The Edit: five projects including RETINAA’s clean yet complex design for the Swiss passport
Each and every day, we're lucky to discover dozens of interesting and inspiring projects from around the world. From global identities and campaigns to side projects and independently published books, The Edit is home to five of them; every two weeks.
It’s not often a passport project comes around, so when design and research office RETINAA (based in Geneva, Switzerland) were invited to work on the new edition of Swiss passport, they were sure to tackle the challenge head-on. In close collaboration with a group of experts led by Fedpoli, a bold design direction was developed that meets the high standards of Swiss security documents. A precious resource and water shapes form the Swiss landscape, symbolising life and motion. Inspired by this notion, RETINAA sought to give fresh impetus to the passport by means of a symbolic journey along Switzerland’s waterways. This imaginary journey, courtesy of the passport, takes us through the 26 cantons, from the Alpine peaks down to the valleys. Alongside the linear visualisations of the peaks and valleys, the passport showcases Switzerland’s cartographic tradition.
The passport also pays homage to plenty of references and principles associated with the earlier passport designs. For one, it retains the principle of one page dedicated to each canton, introduced in 2003 by Roger Pfund, but the architectural landmarks have been redrawn and are now only visible under ultraviolet light. Welcoming a new age of Swiss design and innovation, the new passport invites users on an imaginary journey through time and space, exploring themes such as continuity and innovation, tradition and change.
New Zealand-based designer Harrison Gyde worked with fashion designer Frederik Berner Kühl to bring his utilitarian ethos to life in digital form. Informed by a past in production before moving on to design and a Master's degree from Polimoda in Firenze, Kühl is striving to convey his vision in ultimate materiality. The eponymous brand, Berner Kühl, showcased its first runway collection during Copenhagen Fashion Week SS22 and is eager to establish itself as a show regular. With a shared vision of micro typography and modular grid layouts – mirroring Kühl’s penchant for modular pieces – Gyde developed a system for the digital customer experience alongside archiving past collections, material information and sustainability efforts. Thanks to the robust 24-column grid, the design system allows imagery to span a huge range of sizes, creating a sense of depth and focus throughout the site. Reinforcing the brand’s functional and flexible character, Forgotten Shapes’ Gerstner Programm FSL is a fitting choice as the primary typeface.
After a turbulent few years and changes in ownership, Italian eatery (with a Danish twist) Gorms returns with a future-proof look that balances the Nordic with the Italian. Scandinavian consumer brand agency Everland worked with the restaurant to create a new positioning and visual identity that would be rolled out across the locations, website, social media, and all other touchpoints. Inspired by the menu’s unique duality, Everland took Italian-inspired visual assets and have presented them through a Scandinavian lens. The typographic direction, for example, is influenced by classic Italian lettering but placed on large, bare surfaces. Alternate Gothic Compressed is used for headlines, building on Gorms' expressive and practical logo. Meanwhile, Garamond Narrow is introduced for body copy, delivering a more contemporary and friendly expression.
For luxury and exotic CBD cosmetic brand Ikuzai, Mubien draw from Scythian culture in their elegant identity and packaging system. When developing the brand strategy and concept, the Spanish design studio were inspired by the role the Scythians played in the spread of cannabis throughout the ancient world. Therefore, their approach fuses together the brand’s unique elements with raw colours, a daring typeface combination, and luxurious materials and print finishes. Earthy metallic olive green calls to the organic roots of the brand whilst gold touches and a distinctive horse logo recall the early nomadic equine culture that inspired the brand concept.
Harmonic Discovery is a startup like no other; they are actively working to create a new generation of therapeutics that can target multiple disease-causing proteins simultaneously to treat disorders such as cancer and autoimmunity diseases. Compared to pharmaceutical companies that play just a single note, Harmonic “is pioneering a way to play chords, progressions and harmonics.” Its identity, created by Denver’s Mast, balances sincerity and seriousness with an expansive approach. The team were greatly inspired by the harmonic series, and the various sine waves that are contained within. A unique logo is created from the merging of sine wave shapes, not only mirroring the many multitudes of Harmonic’s work but also resembling an ‘H.’ A harmonious colour palette brings warmth and humanity to the visual language. These hues also feature as malleable gradients, echoing the blurred lines “between their work to help treat diseases.”