Graphic design

For Studio Ard, graphic design is a process of finding balance

“I studied at a time when print and magazines were (re) booming and the internet was 1.0,” Guillaume shares, “so when I got out of college I wanted to design books.” Dreaming of today’s design, Guillaume sees things as being very “different”, but not necessarily in a bad way. “My students are less interested in print. Their motto is elsewhere; often online. Also, it feels like creative practices are more flexible today. Explaining the reasons for his love of working with books, Guillaume testifies to this by pushing you to see them as objects, existing in multiple creative poles; “working in print also means understanding the mass production industry and craftsmanship, collaborating with technicians to produce the best object.” Always creating a dummy copy before publication, the studio is determined to become one with the physicality of the book and how it will exist in the hands of the reader.

Since their debut in 2019, Ard Works has worked alongside Lolli Editions, an independent publisher based at the Barbican Center that publishes English translations from Scandinavia and beyond. Creator of its logo and identity, the studio also designed some of its paperback covers. Taking the concept of the cover out of its usual framework, the studio aims to make the book a physical medium for the story. For instance, new passengers, a book about a love story that begins on a train mimics an oversized train ticket, while the cover of The employees, a futuristic look at the workplace has an emblazoned staff card on the front. “It’s fun to be able to create a visual landscape for the collection; making sure that the covers of the books complement each other on the shelf,” adds Guillaume.

When collaborating with artists, the studio uses the physical materiality of the books they create to match and identify the central themes of the artists. For Tenant of Culture, a monograph of the work of Hendrickje Schimmel, the studio wanted to follow the logic of “deconstruction and reconstruction” of the artist. A visually unique book, it includes two covers and different papers glued and held together by an exposed binding, an element usually hidden under the spine of the book. For Anj Smith’s publication devoted to rave culture, a “pervasive” theme in her work, the studio used a thread-stitched booklet with a square spine and a hard jacket. “The whole object seems quite elaborate but light and spontaneous; encapsulating a certain brilliant but melancholy “after party”, identifies Guillame. In just over five years, Studio Ard has made a name for itself in the world of publication design. For a thoughtful, artful and multifaceted book, look no further.