After Hours’ identity deconstructs and reassembles “scattered cultural forms”
A collaboration between crafts producer After Hours and Together With You studio, the identity mixes typefaces and techniques – flipping graphic design rules on their head.
- Olivia Hingley
- 2 October 2023
Some couples could never imagine collaborating creatively, while for some it can generate the most successful creative partnerships. The latter is the case for the Tbilisi-based Sasha Akhramenko and Artem Tarasov. Sasha is the founder of After Hours Workshop, a brand creating sustainable crafts, while Artem is co-founder of Together With You – alongside Artem Taradash – a hands-on design studio and consultancy that perceives “anyone involved as co-creator”. Together, the couple have built a free-form identity for After Hours that is fluid, unpredictable and lends itself to experimentation.
Sasha started After Hours to “convey the importance of craftsmanship and handmade work” and as such, all the pieces are made by hand by Sasha using natural materials and a wide range of diverse craft techniques. Because of this dedication, each product drop is entirely different, from multimedia keychains to delicate glass fungi. After Hours’ overall visual presence is a good representation of this approach, with Sasha and Artem rejecting any sense of cohesion or reason for the graphic elements they choose. “We believe in the meta-modernistic nature of contemporary culture – which means that the new comes from deconstructing and reassembling scattered cultural forms that already exist,” Sasha says. “It's a game for us. We’re always in search of outstanding and weird ways to combine diverse pieces into a solid bigger picture.”
Beginning every design process for each drop, Artem explains that he and Sasha “consciously challenge what we used to do frequently in our work”. This means questioning typography rules, competitions and grids. “The goal here is to never stop asking yourself: what if I do that in the opposite way of something I know so well?,” Artem says. This technique is most present in their typeset; they combine the blocky, video game-like Therma from Astrae studio, with Google’s Special Elite, which is reminiscent of old typewriter fonts, and various stamp fonts. While on their own all fairly distinct and contradictory types, they come together to create a compelling visual effect, something modern that nods to the ethos of After Hours.
This expressive typeset is combined with an array of other visual aspects, including photography, videos, 3D elements and illustrations, often completed by Sasha herself, although the duo’s list of collaborators seems to be growing every day. The experimental approach also means that Sasha and Artem have to be very specific about the tools they use. After Hours’ website is built using Readymag. “It’s a great tool, though sometimes it can be frustrating because you need to do a lot of repetitive work manually,” Artem says. Though the results are worth it. With next to no constraints, it allows for a truly free-form board, an approach that feels “natural” to After Hours.
For Sasha, the success of the After Hours visual world is all in the pair’s close attention to detail. “Details are like words in a story,” she says. “I want the After Hours community to have a complete experience where they don’t feel deceived — details are about honesty.” Moreover, Artem hopes that the After Hours audience can take something away from the unique way they’ve chosen to do things: “We really hope that AH, as a medium, delivers a sense that ‘anything is possible’ and that there's absolutely no reason to limit your creativity”.
GalleryAfter Hours Workshop (Copyright © After Hours Workshop, 2023)
After Hours Workshop (Copyright © After Hours Workshop, 2023)
About the Author
Olivia (she/her) joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in November 2021 and soon became staff writer. A graduate of the University of Edinburgh with a degree in English literature and history, she’s particularly interested in photography, publications and type design.