When branding studio Somewhere Else was commissioned to transform Singapore’s oldest architecture journal into “the architect’s magazine,” there was one major rule: photographs were barred from the journal’s cover and kept small inside.
This principle was set out by The Singapore Architect’s new editor Hoo Cheong Fong, who believes that only fools think about architecture through photographs.
Under different editors and designers over the last five decades, this publication put out by the Singapore Institute of Architects had become too “commercial” instead of “craft-based” for the newly-appointed Fong, an architect by training, and his editorial team. “The way they presented architecture unfortunately was not through the eyes of how an architect presents architecture,” he explains.
Ask any letterpress lover why they favor the old-school printing method, and they’ll likely tell you it’s less about the look and more about the feel. But that tactile impression was actually considered terrible printing in the past. Traditionally, letterpress aimed to print without showing any relief—a principle that has been conveniently forgotten amidst the contemporary revival of this centuries-old craft.
This is just one of the misconceptions traditional letterpress studio TypesettingSG was set up to address. In 2014, after learning how many newly established letterpresses in Singapore were unaware of the history and were giving a new generation of printers an incomplete introduction, designer Yao Yu Sun quit his design job and started his own studio in order to provide a more thorough education.
What do you hear when a song plays, the instruments or the lyrics? Just as sound and word come together to give music, graphic design can be broken down into a composition of image and word.
The works of Theseus Chan, however, challenge this neat separation of elements. In his print designs, words behave like images, and images are to be read like words. Letters amass to give texture or stand out to aunt their forms. Pictures sit side by side in conversation or are cropped to o er questions. We are confronted with a visual language that defies a straightforward line of communication.
➜ Read the rest in The Design Society’s Paper N°0: Theseus Chan WORK