Grilli Type


Grilli Type uses inspiration from Soviet children’s books for new designed typeface

GT Eesti, a typeface created by Swiss foundry Grilli Type, holds a historic and interesting background of having Soviet Russian origins. Grilli Type explains that:

Soviet geometric sans serif Zhurnalnaya Roublennaya, first released in 1947 and designed by Anatoly Schulkin.

The finding and design process behind the typeface was from Reto Moser, who designed GT Eesti, when he was shown a few Estonian children’s books when he was a student. He began the typeface design, simply by digitising the updated Eesti from scanning from the Estonian books. Grilli Type also found a discovery that there were two versions of the typeface: Display, for large sizes and Text, for smaller usage. With this discovery, Moser merged these discoveries for the final typeface.

The designed typeface is very reminiscent to the Futura font family, as GT Eesti utilises large block-like lettering, porportional and heavy appearance, similar to Futura. The new typeface feels modern too, since the sans-serif typeface is classified as a Modern era typeface.

Grilli Type has also expanded on the typeface by accompanying a microsite which explains the story and details of the typeface. This also includes the decisions behind cetain elements of the type and the subfamilies within it. With the findings of the Estonian children’s books, Grilli Type also reflected the historic children illustrations into the microsite too. These neat and brightly coloured illustrations, sit nicely alongside the font, providing a historic feel of the Soviet education towards the modern day. As well as illustrations, the team also added animations, which are smart, compact and communicative.

The typeface alone is dynamic, clean and sensitively interpreted, but the microsite adds another level to the project, giving it historical relevance and a glimpse into Grilli Type’s design process.

What I can take from Grilli Type’s GT Eesti designed typeface as inspiration, is the use of utilising historic research into current projects and briefs. Completing varied research results in interesting and developing ideas, that can be original and innovative. Also, another successful element from Grilli Type’s typeface project, is the use of expanding it into a larger context, such as with Grilli Type’s microsite for example. I could use this idea for my own projects and briefs, as it shows a passion for the project, and also serves a purpose of informing and possibly educating the viewer. This expansion could not just be a microsite, as I could creatively produce a accompanying poster, interactive prestentation, or infographic. The creative ideas of expanding a project/brief are endless.


It’s Nice That

Reto Moser

Grilli Type

GT Eesti


Toru Kase


Playful and original graphic design work by Japanese designer Toru Kase

Toru Kase’s current graphic design work consists of a neat and playful design approach, which results in light-hearted and original work. Kase typically merges type and graphic artwork to create a subtle, yet neat design approach. A great example of Kase’s work is his flyer design work for Dinosaur Expo, an annual group exhibition held in Tokyo, as well as his other flyer design work for a bookstore from 2014.

Kase’s playful design approach for his Dinosaur Expo flyers are light and subtle in colour and shape, creating a minimal-like, yet clean visual outcome. They are playful in visual style, as the curved shapes, asymetrical layout and typography are positioned neatly to engage with the viewer. The theme that Kase went with reflects successfully, as combining the content of the flyer with the visualisation, creates a playful and engaging design. Kase did not go with a complex design approach, he just kept the illustrated artwork simple, and created the typography fun and playful. The flyer design also seems to be aimed for children, as there is a younger audience attraction present.

With Kase’s Fun! Tokyo! project for Japan Rail, Kase shows that he is capable of delivering a corporate-like design approach. Utilising full colour images with large typographic headings, Kase delivers a clean and a more ‘adult’ professional design approach, compared to his Dinosaur Expo flyer designs. His Fun! Tokyo! flyer design work is clear and concise, and delivers a clean and neat visual of promoting the project for Japan Rail.

His series of posters from 2014 reveal a more structured approach to layout and a great deal of commercial sensibilities.

What I can take from Toru Kase’s light-hearted and distinctive design approach for inspiration, is the use of creating simple lines, shapes and colours, and composing them into a engaging, yet playful composition. Limiting to a two or four colour palette makes the artwork not visually complex, and legible to understand. I could also take his design approach of utilising full colour images, combined with graphic elements to visual a solution for flyer and/or poster design.

Toru_Kase_Its_Nice_That_2 (1)


It’s Nice That

Toru Kase



Pitchfork introduces new logotype as well as redesigned website

The music website Pitchfork, reveals its launch of a complete new designed website, that overhauls the previous iteration which appeared in Autumn 2011. The new, clean website provides a fresh new user interface, that has made the visual appearance simplified and clear for the reader. The outcome of this new user interface provides the reader experience to be easier to function, as browsing, searching, listening and watching is simplified and easier to function. However, as well as with the new fresh user interface, Pitchfork has revealed a new logotype that is designed by Swiss type foundry, Grilli.

