• Lapalux_hero

    Inventory Studio: Lapalux – Nostalchic (detail)

Graphic Design

Graphic Design: Inventory Studio refresh their website with a bundle of great new work

Posted by Rob Alderson,

We’ve been well aware of the talents London-based studio Inventory for some years and after a while, consistency inescapably slips into taking their skills for granted. “Lovely new stuff from Inventory again…” But since they’ve just given their website a bit of a tweak to better showcase their work, we decided it was the perfect time to catch up with director Robert Boon.

We have a chat about some of Inventory’s recent work; from a book for Dutch artist Jeroen Verhoeven documenting his quest to create “an impossible table” to album artwork for Lapalux created using a collage of old family photo slides, and the most recent Bompas & Parr book to an exhibition for Sky News celebrating exceptional journalism in a tumultuous year.

We also asked Rob about the challenges of changing up your website…

  • Lapalux_1

    Inventory Studio: Lapalux – Nostalchic

  • Lapalux_2

    Inventory Studio: Lapalux – Nostalchic

What was the thinking behind the website changes?

It has given us the opportunity to feature more art directed images as well as details of works in situ. Books, record sleeves and identities live out in the world not just are archive/bookshelf so reflecting these environments is something we’ll continue to explore. I wanted to showcase some key projects and create a space to talk about how we approach different challenges as opposed to purely documenting them. 


How important is documenting your work in the right way?

Is it a time consuming process and we’ve become a lot better with keeping on top of it. If you have great briefs coming into the studio it makes little sense to reject them in favour of documenting work with the purpose of getting good briefs. 

We shoot the work ourselves and have developed a very simple formula of documenting our work on simple coloured backgrounds that allows projects printed last week to sit next to those produced several years ago. 

Tell us about the Joreon Verhoeven book – what are the challenges of working with quite complex content? How did you get round them?

The Lectori Salutem table is an incredible piece of craftsmanship and the telling of its making is an important aspect of the work. Jeroen wants to inspire you with how the impossible was made possible. The challenge with this publication was to tell the story behind the finished piece as well as represent the design principles of Jeroen and the Demakersvan Group. 

Co-existing opposites and narrative are central to his practice so we collected all the material available, sketches, renders, tests and started to arrange it into chronological order so we could take the reader on the same journey from first sketch to finished table. 

The piece has this inside/outside dimension, so our cloth covered book uses a swiss bind and has an exposed and rugged interior and external formality. The design features typefaces from two opposing era’s of craftsmanship; traditional carved and modern digital. The book combines a single colour process section on rough uncoated stock with a full colour exhibition section on a high gloss.

“I don’t always want to listen to the same songs and that’s how I feel about graphic design – it’s not always an Otis Redding day.”

Robert Boon

The Lapalux work looks amazing  – where did the idea of using the family photo slides come from? How does it feel that most people picking up the work won’t necessarily understand that element of the design?

We wanted to pair the music with imagery that was suitably layered and textural, and typography that was graphic but still enigmatic. We played with custom typography from the off (I’d been working on some geometric display fonts that felt right at the time) and originally we kept things simple, combining type with low res snap-shot images that Stuart (Lapalux) provided.

Something wasn’t quite working and Stuart arrived one day with a box full of family photos slides that documented years of their lives and had this idea about collaging them. We tested it and it looked great, the colours, the hazy quality, it did everything we were trying to do but better, so all credit to the man. We then designed everything around this collage and kept the custom type aspect but used it as a die cut in the slipcase. 

I love that fact that on the surface the results look like a “cool digital collage” but to anyone who digs deeper (and this is the kind of artist and label where people do) you can make out slithers of child’s faces, bit of furniture and garden, and you start to piece together and imagine the life that led up to this point. 

The Sky News work is very serious while the Bompas and Parr stuff is quite fun and quirky – do you enjoy working on such different content. How do you move from one approach to the other?

