyes a plenty.

  3. Main

    Just as you were thinking you hadn’t seen some truly joyous graphic design infused with sunshine for such a long time BAM! Here’s a bunch of magazines that are designed with one thing in mind: happiness. Javas Lehn Studio are based in New York and spend their days commissioning fantastic illustrators and not worrying about overusing exclamation marks for big brands that want a slice of the nice. Although a lot of this studio’s work is digital or signage-based, for me where they really come into their own is in the world of print. Saturdays Magazine looks delicious, and you could argue that Ace of Faith – the book they created for artist Brian Paumier – is even more lust-worthy than the art itself. I urge you to go and spend some time on their site, if it doesn’t make you want to start up your own design practice then at the very least you’re going to want to go and leave small offerings on the doorstep of Javas Lehn HQ.

  4. List

    It’s not immediately easy to get a handle on Casper Heijkenskjöld’s portfolio, but right from the off you realise you’re in the presence of an impressive creative mind. The Copenhagen-based designer and art director worked for a time for Sagmeister in New York, and seems to have brought the Austrian’s taste for pushing boundaries to his own studio which he set up in 2011.

  5. Main

    With the many branches of Stoptober currently encompassing the social media feeds of our nearest and dearest, the notion of resistance is in full swing. For Muslims, the month of Ramadan is a lunar-based 30-day fast in which food and drink are consumed pre-daybreak and after sunset and other behaviour such as smoking, swearing, sex and many other sinful activities are forbidden.

  6. List

    We’re suckers for a bit of nostalgia here at It’s Nice That and this blog by renowned designer Emilio Gil provides it in gratifyingly regular doses. But to suggest that Emilio’s archive is just a way of getting a fix of retro imagery is to do it a disservice as Graphic Pioneers; Spanish Graphic Design 1939 – 1975 does much more than that.

  7. Main1

    Many of you will have seen Emma Watson’s spine-tinglingly good speech at the United Nations this week, calling on men to stand up and be counted in the fight for gender equality (and for the feminist movement to work with men rather than against them).

  8. List

    When I first joined It’s Nice That more than three years ago I had never heard of Elephant magazine, but it was one of those titles talked about in hushed and revered tones. As such it’s always a publication I’ve approached with high expectations, so it was interesting to hear that for the next issue, number 20, Astrid Stavro and Pablo Martin of Atlas Studio have overseen a fairly comprehensive redesign.

  9. List

    If you’re ever looking for a great reason why good graphic design is important, Pentagram partner Michael Bierut sums it up in this Kickstarter video. “New York City is a chaotic place and in the 1960s nowhere was more chaotic than the subway system,” he says. There was a “profusion of inconsistent signs” but “a lot of people were convinced that was the way it had to be; New York’s a complicated place, figure it out…”

  10. List

    It’s been eight years since the London Design Museum last redesigned its website, but last week one of the design-world’s most enduring riddles – why does one of the world’s leading design bodies have such an anachronistic web presence? – was resolved. Dutch consultancy Fabrique worked with q42 developers to create a new site with pared-back navigation, new type treatments and a much-needed elevation of big, beautiful imagery to the level it deserves.

  11. Stop_depart_13list

    To celebrate the launch of their new Paris-based art direction studio Avant Post, Quentin Berthelot, Johan Mossé and Adrien Weibel created Stop Départ. They worked with photographer Samuel Guigues to make a whole series around the neat motif of the start of an athletics race and so open their studio with a bang. Simple, stylish and well-executed, the theme hints at the studio’s ambition, gunning for gold, and suggests that it’s more than capable of achieving greatness with repeated gilt tones throughout the posters and cards. If they keep producing work of this calibre, we expect to see them on plenty more podiums in the future.

  12. List

    The mass Scandinavian cultural crush which saw us all become obsessed with the food, TV shows and chunky knitwear of our northern cousins seems to have abated somewhat but that won’t stop Lundgren + Lindqvist.

  13. List

    Ghent-based graphic designer Jelle Martens makes work which might be described as design with a heavy dollop of fine art added in. Working predominantly on record sleeve design since graduating two years ago, he has created projects for record labels Other People, Software and Unday Records among others, employing his unique mixture of colour, texture and manipulated imagery to create designs which are unlike anything I’ve ever seen before.