The user interface utilises a monochromatic colour palette, with full colour images. This choice of style provides the reader experience to be easy and concise to understand, as the content is equally spaced, making it not cramped. Another element that makes the new website design fluid with the simplified user interface, is the neat feature of having the navigation bar, search and listening feature, and hamburger menu scroll with the reader. This makes the navigation for the website easy and quick for the reader to use. This neat design element also applies with the listening feature, as when the reader uses this feature, it is located underneath the navigation bar, and scrolls with the reader.

One other nice design aspect that the new site incorporates is the hamburger menu. The hamburger menu provides almost the same content and links as the main navigation bar does, however, the hamburger menu contains a slight more detailed links for the main header links. This makes the user interface neat and direct for the reader to explore a detailed area from the main header links.

Condé Nast acquired Pitchfork Media last year in October. The presdient and chief executive Bob Sauerberg of Condé Nast said:

“Pitchfork is a distinguished digital property that brings a strong editorial voice, an enthusiastic and young audience, a growing video platform and a thriving events business.”

What I can take from Pitchfork’s newly designed website for inspiration, is the use of a fresh and simplified user interface, that successfully function and performs well for the reader. The user interface and user experience of a website is vital for the reader, and so Pitchfork’s new website is a great example of a website functioning and performing a easy and clear user interface and user experience. The colour styling of the website is simple and neat, it’s not too complicated with many colours. I can take this colour styling approach into my own work for web and user interface design.

As well as the simple colour scheming, I could also take the neat little features of the website into my own work. This includes the design elements of the hamburger menu, search and listening feature. These little design elements helps the overall user interface and experience succesfully well, as being a music website, it is expected to obtain a listening feature, as well as the standard search option.

The layout is also another aspect that I can take, as the website uses a section for featured and new articles, and a basic two column layout for articles, album reviews, latest music and so on. Utilising a two column layout can provide more information in a smaller space. I could use this type of layout for web design, as it is successful, and it works well for a successful and easy to understand user interface and experience.


It’s Nice That


Jozef Ondrik


Designer Jozef Ondrik visually experiments and test typography

Slovakia-born designer, Jozef Ondrik showcases new experimental design work with independent design practice, Deep Throat Studio. Ondrik himself co-founded the design studio with Zdenek Kvasnica, which the studio aims to be a space for collaboration and discussion. The studio produces various printed materials, however, they also conduct workshops and presentations on the subject for creating better deign-based solutions. With Ondrik’s new work, he showcases them on his recently updated website, which includes various promo posters and pamphlets. The design work includes the content of the studio’s activities, which displays Ondrik’s geometric style.

Ondrik’s visual style consists of neat and sharp geometric shapes, exploiting his distinctive geometric style. This is certainly and clearly applied to his typographic testing, as he explores typography in a minimal fashion. He uses clear and equally used white space to provide consistency and legiblity to his work. As with colours, Ondrik typically sticks with a standard colour palette throughout his works. Using the colour palette of black and white, with splashes of primary hues, this provides a neat, playful approach to his visual experiments and typograhy testing.

“…Jozef’s approach continues to be fresh and well-balanced.” 

Within the past year, Ondrik’s work consisted of web-based projects, however, with his experimental and typographic testing works, he has branched out and focused on to printed matter and type specimens.  His updated site particulary includes posters for exhibitions and cafes, as well as providing an insight into his design process, which can be identified with his typographic tests and visual experiments.

What I can take from Ondrik’s work for inspiration is the use of a limited colour palette, combined with experimental elements. This process can provide interesting solutions and outcomes for particular future briefs. I like how his work consists of a minimal-like approach, with neat, clean and sharp design. Also, utilising a geometric style like Ondrik’s could be experimentally intersting into my own work, as for myself, I sometimes utilise a geometric style or form into some of my briefs.



It’s Nice That

Jozef Ondrik

Anymade Studio


Prague-based Anymade Studio showcases colourful yet refined graphic design work

Anymade Studio utilises and prides itself on using a ‘playful’ approach, as this is cleary evident in their current portfolio of work; colourful and innovated. However, the studio also merges their serious side with their ‘playful’ approach. The studio produces a lot of work for cultural clients, such as Svatopluk Pitra’s box design, which monographs detailed work of Pitra’s graphic design, illustrations and animations. The studio merges their ‘seriousness’ and ‘playful’ approach cleverly by using bold typography and alluring layouts of text and the subjects’ imagery into Pitra’s art book box design. How the studio merges their ‘seriousness’ and ‘playfulness’ is by merging the two with a clean, fresh colour palette of turquoise and pink.

Another area of the studio’s portfolio of work, is there strong piece for Roman Štětina. The studio utilises the use of photography and layout for Štětina’s catalogue design:

…using a darker and more final approach befitting of the subject.

 The studio’s style and nature of work is bold and somewhat minimal, which still maintains the provision of functioning as a product, as well as it being beautifully crafted. This is evident through their portfolio of work.

