Mental Leap

The role of designers in society is under the spotlight in an important collection of research and analysis by 84 designers, writers and thought leaders. Two Points studio talks us through its visual identity for LEAP Dialogues.

Large d78bbf5b 68de 46b8 a3d1 f5f10678851f

This is an international project - how did your relationship with the Designmatters department at ArtCollege of Design Pasedena come about?
​A former client, and now friend, recommended us. Many of our commissions come from people we met years ago, some even decades ago. They travel around the world and so do we, sort of, when we can. Most of our commissions are international. We barely have local clients. To us it is more important to find the right person to work with, than that this person lives in our city. Now and then we also get commissions from people who do not come by recommendation. They just found our work in a book, magazine or blog or bought one of our books and decided they wanted to work with us. These relationships are a little awkward in the beginning, but can turn into most enjoyable collaborations. Take Designmatters as an example. We did not know each other at all and due to the time zone difference of nine hours it was difficult to find time to skype. We nevertheless made it happen. It has been a joy to work with Jennifer and Mariana [co-founders of Designmatters, ArtCenter College of Design] because they are very smart and efficient. When they thought something in our design didn’t work they were able to give us a reasonable argument, a problem we are able to solve. There was no fishing in the dark.

Large 62392aee 7235 4261 b551 e33fc1f88092

LEAP DIalogues, full identity print collateral, designed by by Two Points

Large 0d66c5c0 6731 490c 939f 13e486ad4942

LEAP Dialogues book cover, designed by by Two Points

There was a big volume of material to handle on this project - how did you tackle its presentation in the book and other media platforms?
We realised, that even when we design books, we design the flexible visual identity first. Flexible visual systems help us to master different types of contents and formats, without losing visual coherence between all the different applications. Long before all the content had been finalised, we were given a list of the content. It helped us to imagine the different types of material, and even more important, to imagine how many articles of each type there would be. We knew that the biggest part of the book would be the dialogues. This part could have felt very long and monotonous, even though the content isn’t. Emphasising visually the dialectic nature of the dialogues helped us to make the reading process more stimulant and create a distinctive visual language for the book.

Besides the dialogues, the book has case studies and "day in the life" articles, which needed to look different. There is always a danger in creating different styles for different sections. They might not feel part of the whole and cause a chaotic overall design. We decided to use only Futura T Medium and Futura T Medium Italic in the entire book and create visual diversity only through the different use of the underlying grid. When we saw that this solution worked, we added one more typeface to the "day in the life" section, Times, for pure entertainment.

Large 25d099db 06e8 4156 8faf 295a7ee3c1e5

Spread from LEAP Dialogues, designed by by Two Points

Large 24c9605a 7bb0 4ce0 9961 e73b3e6e4d5b

Spread from LEAP Dialogues, designed by by Two Points

Large c1b2ff48 d391 44ac 93c4 6d7bb75fd773

Spread from LEAP Dialogues, designed by by Two Points

Despite the text-heavy content you’ve achieved a visually dynamic presentation of the information - what visual tools did you employ to make that happen?
Limiting ourselves to Futura T Medium and Futura T Medium Italic on the inside pages, made the grid become very important. Therefore, making the grid visible on the promotional items, made a lot of sense to us. Designing a new typeface, if there is the time and budget, is a lot of fun and really helps to create a unique visual language. Both the grid, and the typeface, tried to represent, in a subtle way, the open approach the editors have towards the theme of the book. Rather than imposing a “perfect” definition by one author, it allows many actors, including the viewer/reader, to form their own definitions, as the viewer would complete on their own the gaps in the letters of the typeface. The fading of the two very different colours, the bright and shiny neon red and the calm and balanced petrol blue, is a recurrent theme of the visual identity. It represents, on an intuitively perceived layer, the dialogue between two different voices. Rather than being treated as opponents, they stimulate each other and sometimes even fade into each other.

Large c51bb138 e4af 4760 ba48 706e1c615467

LEAP Dialogues promotional poster, designed by by Two Points

Large 6396a8d4 6717 4065 a158 595a11dd9505

LEAP Dialogues typeface, designed by by Two Points

Designing for a design audience - is that more daunting a challenge than designing for another sector, or does it allow you a bit more liberty?
That is an interesting question. We took a lot of liberty when we designed the visual identity for the burger bar Bacoa. We never really think about the amount of liberty we have or take. We just do what seems to be right thing to do and, most importantly, we try not to be boring.

Large d4ac2b09 3972 465e b8ba 97efec3d7c94

Spread from LEAP Dialogues, designed by by Two Points

Large 01af7cd8 0355 4fdf b720 042337399cfa

Mobile web app for LEAP Dialogues, designed by by Two Points

Did you learn anything new from the research presented in the book, you will apply to your own practice?
One of the reasons why we were commissioned to design this book was our experience in social innovation design. Besides our work for NESTA and Helsinki Design Lab we work with a Jordanian NGO called Arini on a social innovation project for a Syrian refugee camp in Amman, called Jabal Al Natheef. The first step of this project has been the book Mapping Jabal Al Natheef.

Large 0cb7f289 2872 4039 aead a55ded1115bf

Spread from LEAP Dialogues, designed by by Two Points

See more work by Two Points here. 

Visit the LEAP Dialogues website and learn about Designmatters here.