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Work / Graphic Design

Zett is the slick Zurich-based university paper for and about aspiring students

Think back to your student paper. If yours was anything like ours, it’s likely to have been a tired and typo-filled newspaper-wannabe. This, however, isn’t the case for the students of Zurich University of the Arts (otherwise known as Zürcher Hochschule der Künste or ZHdK). Zett, the ZHdK’s biannual art publication, is designed by four visual communication students – Michel Egger, Dominik Junker, Aurelia Peter and Silvan Possa – and functions as a printed version of the university’s online art and culture media platform. Following a redesign in 2016, Zett is a clean, slick and accomplished piece of work that consistently adapts according to its content. The magazine showcases a variety of student work, from photography to design, as well as student portraits and upcoming events.

“Our approach since day one was to create a design that could be applied over a number of issues. The content is structured and divided into different sections. Every issue contains articles, which fit the theme of the current magazine,” Silvan, one of Zett’s designers, tells It’s Nice That. The latest issue is centred around the topic ‘Less’ while past editions were centred around themes like ‘Migration’, ‘Radical Change’ and ‘#TBT’ each of which were assigned a distinct colour. “The notion of ‘less’ has been inspiring artists and designers for a long time.” Each theme is also interpreted into a foldout poster; ‘less’ has been visualised as a number of minimal, abstract shapes and forms that fit together like a pieces in a puzzle. Every issue also contains a series of general articles about people, projects and discussions that are taking place at ZHdK.

Zett’s masthead sees a gap between the ‘z’ and the ‘ett’. It is this blank space that sets the framework for the magazine’s content design. “Our goal was to create a magazine that works with interesting white spaces, which can handle versatile content and that reflects the current visual state of ZHdK,” Silvan explains. It feels apt that blank spaces permeate the magazine considering Zett is a paper for and about aspiring students; the white intervals evoke a sense of space for new aspiring students’ work to be showcased. “There is a photo gallery in every issue. We try to feature artists, photographers or illustrators which are currently working on a project that fits to the topic of the issue. We work very closely with them to strike a good balance between the magazine and the work published in it."

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