A few weeks back now, on a particularly gloomy Sunday, It’s Nice That found themselves ambling around Hackney Wick. We were on our way to a friend’s birthday party at a beanbag-filled audiophile bar and took a wrong turning. Nestled amongst the greys and browns of a part of London that’s still not quite sure how redeveloped it wants to be, we heard the gentle hum of old printers whirring away into the heavy afternoon air.
It was the London Centre for Book Arts (LCBA), and a little asking around revealed that the inviting signage that caught our eye was the handiwork of Hackney-based graphic design duo, Kristian Hjorth Berge and Francesco Corsini, better known as Studio Bergini.
The pair studied together at Central Saint Martins, with a working relationship cementing itself after they were tasked with designing the degree show catalogue for the storied college’s fine art course. That “ huge undertaking and really steep learning curve,” was enough for them to realise that a future spent working together was a future well spent. They founded Studio Bergini shortly after graduating.
Their “conceptual, informed, content-oriented approach to design,” has seen them go on to work with clients like the Charles Dickens Museum, Nuart Journal, and the aforementioned LCBA. They describe the latter as, “such a great place and a really valuable resource,” telling It’s Nice That that “There’s been such an explosion in the number of independent publishers, presses and fairs recently, it’s getting quite hard to keep track.”
Keep track they do, however, with independent publishing being as much of a point of obsession for the pair as fonts are. “We do quite a bit of type research as part of our practice, especially looking at pre-digital fonts and lettering from designers and foundries that no longer exist. Whether we draw our own, revive something old, or use something pre-existing, type very often forms the basis of our projects,” they say.
At this stage in their practice, the pair is pleased to prioritise an open-minded approach to taking on projects, content to bound from designing books that collate dialogue culled from documentaries by Italian filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini, to crafting the visual identity for foundation year shows at their old educational alma mater. As Studio Bergini puts it, “We like to have variation – too much of the same work can make you too one-dimensional and can also become exhausting. So we’re quite happy to jump from a visual identity to decorating a shopfront to designing an artist publication to making a website.”
Whatever the project is, Kristian and Franesco’s work tends to take a pleasingly classical approach, with the Studio Bergini aesthetic being a particularly clean, bordering on minimal, one. Cool, clean, elegant – that seems to be the Studio Bergini way.