Madrid design studio Naranjo — Etxeberria are behind a stack of tastefully designed posters, books, exhibitions, magazines and websites, among them Loewe and Cookbook.
After redesigning independent Madrid-based magazine Neo2 earlier this year based on the concept of “new now” (more on this later!), the studio has returned with a “Refresh” themed issue for Neo2 N.153. The issue is an ode to creativity. “If we were a computer we would only have to press a key to reset our hard drive,” Neo2 states. “But we are nothing of that. We are a magazine. We are simply a set of pages printed on two sides and bound with love. We can’t go one day to the beach, we can’t disconnect, nor put off. Our only way of Refresh is creativity.”
We asked one of Naranjo — Etxeberria’s founding father Diego Exteberria to give us a glimpse into the stories behind the issue’s shouty, visually demanding graphic design.
To begin with, can you explain the original design brief for the issue?
1994 – Neo2 was born in Madrid. An independent publication, Spanish through and through, focused on creative trends: fashion, design, music, art, interiors, architecture and film.
A magazine about creative culture that applies that same creative concept to the formats it comes in. Since its launch, Neo2 has been warmly received in the global market with distribution in the world’s main cities with a print run of 40,000 copies.
2017 – after 150 issues Neo2 commissioned us to redesign the magazine. The idea was to make a trend magazine a trend in itself.
You mentioned that “the design is a consequence of the type of content”. Can you tell us more about the content of this issue, and how it informed your design decisions?
We understood the content as the hub for design. This redesign has been thought based on all the content of the magazine and categorised in different styles by type of content. The design is a consequence of the type of content and the content has taken a new shape.
Talk us through your favourite element of the project.
Our favourite feature of this project is the main concept we create. We have redesigned the magazine based on the concept of “New Now”.
We live in the generation of immediacy, things become fashionable and stop being in a fast time. Nothing is eternal. Trends are constantly changing. The tendencies are ephemeral, they expire but above all, the trends represent the present, the now.
New Now represent our reason for being, talk about what is happening now without worrying about anything more than the present.
What is the most creatively exciting thing about this issue?
If you like something, change it. The most exciting thing is that in every issue we changed things that two months ago we like to keep the magazine always new.
In what ways has the layout changed or developed for this issue?
The identity changes based on the concept of each number. In each number we create a title and this title is the axis for the new graphic tendencies that we add. With this idea the magazine is always changing and always being trend.
Tell us more about that condensed type you used in N.153 Refresh to create claustrophobia or the feeling of being overwhelmed?
After analysing the last issues of the magazine we detected a lack of identity and a unit by the amount of graphs of styles and the amount of typographical uses that there was.
This is why we decided to unify the typographic styles using a single one: Benton Sans. A typography very now and very new to help us a representative of the concept giving unity to the publication.
In this issue, called N.153 Refresh, we have decided to use the condensed version to express the feeling of overwhelm and the need to reset. Everything is compressed like when you need to stop and refresh yourself.
As a busy studio, how do you refresh yourself?
Every creative person needs to refresh itself. In our case, we always work in experimental projects to refresh our creativity. This kind of projects help us to take risks to do something new that later we could apply in future assignments.