Kiku Obata & Company’s portfolio is a pleasing mix of identities, editorial and environmental design. The studio, with offices in London and St Louis, was set up in 1977 and has been kept intentionally small to ensure a thorough understanding of its clients and thoughtful solutions.
It’s projects are mainly based in the arts, culture and commerce and this identity for Jazz St. Louis epitomises the studio’s clean aesthetic. Jazz St. Louis is a not-for-profit organisation whose mission is to “advance the art of jazz through live performance, education and outreach.” The organisation runs Jazz at the Bistro every year along with a fundraising gala to garner support. “Our design for the event’s invitation and programme is a contemporary take on classic jazz graphics,” says Kiku Obata & Company. “We used silkscreened neons for the invite and tone-on-tone bronze foil for the programme.”
When viewed as a set, the rich purples and reds are kept fresh with the addition of the white invite and monochrome programme pages. This crispness is seen throughout the identity especially in the mix of typefaces that echo jazz posters of yesteryear. An amalgamation of different styles could easily become cluttered and messy, but through careful composition and an awareness of scale and layout, Kiku & Obata & Company manage to create a neat, modern design that pays homage to the impulsive nature of jazz.