Polytechnic typographically embrace the beautiful, thoughtful architecture of Mooradian Studio
Design practice Polytechnic have crafted the meticulous identity system for architecture firm Mooradian Studio, reflecting their forward-thinking, considerate and captivating work while also marking the continuation of their collaborative London-based partnership. The result is a markedly confident brand centred around a bespoke mono-weight typeface. “At the start of the project, Aram, Mooradian’s Founder, showed us some books he had picked up on a recent trip to Yerevan,” Co-Founder Arthur Carey tells us, recalling the history of Mooradian’s custom typographic treatment. “Amongst them was a title from 1984 called ‘ИСКУССТВО ШРИФТА’ or ‘THE ART OF LETTER-TYPE,’” he continues, detailing the publication’s display of 120 decorative Armenian typefaces.
“Looking at this together revealed to us the extent of Aram’s passion for lettering,” Carey explains, noting the mutually shared nature of this fascination, “and together we made it a goal to create a contemporary grotesque which echoes something of these Armenian forms,” culminating in an undeniably self-assured typeface, confident enough to warrant only a single weight. “We proceeded to plan the entire visual identity to centre around a paired back presentation,” Carey adds, discussing the single-weight decision. “Typesetting it in a few sizes/ways would bring ample variation to successfully present Aram’s projects,” he remarks, “and communication materials without needing further weights,” a feature championed by the supporting simplicity and sense of space created by Polytechnic’s surrounding linear graphic system.
The subsequent typeface, Mooradian Grotesque, designed in close collaboration with The Pyte Foundry’s Ellmer Stefan, found its distinctive origins in Brasilia, a mid-century lower-case-only typeface designed by Albert Hollenstein and Albert Boton that found its own influence in Brazil’s characterful architecture. “We were introduced to Brasilia by Stefan when discussing and identifying shared forms between Latin and Armenian characters,” Carey recalls, “and ways we could build a full character set which nodded to a relationship between the two scripts,” finding creative details throughout its letterforms to carry over into Mooradian’s typeface. Subsequently, the collaboration’s meticulous fascinations and visual restraint culminated in a thoughtful typeface – punctured with fascinating typographic moments of reflective expression – bringing to attention Aram’s Armenian diaspora whilst celebrating its continual influence on their creative practice.
The typographic discretion underpinning Mooradian’s brand finds further companionship in the considerate, restrained use of material and colour, incorporating the fundamental quality and tactility of its physical components. From the use of G.F Smith’s Cromatico transparent premium paper stock to the delicate hero hues. “Our approach to the use of colour is generally very restrained to allow Thomas’ images of the architecture to be the focus throughout,” Carey recalls, recognising the critical inclusion of photographer Thomas Adank’s imagery as part of Mooradian’s documentation. “The only exception is a dark red/brown we paired with a hot orange, used on the website as the reversed-out colour,” Carey concludes, “this tone is drawn from the nutty browns of dark-stained cork tiles used extensively by Aram in Less is More House, Hackney,” allowing the creative expression of Mooradian’s practice to continually inform and evolve their visual expression.