MARC KAPPELER — Moiré — Interview
Co-founder (with Markus Reichenbach) of the Zürich-based graphic design studio Moiré.
Hello Marc Kappeler, how are you?
I’m fine, thanks. Yesterday our new typeface “GT Sectra” was released on Grilli Type. I did the first sketches almost four years ago, it’s great to see it published now.
Can you introduce yourself? Tell us more about you and the history of Moiré.
Together with Markus Reichenbach, we founded Moiré as a studio for graphic design in 2000. He left us in 2012 to work at the Bern University of the Arts. Today, Ruth Amstutz, Dominik Huber and I are the core of Moiré, we often collaborate with other designers like Ilg/Trüb or Claudia Blum.
Mostly we are working in the fields of book design, editorial design and visual identity. We have the privilege to work for both local and international clients.
What are your experiences and approaches to graphic design and typography?
I enjoy the process of creating ideas, concepts and its adequate form. My approach to graphic design is very visual, I see a page of plain text as an image or a pattern. No matter how conceptual a work might be, in the end the visual expression is what I like or, unfortunately, don’t like. Another vantage of the job is the variety of topics and processes. I can’t design well if the content of a project is neither interesting nor important to me.
What is the importance of typography in your work?
Since our whole culture and history is built on the linear logic of the alphanumeric code, text and typography are essential. I’m still fascinated by the possibility to describe the world with just 26 characters and 10 figures. To me it seems be almost magic that man can define the shape and visual representation of any content by designing a typeface.
Moiré have been working at the beginning of the “Reportagen” magazine. Can you tell us more about this collaboration?
Reportagen is a quite perfect project for us. We first met the editors when they had nothing more than the idea to publish a magazine for long form journalism. Though we started to develop the whole project together with the journalists. From the editorial concept to the business plan and the visual identity. The first result was a dummy issue for the investors. Now, the magazine is on the market for almost three years. At the moment the magazine is working quite well and we hope that we can bring the project even further.
GT Pressura was released this year on the typo foundry Grilli Type. What was the idea behind this Moiré’s typeface?
We did the first version of Pressura for a book called “The Total Enlightenment: Conceptual Art in Moscow 1960–1980, it was edited by Boris Groys. Besides to some practical needs I wanted to work with a typeface that refers to the Russian Constructivism from the beginning of 20th century. As well as to the soviet bureaucracy around 1970 to which the art in the book is strongly related.
Shortly after the book was published, Regina Gallery in Moscow asked us whether we would like to add the Cyrillic characters and design their new corporate identity with the font. Though, it was not primary a visual idea behind the font. It’s rather shaped out of the context the font was made for.
As you said, GT Sectra was just released too.
GT Sectra Regular, Bold and its Italics were initially made as corporate typeface for the magazine “Reportagen”. For a text focused magazine like Reportagen the font is the essential tool. It needs to achieve comfortable reading, but at the same time it’s the most important part of the magazine’s visual identity. Especially for the cover and the communication design an exquisite design is of high importance.
Thus the basic for the font is a contemporary antique with solid, quite uniform stroke weights and a large x-height. The shapes are inspired by the calligraphy of the broad nip pen which we transferred to a straighter, digital aesthetic. I would not miss to thank Dominik Huber and Noël Leu for their amazing collaboration and hard work on the typeface.
For the distribution of GT Sectra on Grilli Type the font is extended with two subfamilies: GT Sectra Fine and GT Sectra Display. GT Sectra Fine offers a higher contrast between thick and thin strokes, similar to classic serif typefaces. In combination with Sectra, Sectra Fine can also be used as its display version. The actual GT Sectra Display is a pure headline font that plays with very high contrast and simplified letters.
We think the GT Sectra family offers a wide range of possibilities to cover the needs of magazine and newspaper design for both print and digital.
Is there any designer or movement you appreciate a lot?
Again, the early Russian Constructivists. I think they were able to combine new ideas with very innovative aesthetic. At the time it was kind of a revolution. In our days there are a lot of great graphic designers creating perfect products. But somehow it looks all a bit the same. I’m looking forward to see new ways of visual thinking in the near future.
Which books are on your bedside table?
The last word…
Have a good time.
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