If you ask Oliver Shaw of Catalogue just what it is that he does, the list he responds with is extensive. “Predominantly we are graphic designers,” he says while he pauses to think. ”We also do design direction for magazines, independent publishing, web design and development, lectures and workshops. We design books. We design posters. We design identities,” he stops for breath, before adding: “we do quite a lot of stuff.”
Catalogue only opened in London 18 months ago, having been established in Leeds by Oliver and Tom Pratt in 2011. It will launch its new website in January as it kicks off a frenzied few months. “We have not updated it in two years, maybe longer,” says Oliver. “When we opened in London we started doing way more work but no one has seen it or knows anything about it.” February will see Catalogue present at the LA Art book fair and launch a number of zines. “We have a book in collaboration with Shabazz Projects, a New York based independent publisher we share a lot in common with; a zine about M&M’s world and a zine and instrumental hip hop tape with Acorn Tapes he says.
Catalogue has also been employed as design directors at Arena Homme+ and Pop Magazine. Working under the creative direction of Ben Kelway (ATLAS) and Ashley Heath, Catalogue will be part of the team that delivers the new issues of these magazines.
“It’s a secondment of sorts. It’s different to any way I have worked before,” says Oliver. “Working underneath Ben and Ashley is really good. I have been learning a great deal about publishing and design direction – I’ve been a graphic designer for nine years, but it’s been interesting to learn things from an art director’s point of view.”
Later in the year will see a new issue of Library Paper launched. Catalogue has shifted the production run so that the magazine is delivered annually. “The six issues we have done so far have seen a massive shift in its content,” says Oliver. Issue six was launched at Printed Matter and the run has since sold out. “Before, we would feature a few people answering a number of questions which formed an essay. Now we have tripled the amount of content and have one person to review it and write a foreword. It’s gotten a lot bigger and more complex,” he says.
There seems to be a lot of momentum for Catalogue at the moment, its talents have been recognised and the number of collaborations and clients continue to grow. While the complexity of the delivery of each project increases, Catalogue is able to retain the intensity of the ideas and concepts that makes its work so distinctive.