Studio Ghazaal Vojdani and Julia Novitch’s identity for the BSA celebrates the society’s variety, tactility and materiality
After studying at Central Saint Martins in London and setting up her own studio in New York, designer Ghazaal Vojdani is now based in Paris where she has since undertaken the rebrand of the Bibliographical Society of America – alongside designer Julia Novitch. Producing numerous printed ephemera and stationary, Vojdani and Novitch have capitalised on this scholarly organisation’s engagement with textual objects in collections around the world, focusing on this as the leading concept to the identity system.
Approached initially to produce a brochure for new members of the Society by Erin McGuirl, Executive Director at the Bibliographical Society of America (BSA), Vojdani and Novitch tell us “what began on our end as a design proposal for one object evolved into a design proposal for an identity system.” With the structure in question “based around different paper types, textures, printing techniques, and images of textual objects from public and private collections around the world,” Vojdani and Novitch certainly had a lot to play with.
Remaining true to the BSA’s mission to foster the study of the material text and the book as object, Vojdani and Novitch stuck to their proclivity for materiality in the production of an identity that celebrates the form it takes and space it occupies. Since producing the brochure, Vojdani and Novitch tell us “we’ve had the pleasure of building and road-testing the identity slowly across various print and digital items,” adding “we think of the identity as an evolving swatch book in conversation with print history and print objects.”
In keeping with this recurring theme between digital and material, as well as injecting an element of modernity to the nearly 125-year-old learned society’s look, Vojdani and Novitch used Bretagne’s Self Modern as the primary typeface. “It’s a beautiful serif typeface that speaks well to the history of bibliography and print,” they explain, “with a contemporary twist.” The new circular logotype also shows an evolution of the BSA due to the friendliness its form has in the digital environment – such as small scale applications like the social media profile – whilst also reflecting “the shape of a society or a community,” they recall.
Celebrating the “variety, tactility, and materiality” that is innate in producing a print-first visual system and identity, Vojdani and Novitch explain that they have since explored the system’s adaptation and interpretation of the digital space – with a new website due to launch shortly after the launch of the BSA’s new grant-funded research and teaching hub launching in 2021.