LogoArchive’s Akogare Extra Issue is an ode to transparency, storytelling and Japanese logos
LogoArchive has returned with a new Extra Issue, titled Akogare – a monochromatic and transparent zine that’s themed on the context of Japan. In collaboration with designer Hugh Miller, Akogare delves into the theme through writing and graphics, and features a set of logos that serve as “the visual hook to draw people in,” Baird tells us. Akogare is inspired by a 1950’s Japanese design magazine named ‘graphic design’, more specifically its section called ‘graphic design laboratory’ – where ‘free space’ pages are given to a guest designer. Upon suggestion from friend Deryck Jones to centre a zine around Japanese design, Baird instantly looked back to this citation. “With this idea in mind, it felt natural to honour that reference by framing it within the context of Japanese logos.”
Akogare, just like its many predecessors, took plenty of time to complete. Built in two languages and with an instantly recognisable format, of course, this is going to pose some challenges in its construction. “Each zine must have a concept that exists on and below the surface,” says Baird. “The choice of logos and theme is simply a way to articulate this with the immediacy of form; that’s why it takes so long.”
A further challenge rests in the bilingual content, with English and Japanese texts by Ian Lynam, Iori Kikuchi and Baird, the project co-ordinator. “We wanted to make both relevant, to make clear the cultural bridge,” he adds, opting for a serif typeface that drove the issue’s content. He continues to note how type choice and typesetting visually joined these two languages in a practical sense, as well as one that’s much more visceral. “By contrasting typestyle, we further the meaning. The reader can understand something more about the ideas of the zine in that contrast, even if they can only read either English or Japanese.”
One of Akogare’s key takeaways is that it largely focuses on transparency, not just with its visual design but also in terms of its materiality. Referencing the lightness and delicacy of the items that both Baird and Miller have purchased from Japan, the booklet, in this sense, took great influence from the folded paper lights of designer Issy Miyake. Utilising Japanese papers throughout, there’s also the addition of an Extra Special insert, composed of a heated die and using semi-transparent paper, Takeo Pachica. A move orchestrated to recount the story of the Mitsubishi logo; this is just a small example of how transparency plays a vital part in bringing Akogare’s wonderful contents to life.