Igor Kolomiiets’ distinctive Spice-Girls-inspired modular system for NMJ champions individuality
Beginning with a movement from their maxim ‘We Are Fashion’ to ‘In Love With Fashion,’ the rebrand of young modelling school NMJ by Kyiv-based designer Igor Kolomiiets embraces the warmth and optimism of youth; translating as much through variable graphic treatments, playful type and expressive photography. Representing the individuality at the core of modelling, and the unique perspectives of each student at the school, is the modular nature of the brand, providing the power to shift between maximal and minimal expressions at any time.
The modularity is led and grounded by the use of classic typefaces Helvetica Neue and Bodoni, which collectively translate the timelessness of the school’s endeavours. Discussing this pairing, Kolomiiets tells us, “NMJ features prominent, big and centre-aligned text layouts throughout,” he explains, “so the typefaces are picked to offset this bold character,” which is further emboldened through vivid photography. “Also, the school’s full name is Nagorny Models Junior,” Kolomiietse adds, “which is pretty massive, so we decided that it’s time to slowly shift the brand’s awareness,” shortening the logomark’s bespoke letterforms to NMJ. “The school’s full name is set with the same typefaces in the rest of the identity,” Kolomiiets explains, emphasising the logo whilst featuring its full title.
NMJ’s logomark also stars variable borders, made up of various shifting shapes inspired by different digital frames, such as QR codes and text boxes. “They add some visual playfulness and Web 2.0 vibes,” Kolomiiets details, “we’re talking about the TikTok generation here,” he caveats, “the ubiquitous nature of QR codes should create a feeling of something approachable, familiar and playful,” whilst the more early-digital-inspired frames trigger more nostalgic tendencies. “The initial design I made was inspired by the shape of a butterfly,” Kolomiiets explains, noting its familiarity with pop songs and music videos from the 1990s and 2000s. “I decided to expand it to a set of logos, inspired by vintage t-shirts, found in thrift stores and old Spice Girls posters,” he adds, each systematically applied, resulting in a semi-dreamlike, ethereal graphic quality. “In my opinion,” he suggests, “it’s the combination of distinctly different shapes that results in something new.”
Following a similar train of thought, the distinctive colour palette taps into a nostalgic era of photography. “Its draped backgrounds, vintage film grain, and colourful flowers,” he contextualises, creating the desired ethereal “naive” tone. “The principle that I implemented with the colour palette was to avoid using black and white for the graphics,” Kolomiiets continues, allowing the colourful text to become ingrained within the imagery. “A colour scheme like this requires a little fine-tuning to stay legible because it lacks distinct contrast with the imagery,” he concludes, “but it’s immensely satisfying to see how the palette of each image expands with different colours.”
Bodoni by Morris Fuller Benton