Bakken & Bæck’s illustrative identity for The European Review of Books looks to make a statement
Aiming to launch in print via a crowdfunding campaign, The European Review of Books is a magazine set to be the go-to for cultural commentary – covering everything from books and politics to art and music – utilising voices from a global set of contributors. With equally international credentials, technology-driven design studio Bakken & Bæck, based out of Norway, The Netherlands, Britain and Germany, have developed a distinctive identity for the magazine. Elegantly combining striking typographic hierarchy with candid illustration, the brand beautifully boasts the perfect proportions of radical thinking and confidence, as well as resolute design dexterity and typographic prowess.
The typography in question, which provides the unwavering foundations of the brand, is all the stronger for Bakken & Bæck’s choice of typefaces. “We have used Greed by Displaay as the headline font,” Petter Torgersen Myhr, Brand Designer at Bakken & Bæck, explains, “backed up with Neue Haas Unica and LL Bradford on the web.” A powerful combination that alludes enough to their broadsheet inspirations behind the project, whilst cementing it firmly as a contemporary entity. “We were not inspired by any particular newspaper,” Torgersen Myhr explains, “it was more of a feeling we wanted to convey, and how a visual style like this makes a certain statement.”
Similarly, this concoction of hierarchy, type choice and illustration very much alludes to the bold attitude the magazine will have, remaining unapologetically political and radical, whilst simultaneously recognisable and somewhat nostalgic. “The typography combined with the imagery of the riding goddess makes the ERB feel like something familiar,” Torgersen Myhr adds, referring to the headline illustration drawn in-house that depicts the Greek goddess Europa riding a bull. “It is the most common depiction of her,” he explains, “since this is where the continent has gotten its name from, we wanted to create something where we could give a new meaning and history to the cultural heritage we share in Europa.”
The identity itself is due to stand the test of time, having been crafted to adapt flexibly as the magazine grows whilst maintaining an unmistakable aesthetic – brazenly adopting an illustrative style that has a beautiful naivety as well as effortless, timeless quality. “The illustrations we have for now are what will be used in the promotion for The European Review, depicting various motives,” Torgersen Myhr concludes, “we have, for example, our own version of Francisco Goya’s reading donkey!”