For the second consecutive year (the year before that they were exhibiting in the show as students) design studio and It’s Nice That Ones to Watch, Regular Practice, have designed the Royal College of Art’s graduate show identity.
Using a bespoke tool that marries “old style calligraphic strokes and ways of constructing letters with a new approach to producing,” this year’s identity builds on Regular Practice’s ability to approach a graphic design brief like some kind of puzzle to solve. The result is a typeface that follows a path “populated by modulating spheres that grow and shrink to create / simulate a differentiating brush stroke,” Tom Finn and Kristoffer Soelling, the founding design partnership who formed the studio, tell It’s Nice That. Controlling the width of the strokes with sliders to introduce “different stress and frequency of modulation,” the tool can be applied in various forms and applications, as well as through animation.
Working with the Royal College of Art is an enjoyable experience for these two designers, finding excitement in returning back to their old education haunt. It is no easy task though, with the pair pointing out how the identity has “a tough job in that it has to encapsulate the spirit and diversity of the different pathways, disciplines and students that study at the RCA.”
However, in being an inherently creative institution – not to mention always being named the best art school in the world to study at – its communication team allowed Regular Practice to “really push the traditional formats of how an identity should be built," they say. "We proposed a tool generated identity as it is an on-going research theme that we have in the studio. The construction, building, drawing, planning (and so on) of type, typefaces and letters are a central theme in our work, and that sometimes manifests through more traditional ways such as traditional typeface design, but sometimes it finds its output in a way that is centred around the process with which to create a singular mark.” To our eye, the fluid forms of the final identity leave room to be interpretation, and equally represent the various creative disciplines on show by the Royal College of Art’s graduating students.
In comparison to its identity last year, this edition presented an opportunity for Regular Practice to beat its previous graphic design ghost, so to speak. “Last year was a lot of firsts for us,” the studio admit on reflection, “we’d definitely never worked to the scale that we do in the RCA show identity, whereas this year, we were able to think a little bit more on missed opportunities for signage, again the RCA team give us the space to propose new opportunities for signage and graphics.”
Now finally letting go of their old university as the identity’s design will be handed over to new graduates for 2020, the pair conclude: “It’s a real honour to be selected to design the identity, particularly when you look back at the previous designers, it’s great to say we’re part of the list,” says Tom and Kristoffer. “We’ve enjoyed working on it, and are excited to see how the next person tackles the job!”
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