When we popped to Somerset House last week to ogle PJ Harvey recording in a box we spotted some powerful exhibition graphics, designed by London-based studio Julia. The designs are shown online on PJ Harvey’s website, but really come to life at Somerset House, where they sit illuminated on the wall of the holding pen-like space visitors stand in before being led to the basement area that houses the recording studio box.
Juila chose to use a modified version of the Johnston typeface alongside a simple red and white colour palette. The red was chosen to hint at the idea of a recording in progress, representing the red light on the outside of a busy studio. The identity looks considered in 2D, but fully comes to life as environmental graphics, signposting that what’s ahead is something rather special, and rather unusual.
Juila was commissioned by Artangel for the work in November last year, and aimed to create an identity formed from a number of different, subtle reference points. The graphics are based on the “the idea of a room within a room,” says Erwan Lhuissier, Julia co-founder. “The way they’re displayed also references the idea of a sound wave."
He adds: “It was a bit of a challenge as PJ Harvey is such a big name in music, but with the title Recording in Progress we wanted to come at it from that angle, so that it was about the performance, not the name. We didn’t use any pictures on the identity – we didn’t want it to look like a gig poster.”
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