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Sweet Datapoint: captured by Success. Video still of Tereza wearing anti-face-recognition makeup. 04:58, HD

Work / Graphic Design

“Hard, refreshing and awkward”: The Rodina design studio on their bizarre creations

From performance art and experience design to interactive websites and installations, The Rodina design studio can do it all. Tereza Ruller, The Rodina’s founder, splits her time between commissioned work and personal experiments and manages to bring equal levels of creative inventiveness to both. “The Rodina explores ways in which knowledge, experiences and relationships are produced and preserved. I am interested in the connections between culture, technology and aesthetics. Adopting interdisciplinary approaches allows The Rodina to examine the thousands of micro-interactions that occur between these fields,” Tereza tells It’s Nice That.

The Rodina’s latest undertaking is the visual identity for Amsterdam-based Sonic Acts Academy (SAA), a festival that explores alternative approaches to learning about the intersections between art, technology, music and science. “The visual identity for SAA 2018 is designed as a virtual reality academy. We turned the festival into a game that combines elements of play and exploration with the event. This complex virtual academy was then made accessible through virtual reality glasses. The VR glasses became the main means of communicating SAA’s material and ephemera,” Tereza explains. The identity was created in collaboration with Swiss designer Mateo Broillet, who produced the elegant yet futuristic typeface Nero Condensed for the occasion.

“We wanted to turn passive viewers into agents so we created a hybrid visual identity that overlaps with gaming. Performativity and interactivity were always our main interests, so it was only logical to combine them in a game that also allows viewers to actively engage with the design,” Tereza says. The Rodina doesn’t conform to conventional designs. Instead, the studio develops new platforms through which viewers can explore alternative experiences to their own.

Sweet Datapoint is another example of The Rodina’s impressive accomplishments. Sweet Datapoint consists of the video Captured by Success and two three-metre high prints. The project is “dedicated to all who haven’t had sex since last year.” Tereza reflects on the time the team spent combining “Balland’s Stanley typeface with Comic Sans and rendering large amounts of “frog eggs”, orgasmic skies and distorted heads." Intense, hard, refreshing and awkward are among the adjectives Tereza used to describe the creative process. “It was about sexuality. We tried to depict a space that lies somewhere in between the act of reproduction, passion and the erotic experience.”

It will be exciting to see what lies ahead for The Rodina, given that the studio has already worked with big brands like MTV and renowned institutions like Prague’s National Theatre. “We try to re-imagine a dazzling range of layered meanings across our work, both below and beyond the surface of design — and back again.”

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Sonic Acts Academy reader: 17×24 cm, 144 pages, offset print. Typefaces: gc16 by Bold Decisions, Nero Condensed by Mateo Broillet, Neue Haas Unica by Linotype. Client: Sonic Acts, Amsterdam

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Sonic Acts Academy reader: 17×24 cm, 144 pages, offset print. Typography together with Mateo Broillet. Client: Sonic Acts, Amsterdam

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Sonic Acts Academy reader: essay spread, 17×24 cm, 144 pages, offset print. Typefaces: gc16 by Bold Decisions, Nero Condensed by Mateo Broillet, Neue Haas Unica by Linotype. Client: Sonic Acts, Amsterdam

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Sonic Acts Academy reader: interview spread, 17×24 cm, 144 pages, offset print. Layout icw Mateo Broillet. Typefaces: gc16 by Bold Decisions, Nero Condensed by Mateo Broillet, Neue Haas Unica by Linotype. Client: Sonic Acts, Amsterdam

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Roleplay Reality: States of Play, poster A0, offset print. Client: FACT, Liverpool

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Roleplay Reality: States of Play, poster A3, offset print. Client: FACT, Liverpool

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Roleplay Reality: States of Play, HD foyer screen. Client: FACT, Liverpool

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Sweet Datapoint: captured by Success. Video still, 04:58, HD

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Sweet Datapoint: captured by Success. Video still, 04:58, HD

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Sweet Datapoint: poster A0, digital print. Client: Gallery of National Library of Technology, Prague

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Sweet Datapoint: poster A0, digital print. Client: Gallery of National Library of Technology, Prague

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Sweet Datapoint: captured by Success. Video still, 04:58, HD