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The Bon Ton: Space Shifters, Hayward Gallery

Work / Graphic Design

Design studio The Bon Ton on its collaborative, responsive approach

The Bon Ton is a graphic design studio founded by Amélie Bonhomme and Amy Preston, who met while working at the renowned Studio Frith. Having collaborated on various projects, Amélie and Amy set up The Bon Ton only last year, and they’ve already worked with clients including Frieze, Barbican, Jeu de Paume, Somerset House, White Cube and British Fashion Council.

Working predominately in the cultural sector, and mainly within art and fashion specifically, was something that the pair say evolved naturally, “since both are subjects we are passionate about”. “Our clients are better described as collaborators” Amélie and Amy tell It’s Nice That. In the case of the exhibition design for Posturing, curated by Shonagh Marshall and Holly Hay, the design approach was rooted in conversations around the concept for the exhibition as the show evolved: “The dynamic arrangement of the letters shifting from one position to the next mirrors the poses of the models in the photographs” says Amélie and Amy. Of their work with Antony Gormley for the catalogue accompanying his exhibition at Kettle’s Yard, the pair describe a similarly personal approach: “We discovered he always carries around a small notebook in his back pocket to sketch into. We decided to make these drawings the opening 20 pages of the book with no text or even page numbers, recreating a sketchbook."

The studio’s latest project, a catalogue for the exhibition Space Shifters at Hayward Gallery, epitomises its ethos. The show demonstrates the ways sculpture can affect the way we perceive our environment, and vice versa, and it was the sculptural works and architecture that inspired the design approach: “The recent refurbishment of the Hayward’s 66 glass pyramid roof lights inspired the bespoke typeface with triangular cut-outs. Transparency, reflection and minimal form are prevalent throughout the artists’ works and so we adopted these throughout the design – using UV varnish, subtle blue gradients and geometric forms interrupting the text layout.” Although Amélie and Amy’s methodology is ambitious, rigorous and learned, they see it in admirably straight-forward terms: “We always try to capture the essence of an exhibition within the pages of the book”.

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The Bon Ton: Posturing, Somerset House

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The Bon Ton: Antony Gormley, Kettle’s Yard

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The Bon Ton: ‘Politics of Seeing’ Dorothea Lange, Barbican

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The Bon Ton: House of Toogood

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The Bon Ton: ‘Hair’ Sam McKnight, Somerset House

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The Bon Ton: Utopian Voices, Somerset House

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The Bon Ton: Liebling