SUPERFANTASTIC embrace modernism in their restrained identity for photographic duo Shalan and Paul
Marking the latest stage in their Torontonian collaboration, creative agency SUPERFANTASTIC and photographers Shalan and Paul have partnered on the latter’s visual identity, following the former’s original work eight years prior. “We originally designed Shalan and Paul’s identity back in 2015,” Co-founder Mark Neil Balson tells us, primarily focusing on the photographic studio’s business cards and modular graphic systems. “More recently, we revisited the brand and developed a cohesive approach to typography,” he continues, “with a focus on extending our original intention to show their aesthetic through the lens of modernism,” embodying Shalan and Paul’s perfection-pursuing practice and matter-of-fact, earnest attitude.
SUPERFANTASTIC were determined to typographically reflect Shalan and Paul’s technical prowess, leaning on Akzidenz Grotesk as the brand’s hero typeface. “To our eyes, AG Medium is the single most beautiful weight in a family where details vary widely across the range,” Balson states. “Of all the tests we made, AG had the clearest kinship with the purity in the couple’s work.” Implemented across Shalan and Paul’s logomark, Balson explains that “the simple S–P worked to convey the spirit of collaboration between the couple,” showcasing their distinct individual practices and personalities. “This simple typographic gesture also further connected the identity to a modernist reduction of forms,” he adds.
Whilst capturing the meticulous nature of Shalan and Paul’s work, SUPERFANTASTIC also strategically realigned the studio to better conceptually embrace their practice, leading with ‘Images by Shalan and Paul’ as the champion headline. “It seemed a more elegant way to convey what they do without using the label ‘photography,’” Balson recalls, “which feels somehow more technical and generic,” and therefore not mirroring the artistry of the duo’s work. “We also really like the idea of starting with a line that is typically used as a credit or sign-off,” he notes.
“We always try to embrace the spirit of our client’s work,” Balson details, “and hopefully elevate how they present themselves with as little design as possible,” utilising the sensitivity gained over the extensive duration of their relationship. “Some creatives love design and want to make a statement,” he suggests, “while others are looking to show up in a way that doesn’t complicate how they see their own work.” Balson concludes, “this range is something we aimed to bookend in the first identity presentation.”