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Work / Graphic Design

Córdova Canillas’ latest project manipulates the traditional design grid with characteristic flair

When Barcelona-based studio Córdova Canillas drop you an e-mail with a link to a project described as possibly their best yet, you know you’re in for an absolute treat. While it’s a grand statement about the studio’s output, it’s true.

Over the past couple of years Córdova Canillas have designed some the most brilliant publications to date. Its approach, one that combines the favourable qualities and mindsets of designers and art directors, has been applied to magazines about everything from food to fashion. This time, in its newest project With, the studio apply its taste to a proper tome of a book, and elevate its skills even further.

With, described by the studio as a hybrid “book-zine”, is a publication which spans three years of work of students at the Zurich University of the Arts exploring cultures, art forms and disciplines. Cataloguing the university’s work with art gallery Connecting Space in Hong Kong, it’s a publication brimming with layers of personality and collaboration, creating an aesthetic that is part scrap book, part fine art.

Each of the different collaborations in With are visualised in a myriad of ways by Córdova Canillas. A soft covered book printed on cyclus paper and bound with an open stitched spine, each edge is inked a separate colour to display the “diversity of projects among the pages,” and to showcase the “individual voices throughout the book,” the studio explains. The ad-hoc method of putting the book together means as an object With “manifests a line between a book and a magazine,” and aptly represents both the students and professionals involved in the project.

This approach continues inside the book as Córdova Canillas have created “a unified visual language,” it explains. Individual qualities of the work involved is displayed in collaged image overlaps, but one that follows a strict grid, “breaking in on every page,” the studio continues. “This procedure aims to create an experimental system that is able to generate multiple layouts from what appears to be an organised mess.” Further design decisions that align with this thinking include a library of different typefaces, “from sans serif, serif, monospace, display, alongside highlighted text in comic bubbles”. In turn, the book breaks many rules graphic designers are taught in education with flair, but always with a grid too.

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