• 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-motherdesign_sundancefilmfestival_2

    “It’s been funny seeing ‘Robert Redford to sign off’ on our work plans in recent months," Mark Aver, Mother Design New York design director tells us, revealing the new identity for the 2015 edition of the Sundance Film Festival. The independent film festival, which started in 1978 in Utah, is chaired by Redford, who from the sounds of it, takes quite a hands-on approach.

  2. _llisr-meteor

    French design duo My Name is Wendy caught our eye earlier this year with the innovative D/I/M/E/N/S/I/O/N typographic poster series. The studio recently launched a new site showcasing some great new projects that suggest the pair’s Bauhaus-esque graphic approach is going from strength to strength. Two projects particularly intrigued us – the first being a poster series which acts as a part of a wider project in which the studio creates the fictional land of Meteor.

  3. List-tumblr_ncojdd7pid1tap5jeo1_1280

    Taiwan-born graphic designer Wang Zhi-Hong claims the place that most stimulates his imagination most is one with “no one but me”. In a somewhat reluctant-sounding chat with French magazine Post IM, he paints a careful picture of himself as a man of solitude and precision. Whether or not this makes for a happy life, it certainly makes for some superb graphic design work. From his impressive portfolio we were most drawn to his book design, which takes this idea of a simple, uncluttered existence and turns it into beautiful pared back, precise creations. We were particularly seduced by the monochrome Yohji Yamamoto book designs, with the glorious curved forms of Japanese kanji characters given space to breathe against this restrained aesthetic.

  4. List-dhub_brochures_inside

    Pitching for a design museum identity that will act as the platform for some of the most celebrated designers the world over can’t be an easy task. How to merge tradition and modernity? To create something beautiful, that doesn’t detract from the work itself? So when Mallorcan agency Atlas put forward their proposals for the new Barcelona Design Museum’s identity, it’s perhaps little surprise they worried their ideas were “too modern and risky.”

  5. List00_mitml_posters

    Pentagram partner Michael Bierut and designer Aron Fay have designed a new identity for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab, creating this striking, labyrinth-like look that brilliantly communicates the faculty’s “anti-disciplinary” approach.

  6. List-2

    When it comes to psychedelic album artwork, it sometimes feels like the very best might already be behind us – Wes Wilson, Mouse & Kelly and Rick Griffin already having worked through the golden era. There’s something reassuring about the knowledge that graphic designers are still looking for ways to incorporate psychedelic elements into their designs though, and French graphic artist Lucas Donaud is foremost amongst them.

  7. Stationary

    Hotel branding can so often be a dowdy affair, as if the design nods to the temporary nature of the building’s inhabitants – something to move on from, rather than to dwell on. So it’s wonderful to see a brave, opulent new identity for the Connaught in London’s Mayfair, designed by The Partners around a stunning new artwork by Kristjana S Williams which now hangs in the hotel.

  8. List

    I was surprised to learn that Amsterdam’s HOAX studio don’t seem to have been on the site before, and faced with their wide-ranging portfolio it was a challenge to focus in on a narrative that made sense. Founders Bram Buijs, Sven Gerhardt and Steven van der Kaaij joined forces based on their “shared love for typography, material and experimentation” and this passion for fresh creative thinking runs throughout their work.

  9. List

    Creating a cohesive identity for a design conference might not seem like such a tall order, but the reality of producing flyers, bags, programmes and that all-important logo mark for an international event isn’t as simple as you might think. For starters there’s an abundance of conferences out there, each with it’s own unique look and feel, so creating visuals that present a point of difference will always pose a challenge; secondly how on earth do you make a talks timetable look exciting?

  10. List

    Boasting PVC-clad bottoms, surreal jazz photography and beautifully-rendered risograph prints of basketball hoops, Shabazz Projects’ homepage certainly offers a well-curated and striking experience. The LA-based publishing platform was founded by Hassan Rahim and Brian Okarski, releasing art, photography and design-focused books and objects, all with a run of 200 or fewer editions. Stand-out pieces include the Various Basketball Hoops risographs, which put a whimsical spin on these often weary-looking monoliths; and Eric Wrenn and Antje Peters’ Jazz photographs, which place instruments against a dramatic plume of smoke. Hassan and Brian say their aim is to “provoke and surprise,” and from the images on their site alone, they’re certainly not letting themselves down.

  11. Hellotalja_kit-list-image

    Many a blue-sky-thinker and envelope-pusher has been extolling the virtues of meditation and mindfulness to pseudo-spiritually swell their business jargon lately. So it’s refreshing when a beautifully branded, creatively-minded product emerges that promises to offer that lucrative “pause from modern life.”

  12. List

    If all the magazines and small publications that used the internet as their subject matter were dumped on your head it’d be curtains for you – there’s bloody loads of them. Some, like Offscreen, deal with the people that make digital culture happen and try to bring these unsung heroes out from behind their screens into the RGB limelight, others, like French publication Nichons – Nous Dans l’Internet (Tits – We In The Internet) are more conceptually-minded, analysing and assessing the social and cultural phenomena brought about by the ubiquity of technology.

  13. Main

    Setting up a design studio and changing your name to a cool pseudonym is a good two-fingers-up to life on the quiet side. Parisian designer Julien Ducourthial decided to make this leap, and now overseas The Jazzist, offering bold, fluoro design work “serving in fields of graphic design, illustration and art direction in digital & printed media.” When Julien emailed us he told us he was inspired by 8-bit imagery and cartoons, which gave us an immediate inkling that we were going to like his work. Anyone looking to commission a great French designer any time soon? Julien is your man.