For the visual identity for architects Carmody Groarke, we employed modernist graphic design principles as a conscious way of working rather than as a default method. The project allowed us to consider the enduring influence of modernism in graphic design, as well as its continued aesthetic appeal to architects.
Founded in 2006, Carmody Groarke produces pared-back, abstracted yet distinctive buildings that result from rigorous design decisions and careful inquiry into a project’s local history, context and material resources. We took a similar approach, working as editors of Carmody Groarke’s existing visual material and conducting in-depth workshops with the architects on how they wanted to communicate their practice.
At the turn of the 20th century, European graphic designers advocated the use of sans-serif typefaces and an underlying grid as a way to achieve universally applicable and functional design. While this quest for neutrality is now often questioned, modernist graphic design retains its relevance for architects in its use of the grid as a means of structuring space and rationalising design decisions beyond subjective whims.
For Carmody Groarke’s chief typeface, we chose a typeface with strong modernist associations. Riforma LL is geometrically constructed: its combination of round forms and sharp diagonals make the font authoritative rather than neutral. We used a grid as the project’s common denominator, to unite the placement of all type and images across the suite of both printed and digital communications. For the website, we orchestrated a tight narrative, progressively introducing the visitor to degrees of detail.
In this way, we developed a reduced visual language, built from bold images and decisive typography, with its own internal logic, a minimal identity that is at once aligned to and distinct from modernist precedent.