Anymade Studio says:

Function and quality are logically the client’s main interests – originality and overlap is ours.

What I can take from Anymade Studio as inspiration for my own work, is the combination of being serious and informative, as well as playful and fun. I tend to aim for this throughout my past and current briefs, and so Anymade Studio’s portfolio work has inspired and influenced myself further. How I could use this inspiration and influence from this studio is to experiment with using, possibly typography, the content and the content’s imagery as the serious side of the design, and experimently use the colour palette and possibly the typography too, as the playful and fun side.


It’s Nice That

Anymade Studio

Studio Plastac


Studio Plastac designs Spectaculinaire: a book combining food, design and theatre

Studio Plastac has worked with Julie Rothhahn to produce a book that merges food design and French theatre; a perfect combination anyways. Rothhahn bridges the gap between France’s food culture and theatre scene, as her own work and style in culinary design and performance is playful, yet intriguing. The theatre side of the designed book focuses on the collaboration between Le Manège de Reims, where Rothhahn was an associate artist between the years of 2007 and 2015, and herself. However, the book is not the first time the design studio and Rothhahn have collaborated, as for Rothhahn’s show in Centre Pompidou Metz in 2014, the Paris studio collaborated with her.

The design studio decided to go with a typographic-only book cover, using the words ‘spectacular’ and ‘culinary’ as intial starting points. The studio also took influence from Rothhahn’s food design too, as the studio reflected and played on with the style of Rothhahn’s serial nature of multiplying the title in vertical columns. The typographic book cover is also embossed, and so this gives a neat feeling, as well as a professional appearance of a typographic-only book cover. With the use of the multiplication idea that the studio incorporated into the book cover, the studio used this idea throughout the content of the book too. The multiplication idea was the studio’s principal concept for design, as it works well to reflect the style and nature of Rothhahn. The result that the multiplication idea provided for the contents of the book, is neat and intriuging typographic patterns that nicely introduces each section, and its corresponding colour. What also makes the book further reflect and take influence from Rothhahn’s style and nature, is how in parts, the letters are arranged as if how the culinary designer may arrange her tables.

The colour scheme for the book ulitises a deep blue-purple, with a nice contrasting typographic white. This is simple, yet bold and legible. The colour scheme for the book’s content is just standard monochrome, with coloured images. This simple contrast with coloured images makes the content easy to read, bold and neat in minimal design. It functions moreover than appearing beautiful, which is what one reader would want to have in a book, that contains information. The design studio also makes effective use of Colophon Foundry’s Raisonné font, which:

…adds subtle movement to the otherwise with regimented layout.”

What I can take from Studio Plastac’s collaboration work with Julie Rothhahn as inspiration is the use of a typographic-only book cover, as well as reflecting styles with the contributing collaborator. I like how Studio Plastac’s multiplication idea is a principal concept, and also how it is consistently used throughout the book. I can take a similar approach with my own briefs into my own work. It’s interesting and different from the norm.



It’s Nice That

Studio Plastac



Sawdust design studio creates new word mark and logo for Wired UK

Technology publication Wired UK has teamed up with Sawdust which has created a new masthead design and icon for the popular publication. Across Wired UK’s social media channels, Sawdust’s designs are used, fusing and working alongside with the incumbent Wired logo.

The colour palette of the design uses different shades of grey, and gradient effects, which the two together combined, creates a neat 3D-like sense. The design seems to be eye-popping with the 3D effect, which makes the overall design different from just standard block colours on a flat design. However, the colour choice of grey makes the design seem a slight bland, as grey is generally used as a backdrop, or shading attribute. This makes grey seem a boring colour to use for a primary colour of a design. Although, in this case with Wired UK, it works well having dark and light contrasting colours to use across social media channels. The colour and design can reflect with modern technology, and with minimal appearance to successfully work well across different aesthetics of social media, and devices too.

Wired creative director, Andrew Diprose came across with Sawdust with looking for a solution to use the word Wired without requiring the use of the logo itself:

“We approached our friends at Sawdust as we were looking to run the word ‘Wired’ or a W without necessarily using the logo.”

The composition and shape of the design is neat and geometric, and equally proportioned to give its full effect as a masthead, word mark and logo.

“This piece didn’t have to have the same legibility as our masthead does, rather it was to sit as an image in a place where some might run an photo or logo, such as on social media ‘buttons’. We were looking for the word as an image, with the same modern, clever and aesthetic values as Wired has as a brand.”

What I can take as inspiration from Sawdust’s design work for Wired UK is the style and legibility idea to create neat artwork, which can work across social media channels, without necessarily using a logo to complement the design. This could be great inspiration and influence for a future solution for a brief, as this design work successfully works to the intention and aim of the overall idea.


It’s Nice That