Observation and empathy are two of the most valuable skills in a designer’s arsenal. Each project has its own possibilities and limitations and it’s pushing them that is the rewarding part of the job.

Although the finished visuals may vary, each project can teach you something new about your process, making, clients and collaboration that you should use to feed into, bit not limit, the next. I don’t always want to listen to the same songs and that’s how I feel about graphic design – it’s not always an Otis Redding day.

  • Lapalux_5

    Inventory Studio: Lapalux – Nostalchic

  • Lapalux_3

    Inventory Studio: Lapalux – Nostalchic

  • Verhoeven_7

    Inventory Studio: Jeroen Verhoeven – Lectori Salutem

  • Verhoeven_8

    Inventory Studio: Jeroen Verhoeven – Lectori Salutem

  • Verhoeven_6

    Inventory Studio: Jeroen Verhoeven – Lectori Salutem

  • Verhoeven_4

    Inventory Studio: Jeroen Verhoeven – Lectori Salutem

  • Verhoeven_2

    Inventory Studio: Jeroen Verhoeven – Lectori Salutem

  • Sky_1

    Inventory Studio: Frontline – A Year of Journalism and Conflict for Sky News

  • Sky_2

    Inventory Studio: Frontline – A Year of Journalism and Conflict for Sky News

  • Sky_3

    Inventory Studio: Frontline – A Year of Journalism and Conflict for Sky News

  • Tutti_frutti_1

    Inventory Studio: Frontline – Bompas & Parr – Tutti Frutti

  • Tutti_frutti_5

    Inventory Studio: Frontline – Bompas & Parr – Tutti Frutti

  • Tutti_frutti_2

    Inventory Studio: Frontline – Bompas & Parr – Tutti Frutti

  • Tutti_frutti_3

    Inventory Studio: Frontline – Bompas & Parr – Tutti Frutti

  • Tutti_frutti_4

    Inventory Studio: Frontline – Bompas & Parr – Tutti Frutti

Ra

Posted by Rob Alderson

Editor-in-Chief Rob oversees editorial across all three It’s Nice That platforms; online, print and events. He has a background in newspaper journalism and a particular interest in art, advertising and photography. He is the main host of the Studio Audience podcast.

Most Recent: Graphic Design View Archive

  1. List

    Marcello Velho is one of a school of graphic artists subverting the forms of internet art that we’re becoming used to seeing, and doing something completely unanticipated with them. His abstract compositions are experimental and ambiguous, but that’s exactly what makes them exciting. He’s a pretty dab hand at design too, working on magazine covers, art directing features and just generally applying his magic touch wherever it’s needed. It’s only a matter of time until a global fashion brand with a wildly cool following happens upon his work and immediately has him applying his learned eye to look books, textile design and event invitations. Just for the record though, we got here first, yeah?

  2. List

    Behold! Dutch illustrator and designer Julian Sirre has a portfolio packed to the gunnels with beautiful futuristic design. His posters and prints take inspiration from 1980s sci-fi, Japanese printmaking and superhero comics, all amalgamated into a wholly unique visual language. He’s worked for Dutch science fiction magazines, London venues and a variety of extraordinary exhibitions including a group show with Jordy Van Den Niewendijk, Viktor Hachmang and Robin van Wijk – all exceptionally cool dudes.

  3. List

    Battersea Power Station is one of my favourite buildings in London (you can add that to the list of things-you-don’t-care-about-which-I-tell-you-anyway-in-these-posts if you like). Anyway this summer it’s hosting the Everyman Cinema and east London’s Bread Collective was brought in to create the branding and hand-paint all the on-site signage. Bread has previous experience when it comes to large scale design work that packs a personality-filled punch and it’s great to see them unleash their talents on such a famous landmark. The bright and lively visuals juxtapose neatly with their industrial surroundings and there’s a consistency that ties the site together without feeling sterile.

