N-E X ADG Laus Awards 2021: typography and QR codes in a ground-breaking publication inspired by On Kawara
N-E aka the Madrid-based media agency studio that is constantly evolving but never betray its focus "on contemporary visual culture through a strong base on concepts that generates their own language" developed a unique publication for ADG Laus Awards aka the flagship of one of the most active professional associations, ADG-FAD.
"We developed the MagaBook ADG Laus Awards 2021 as a reflection of our time and, therefore, we have rethought the format from its foundation" notes the studio on the project that accentuates the duality between digital and physical elements.
Upon holding the MagaBook "the reader faces a graphic abyss." In other worlds the owner of the publication "must adapt and understand the new codes and rules" of it.
Greatly inspired, both graphic and conceptually, by the work of acclaimed Japanese conceptual artist On Kawara (1932-2014) who challenged throughout his life and portfolio of works "the very idea of time and how it passes; showing how it can go beyond and reduce historical experience" N-E divided the MagaBook project into two publications, the book and the magazine.
"The link between physical and digital worlds is especially reflected in the the ADG Laus Awards Book 2021. This publication has been renewed over the years thanks to the work of different studios, incorporating groundbreaking elements that we have inherited in order to create a new concept where the barrier between the physical and digital disappears. In this way, a 360º experience is created."
The winning projects are featured in the book with a twist. Instead of accompanying each award with its image the studio provides a unique QR code, elevating this element to the "nexus between the physical part and the digital."
Being faithful to the visual oriented times we live in, N-E created an Instagram account where the images of all the winners appear. "In this way, the reader can interact with the publication: comment on it, share it or save it as a reference" comments the studio on the account with a feed inspired by the work "Date paintings" by Kawara, a long series of paintings the artist premiered on January 4, 1966 and finished 50 years later.
Eschewing stencils in favour of hand-drawn characters, Kawara skilfully renders the script, initially a sans-serif, elongated version of Gill Sans, later a quintessentially modernist Futura with each work of these ground-breaking examples of word art carefully executed by hand. Kawara eventually created nearly 3,000 date paintings in more than 112 cities worldwide in a project that was planned to end only with his death. For almost 50 years, the artist documented numerous dates on a monochromatic canvas painted in shades of red, blue or grey.
"In a project where time is the umbrella concept, the two publications of the MagaBook ADG Laus 2021 are treated as a long timeline, a kind of parchment or ticket" adds N-E that deconstructed the classic publication structure by any means.
The covers are eliminated; the content is cut at the bottom of the page and continues on the next one seamlessly, the pages reflect a routine in which every day is the same and, yet, different.
Meanwhile the ADG Laus Awards 2021 Magazine features interviews and articles that are meant to be read. "We believe that the human being continues to feel more comfortable consuming this type of content in physical format" reads the studios statement.
"Although in both parts of the MagaBok, monospaced fonts are used, we chose the Century Schoolbook Monospaced for the magazine" adds N-E. "It is a serif typeface that gives the publication a more editorial character. In contrast, for the book we picked Apercu Pro Mono. In addition to being one of the studio's corporate typefaces, thus leaving a small 'easter egg' in the project, it is a sans serif font that is used to collect data."
This 360º MagaBook ADG Laus Awards experience is accompanied with a t-shirt with all the winners' names printed on the back as the "lineup" of Spain's Laus 2021 awards fest. "As it happens in concerts or festivals, it is an object that reminds us that 'we were there'" notes N-E.
The ADG Laus Awards are the flagship of one of the most active professional associations, ADG-FAD. Created in 1961 by 11 graphic artists, it was the response to the growing need in Spain to begin to define a profession on the rise thanks to modern advertising and typography, European avant-garde inheritance, and with a future that would be revolutionary.
The ADG Laus Awards were created in 1964, the first Spanish contest for graphical creativity of all kinds used in the visual advertising communication. The Laus marked a professional and political awareness clearly committed to the new trends of graphic design and visual communication, far beyond the simple aesthetic spring. Almost 60 years later, the ADG Laus Awards are a celebration of the visual communication that has become an essential reference to learn about the most relevant creative achievements of the year.
Explore more N-E brilliance here.
Discover the winning league of ADG Laus Awards 2021 here.