studio mag 2018

Hot off the press, we just designed and printed our sixth Studio Magazine for the U of U’s College of Fine Arts.

Last year’s issue was just honored at the AIGA Top 100 Show. The oversized magazine-like brochure is a 44-page review of the past year in the arts, and celebrates the activities, initiatives, and accomplishments, including an annual report for the College. Each major story is treated with typographic and photographic displays that amplify the impact and message behind Utah’s leading educational institution. Besides designing, we direct the printing and coordinate the complete solution.

impartner in motion

A few years ago, we designed the branding for a local Utah tech company called, Impartner. So, when they asked us to design a video bumper for their Salt Lake based convention, we were excited for the opportunity to challenge ourselves to create a unique motion graphic that conveyed their 2018 theme—Transcend.

The bumper is a blend of video footage and graphic typography, which has been animated within the bumper. The combination of type animation and “transcendent” music allowed Impartner to convey the attitude and emotion of the theme to their audience attending their convention. We always leap at the opportunity to work on motion graphic videos for clients, as it is gives us the chance to flex our creative muscles in a different medium and allows us to work with companies to express their brand beyond their logo.

stranger things revives benguiat

My entrepreneurially-minded son graduated in art from the Cooper Union in Manhattan. A few months ago he showed me a few logo ideas that he had designed for his nascent business. It’s in the same industry in which he is currently employed. He had created a symbol and paired it with the name of the company displayed in a unique typeface.

I told him I liked the symbol but I wasn’t crazy about the typeface selection. He had set the company name in a typeface named after its designer: Benguiat. I was very familiar with the typeface—perhaps too familiar. Benguiat was designed in 1977. The problem with practicing design as long as I have is this: I’ve seen too much. Typefaces that were wildly popular a long time ago are so associated with the time period of their emergence, they are still stuck there—at least to me.

My associates at modern8 have recently been talking about Netflix’s Stranger Things. I’ve not seen it, but I’m in the minority here and apparently, amongst most everyone else. So I watched title opening and credits, which has no character references, just cool typography and music. The title typeface selection? ITC Benguiat—with it’s odd serifs and swooping “A” crossbar, set with tight letterspacing and drop caps left and right. Just like like I used to do 35 years ago.

The design firm behind the title opening is the legendary Imaginary Forces, who were given 15 book covers as inspiration by the show’s creators. Many of those book covers were Stephen King novels set in Benguiat. The now 88-year-old designer, Ed Benguiat, is one of type industry’s most prolific, having created over 600 fonts. Together with Herb Lubalin and others, he formed International Typeface Corporation (ITC), the most successful typeface distributor in the 70s and 80s. Benguiat said he recently noticed a surge in his typeface design royalties: it was due to Stranger Things.

I’ve read that the show has an “obsessive 80s pop culture reference”, so the typeface choice makes sense. But I’m still not on board with my son’s choice of Benguiat for his company logo. I’ve somewhat modified my opinion of the typeface, but I doubt his company is obsessed with 80s pop culture.