Graphic design studio Arc specialises in printed matter but, occasionally, drifts over into the realms of web and exhibition design. Founded by Joachim Bartsch, Timo Grimberg and Toni Schönbuchner, the Berlin-based studio has an impressive turnover of projects; paying homage to the Swiss school of design with their typography-centred layouts.
In a recent project titled Ophélie l’Anarchie, the studio designed a poster and leaflet for a performance of the same name. The one-woman-show revolves around the Shakespearean character Ophélia, the love of Hamlet. The designers distilled the play’s visual identity to the comforting curves of the letter “O” which also happens to the be the title of the production. Arc’s founders tell It’s Nice That how, “the play consists of several characters in one person which we try to represent through the setting of the ‘O’ in different sizes and fonts.” Additionally, the leaflet is black and white to reflect the simplicity of the minimal set design which acts as a backdrop to the one-woman-show’s monologue.
The performance also incorporates personal experiences from “everyday theatre life” and so the identity was faced with the challenge of being “a question into one’s own biography, transformation and identity”. Through the use of LSC Condensed with its “exaggerated elegance”, paired against the sober use of Fakt, the identity evokes this idea of transformation, contrasting the two typefaces in one design.
In another project, the studio designed the identity for a symposium in Libken which provided an artist residency in an apartment block built in 1965. Arc’s design deals with the relationship between the urban and the rural — as seen through the socialist architecture of the urban apartments that are situated in the middle of the countryside. In another work, Arc designed the poster You Need Another Hero, which protests the working ethics of the Berlin Biennale. Arc had been invited to pitch for the design of the 11th Biennale, however, the allocated allowance for the pitch and its presentation was a measly €300 which was meant to cover “a bunch of design demands”.
The founding designers say, “in our opinion that is asking quite a lot for an embarrassingly disproportionate amount of effort and compensation, especially considering that the Biennale is a cultural foundation which has over €3 million in funding from federal cultural foundations.” As a result, the studio withdrew from the pitch and created a poster which asked the former designer of the Berlin Biennale to show solidarity with the monetary injustice. In turn, the studio received some positive responses from other designers and, somehow, even a coffee party with the festival’s officials.
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