  4. List

    My favourite thing about Paris-based design studio Twice is that they continually combine texture and colour in such a way that I’m practically banging my hands into my computer screen with wanting to hold their publications in my hands. That’s the trouble with tactility – it’s not practical – but that shouldn’t mean designers abandon it altogether in favour of a wipe-clean, stark, sterile aesthetic that makes us lose all hope in print.

  5. List

    I was lucky enough to visit Istanbul for its inaugural design biennale back in 2012 and although I was blown away by its creative scene, I didn’t come across too much graphic design. Rummaging through Studio Sarp Sozdinler’s website this week, I had the nagging feeling that I might have missed out.

  6. List

    Belgian graphic designer Broos Stoffels has it all; great poster designs, great typefaces, great Dance Organ-powered drawing machine for the creation of custom vinyl sleeves – no really! The young designer is a former student of Sint Lucas in Ghent, a institution with proven design pedigree, and has spent the last few years honing his practical and conceptual skills into a fantastically coherent body of work.

  7. List

    If you aren’t familiar with The Casual Optimist blog about publishing and book culture then it’s well worth checking out (I’ll wait). Anyway last week its author shared these amazing posters created by the leading German graphic designer Gunter Rambow for the S. Fischer Verlag publishing house back in the 1970s. What’s interesting is that some of them tiptoe right up to the edge of being gimmicky, but always stay the right side of the line thanks to Gunter’s unerring image-making brilliance. I really can’t get enough of these.

  8. List

    When a studio does everything it can to get to the very root of a client’s working philosophy, it often leads to the most interesting and effective identity design. This is definitely true of Toronto-based studio Blok Design’s work for Dallas film production company Lucky 21. Created to mark the company’s new venture – “taking on the highly competitive LA market” – the identity takes into account the brand’s character, which the studio describes as “full of humour and fiercely passionate” to create a set of visuals that fall close to home.

  9. List-2

    Illustrator and longtime mate of ours Michael Willis is straying away from illustration and into something altogether more design-focussed. The elements at the heart of his images are the same; placing retro and contemporary influences side-by-side to create something so contemporary that it feels ahead of its time. He’s been working recently with Mood NYC, providing photographic manipulation and graphic treatment for their look book as well as helping create an overarching aesthetic for the brand, one which evades the recurring trends and repetitive styles that seem to permeate many designers’ portfolios.

  10. List

    Three years ago Milan studio Leftloft were commissioned to help iconic Italian football club Inter Milan with a ticket sales push, but the relationship developed into something much more comprehensive. Here art director Francesco Cavalli tells us how they came to lead an extensive rebranding of the whole club, from a new crest and a bespoke serif typeface to an exhaustive style guide for use across print and digital.

  11. List

    As of 6.30pm last night Airbnb looks a little classier. Having spent the past seven years growing a vast community of country-hopping collaborators, the world’s largest online accommodation marketplace has decided it’s time for a change. Gone is the awkward, dated logo that still reminds me of a bad ice cream parlour, likewise the cold, clinical blue that serves as the accent colour for all San Franciscan startups; and in its place is something entirely more exciting.

  12. List

    Massimo Vignelli was one of the most important graphic designers of his generation and his death in May affected the creative community very strongly and very immediately. The tributes poured in (some of which we included in our piece here) but for some the response to his passing would take a little longer to formulate. So it was with Colorado-based studio Berger & Föhr, who began this set of tribute posters when they first learned of his illness.

  13. List

    In our first feature on Shillington College we looked at why its founder was compelled to create a new kind of graphic design education to better prepare graduates for the working world. But how does the college pursue this aim in practical everyday terms, achieving what can take several years into other institutions in a matter of mere months? To find out we asked the people who make it happen– the teachers themselves. So we quizzed US director Holly Karlsson, Melbourne lecturer Carlos Chavez, Manchester lecturer Jeffrey Bowman and senior London lecturer Corrie Anderson. Here’s what they had to say…