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Work / Graphic Design

Marlon Ilg looks back to his art school years for his innovative, type-led designs

Zurich-based graphic designer Marlon Ilg’s creations are characterised by their unconventional, offbeat typographic arrangements. Having worked on a broad range of design jobs from independent research projects to corporate visual identities, Marlon has years of experience under his belt. His ongoing series for local exhibition space Blossom, in particular, has offered him the opportunity to move beyond his comfort zone, experimenting and exploring alternative formats. “Blossom is an artist-run space in Zurich, which was set up by Gregory Hari, a local performance artist. Dedicated to the idea of collaboration, Blossom changes its structure according to the various projects it takes on. Each new endeavour involves inviting an external individual or group to create a new creative dynamic. Blossom has been a hotspot for exhibitions, workshops and underground parties since 2016,” Marlon tells It’s Nice That.

After working on a number of corporate projects, Marlon needed to adapt his style when he started designing for Blossom. The regular procedures and routine methods the designer had relied on for past projects didn’t translate into Blossom’s unusual and exciting aesthetic. “During my art school years we had great creative freedom; no paying clients and great learning value. We could experiment and follow our own interests. The work you did was an investment into your own visual language and knowledge. Blossom seemed like the perfect opportunity to try to reestablish this way of working and progress in my graphic design practice,” Marlon explains. It was by looking back that Marlon’s practice advanced. His inclusive use of typography and playful formatting is what lends his posters a life of their own and turns them into intriguing pieces of art.

“The fact that I don’t use any of my font library’s thousands of typefaces in my professional life is a bit depressing. Whether poor or well drawn, these typefaces are a huge source of inspiration for the Blossom designs and other projects,” Marlon says. One of the designer’s favourite fonts, is his friend’s delicate and graceful handwriting used in one of the Blossom posters. “He works in science and doesn’t handwrite very often. He has nevertheless preserved his writing skills from his school years and has developed it over the years in his own way. He wasn’t aware of how rare his sophisticated script is. I saw it as a duty to share it with other people by using it in a design.”

Marlon also lists a considered but funny typeface used in another Blossom poster as a personal favourite. It is a combination of geometric Grotesk for the lowercase letters and Arnold Boeklin’s Art Nouveau font for capitals and numbers. It is Marlon’s curious and openminded design approach that allows for his fresh, innovative creations. Despite Marlon’s broad colour palette and various typefaces, the Blossom series is a cohesive and carefully considered set of designs for a progressive cultural venue.

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Marlon Ilg: Blossom series

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Marlon Ilg: Blossom series

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Marlon Ilg: Blossom series

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Marlon Ilg: Blossom series

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Marlon Ilg: Blossom series

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Marlon Ilg: Blossom series

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Marlon Ilg: Blossom series

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Marlon Ilg: Blossom series

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Marlon Ilg: Blossom series