Output’s identity for Alfred Landecker Foundation utilises typographic contrast and conflict
Created in defence of liberal societies, and to protest democratic structures, the Alfred Landecker Foundation, based in Berlin, provides fundamental support, advice and solidarity in the face of rising nationalism and minority hatred across Europe. Needing a new identity and website to bring the Foundation up to date and further bolster their endeavours, they turned to London-based studio Output with the challenge.
The result is a thoughtful and provocative identity, emboldened with a balance of editorial sincerity and graphic imperfection that conveys a deeply rooted sense of humanity, candour and kindness. This sentiment is shared across the type-led brand, including the challenging colour palette, commissioned illustrations and logo monogram.
“The whole project is designed around the tension between two principles: the frailty of democracy against the chaos in the world, and a call-to-arms to build a civil response and do better,” Senior Designer Sam Hodges tells us, shifting the focus of the monogram towards the notion of frailty. “The hairline strokes are resisting pressure from the outside,” he adds, “and showing strength in their apparent weakness,” an inclination shared with one of the identity’s chosen typefaces; Beatrice Display.
With the typeface’s construction inspiring the strokes across the monogram, Hodges notes that Beatrice’s role is “to characterise the activist, action-oriented side of the Foundation’s work,” something portrayed through the sans serif’s stark architecture, and its contrast with Canela; the serifed counterpart in the identity’s typography. “Canela represents the academic rigour and strategic side,” Hodges adds, emphasising the significance of their typographic contrast, “it was important to show clashing ideas and critical thinking at the front line where change can happen.” These notions of contrast and conflict are exemplified through the deliberately unsteady angles of headline text across the identity, as Hodges recalls; purposefully set to suggest “a sense of things being unsettled and off-balance.”
The brand’s oblique applications, however, are paired with expertly executed editorial sensibilities, utilising the strength of both typefaces to succinctly and clearly exhibit the important information the foundation shares. This aesthetic achievement is made all the more effortless through the identity’s use of colour, which is functionally implemented to ease the reader’s journey across the website. “Topics use different colour pairings,” Hodges explains, “and these can be harmonious for more academic content, or deliberately clashing for more controversial subjects.”
This editorial approach continued to be supported through Output’s commissioning of illustration across the identity. “We commissioned different illustrators to surface the idea of many voices contributing to the debate,” Hodges adds, with each illustrator responding with their own unique style, concluding, “the mix of styles is deliberately eclectic, as you might see in a thought-provoking publication.”