Earlier this year, designers Pauline Le Pape and Roosje Klap designed the identity for A Minor State of Flux at Arti et Amicitae in Amsterdam. Having originally interned for Roosje, Pauline moved to Amsterdam after finishing her masters to work in Roosje’s studio. Together they’ve worked on several assignments and commissions in the cultural field, including catalogues, exhibitions, websites and identities.
A Minor State of Flux was a group show focussed on openness, rotation and mutation in a playful manner to reveal “a true scope of probability.” The work exhibited attempted to answer questions such as “how do we determine what is valuable or worthless when everything is always moving forward?” As well as “do we ever see the same painting more than once when the physiological, political and social environmental factors are continuous in transit?” A mathematical hypothesis by Giovanni Ciná was the theoretical basis for the exhibition through which a possible sequence of life moves cyclically in a continuous self-sustaining structure, also known as “conjecture.”
When it came to designing the identity, the pair took the notion of rotation as a starting point and thus used the mathematical symbol “+” as a central motif around which everything else could rotate. As well as providing a conceptual link to the theme of the exhibition, the plus sign worked as a versatile element that could be implemented across static and animated designs. This was combined with a colour palette of blue, silver and black, as well as rasterised imagery to create a succinct and sophisticated identity that works across print, way finding and digital.
The typeface used was designed by Pauline herself and is called Tacite Light. She began working on the typeface three years ago at the beginning of her masters in type design at École Estienne in Paris. The font emerged from a brief that asked her to create a typeface based on a portrait. Pauline chose a portrait of a young Johan Cruijff (a Dutch footballer) “not especially because of his football career but mostly because I liked the duality of his expression, which was both strong and fragile.”
Pauline, who is largely influenced by classical Roman capitals, chose to continue this style when it came to designing Tacite Light. “What I liked so much about the photo of Johan Cruijff was his attitude: both strong, proud but slightly insecure. I wanted the typeface to be both thin/fragile, but also strong/spiky/catchy.” The font is an exploration into sharpness and thinness – while still remaining legible – and its name refers to an unsaid but solid statement: “a sort of paradox that corresponded to the research process I followed on Tacite Light.” Tacitus was also the name of one of the greatest historians of the Silver Age of Latin Literature which Pauline felt would be a nice nod to the classical Roman shapes the font is based on.
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