We are graphic designers. We settled in Turin after having experienced the state of the art of our profession in Switzerland, UK and Norway. Standing in front of the monolithic presence of the Robin Hood Gardens designed by Alison and Peter Smithson or in front of one of the City of Zurich’s monochrome posters, we have no doubts about considering them bold and clear examples of architecture and graphics.
We therefore believe in the aesthetics of the “béton brut”: the highest expression of honesty in the use of modern materials. Our exposed concrete is an amalgamation of typography and photography, never masked, never damped, always presented raw to the eyes of the public. We want to consider our subjects with the greatest possible respect, avoiding to modify it for commercial purposes or to make it arrogantly special.
That’s because we’re by nature against the falsity, selfishness and mystification that reign in contemporary methods of communication. We want to expose reality without ornaments, striving to be primarily useful to people. We don’t talk about “strategy”, we don’t invent “positioning”, we avoid the application of the term “branding” (originally related to branding animals with a hot iron) to any object or person.
It seems to us that graphic design and, more generally, communication today, are following the fear of being judged as “nothing special”. Actors and the public, driven by glossy paper magazines and “marketing directors” have become accustomed to consider as “design” all those objects that pollute the environment with their bright colors and their surprisingly forced shapes. However, it is precisely the less noisy presence of the others to carry out essential communicative tasks silently, such as an A4 sheet quickly printed by an employee with Times New Roman to warn that a lift is out of service.
Our appeal is open to anyone: to reconsider the value of bold, impenitent, honest graphics, sometimes terrifying in their basic normality. We’re not “exclusive”, we’re not “innovative”: black on white, legible texts, clear structures, a printed architecture of useful information and simple digital interactions on the Internet.
Norma is voluntarily nothing special.