Balmer Hählen’s approach is influenced by the Swiss graphic design tradition. “The emphasis on typography plays an important role in our work,” says the Lausanne-based studio. “We always try to simplify the messages, our goal is to go for the essential.” Founded in 2011 by Priscilla Balmer and Yyo Hählen, the studio was previously named A3 studio, but this year changed it to Balmer Hählen. “As a duo we want to highlight our personality with this new identity, which is made up of our respective names,” says the studio.
Balmer Hählen enjoys working on poster designs and visual identities as these types of projects offer the studio the opportunity to create impact in one visual hit as well as a chance to reflect on more in-depth on its subjects. One of its most recent projects is the elaborate invitation design they created for Rendezvous de Créateurs 2017 – an annual event that gathers together Swiss craftspeople in the industry. “This project took time as we also manage the organisation of the event as well as the creative part. The set includes a save the date, an invitation, and a poster. During the project we learnt a lot about printing techniques for each part of the project.”
Through the design the invitation takes on object-like status and has been printed in a limited edition of 3,000 copies. Balmer Hählen’s design decisions were informed by pushing the limitations of printing techniques, so the cut-out textures, glossy varnishes and hot foil stamping take over and modify the typography. “The materials confront each other to offer a perfect alchemy,” says the studio. “For instance the shiny effect reveals its luminosity by imposing itself on matte papers.”
Balmer Hählen has also developed the communication for the 20th anniversary of the FCMA – the Swiss French part Foundation for Song and Current Music. “The idea was to find an element that symbolises music in all its diversity,” explains the studio. “The synthesis of our reflection has brought us on circles and lines that represent the notes and the ranges. The developed visuals show musical notes that are crisscrossed and in two colours.”
The depth at which Balmer Hählen goes into its projects is a reflection on how it views the industry as a whole. “At a time where the graphic design industry is undergoing a great economic transformation, our work is based on these techniques of printing with artisanal, even ancestral techniques, and confronting them with a contemporary approach,” it explains. “Digital takes an important place, but our passion for exceptional prints shows that print is not dead.”