The Bon Ton on its catalogue design for the Tate’s alternative Andy Warhol exhibition and more
The London-based studio possesses an enviable client list having collaborated with the UK’s biggest cultural institutions from Tate, Barbican, White Cube and Frieze.
- Jyni Ong
- 19 March 2020
- Reading Time
- 3 minute read
When we first featured graphic design studio The Bon Ton back in September 2018, the London-based studio was only a year or so old, having been founded by Amélie Bonhomme and Amy Preston. They met while working at Studio Frith, and quickly garnered a host of prestigious clients from Frieze to the White Cube in their storming debut of design in the cultural sector. Since then, the studio has grown from strength, growing its client base to include some of the giants in the sector; the Tate, the Hayward Gallery, Kettle’s Yard and the Barbican to boot.
Today, we are here to talk about the studio’s first (and very recent) project with the Tate however. A pretty big deal for any designer, The Bon Ton designed the catalogue for the new Andy Warhol exhibition – currently showing slash on hold at the moment – at London’s Tate Modern. A huge undertaking for any designer due to the gravitas of the artist, whose work is synonymous with the pop art movement, Amy and Amélie were understandably “over the moon but also slightly intimidated” when they received the brief.
“He’s such an icon and there are many beautiful books that already exist on him,” Amy tells It’s Nice That. But after a few meetings with the show’s curators, they realised that this exhibition would show Warhol in a different light to previous exhibitions. Instead of focusing on the neon screen prints that he is most well known for today, the Tate explores his life growing up in Pittsburg and his preoccupation with death. “For this reason,” Amy continues, “the hardback features a rather haunting portrait while the typography references the bold, industrial ‘ghost signs’ around Pittsburg.”
GalleryThe Bon Ton
Referencing old Interview magazines to echo the editorial grid styles during Warhol’s youth, the pared back catalogue gives room to the visual punch of Warhol’s signature aesthetic while drawing out his early influences, in turn, hinting to the world that would later birth one of the most significant artists in the 20th century. Elsewhere in The Bon Ton’s busy portfolio, the studio were commissioned to create the marketing campaign, exhibition graphics and catalogue for the Barbican’s latest exhibition exploring the notion of masculinity.
“The exhibition shows a diverse range of male perspectives – the stereotypical male juxtaposed with more vulnerable, softer aspects of maleness,” Amy adds. Bringing together over 300 works by over 50 international artists, photographers as filmmakers, the exhibition features work by Richard Avedon, Peter Hujar, Isaac Julien, Rotimi Fani-Kayode, Robert Mapplethorpe and Catherine Opie, just to name a few. It offers a wide perspective on how photography and film have been central to the way masculinity is imagined or understood in contemporary culture, shedding light on both established and emerging artists exploring the topic at hand.
With this in mind, The Bon Ton “paired a bold sans serif typefaces and a strong underline feature with a more delicate and typically ‘feminine’ secondary font.” It’s a delicate balance reflected throughout the exhibition design. In the architecture and wayfinding of the show for instance, and the flush cut boards of the catalogue.
Thoughtful and accessible, the studio have crafted an aesthetic which caters to the mass audiences of major art institutions while upholding a sense of personality simultaneously. It’s something they will continue to explore this coming year in the cultural sector, but also, within brand identity projects that it’s branching into. If you don’t manage to catch any of the shows aforementioned in this time of uncertainty these books present a great entry to the work and The Bon Ton are also working on the upcoming Jean Dubuffet show exhibiting at the Barbican later this year, as well as an exciting project with Turner Prize winner, Oscar Murillo. Something to look forward to for sure!
GalleryThe Bon Ton
The Bon Ton: Tate, Andy Warhol
About the Author
Jyni became a staff writer in March 2019 having previously joined the team as an editorial assistant in August 2018. She graduated from The Glasgow School of Art with a degree in Communication Design in 2017 and her previous roles include Glasgow Women’s Library designer in residence and The Glasgow School of Art’s Graduate Illustrator.