NEO NEO — Interview
Neo Neo, Geneva-based graphic design studio founded by Thuy-An Hoang and Xavier Erni.
Hello Thuy-An and Xavier, how are you?
It’s going very well, thank you! The year has well started for us…
Can you introduce yourselves?
Neo Neo is a Geneva-based graphic design and art direction studio founded in 2010. We are both graduated from HEAD Geneva in visual communication. We try to provide contemporary visual solutions adapted to the target audience of our clients. Alongside our graphic practice we also get involved in mediation for design. We publish the journal “Poster Tribune” since 2011, an annual journal devoted to poster and we also organize exhibitions on graphic design.
Where does your interest in graphic design come from?
Like many designers we were already attracted quite young with the creative professions. During our studies we have learned to use tools allowing us to realize our ideas. At that moment we begin to be interested in all forms of visual creativity that surround us: posters, logos, books, art, architecture, etc. Internet, books and magazines on graphic design enabled us to grow our influences and quickly gave birth to a passion for graphic design and typography. This passion has developed further more when we started working. Swiss quality design that surrounds us has also greatly influenced us and gave us the desire to participate in.
How did you come to start up the studio?
We met at HEAD, Geneva. After our studies we both went to Paris in 2009 where we have accumulated internships and freelance jobs. So we started to work together on some projects there. Back to Geneva in 2010 we decided to open our studio. We quickly installed within the collective space « La Fonderie » in Carouge where we are still today.
Can you tell us more about Poster Tribune?
Poster Tribune is a journal dedicated to posters and graphic design and is composed of 12 pages of articles and 3 posters of 65×95 cm. We launched the first issue in 2011 thanks to a grant from the Fonds Cantonal d’Art Contemporain in Geneva. Until today, 4 issues are out. Each issue is devoted to a specific topic: Music, graphic diversion, etc. In 2012 we obtained a federal grant of the Swiss design with this project. We also collaborate with the Lucerne posters Festival Weltformat since 2013. We publish the catalogue of the festival, which covers the various exhibitions.
You made some type design projects like the Chaxe or Geoxer typeface. What are your interests of making your own type?
Since 2009 we have developed about 5 typefaces self-taught. Some are fairly complete with several weights like Goexer and others are rather titration typefaces. It is a passion that can take a long time. It is always nice to be able to use a typeface we designed ourselves simply because we chose each of the forms to our personal preference. The rather exclusive aspect also has its advantage. We appreciate the simplicity in graphic design; the fact of using a custom or exclusive typeface is sometimes enough to give personality to a visual identity.
Can you tell us more about the identity you made for the « Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève »?
The centre wanted above all a strong signage. So we thought primarily to the signage, navigation and information structure in the building, and then about the identity in parallel. We tried to get a connection between the logotype and the way to navigate in the museum. Thus the logotype lines represent the different exhibitions floors. We reuse these three lines to structure the programming information in the different floors of the building.
Is there any designer you appreciate a lot?
There is a very long list of designers whose we particularly appreciate the work. Among the latter here are some names across all generations: Karl Gerstner, Hans Rudolph LUTZ, Richard Hollis, Ken Garland, Gavillet + Rust, Zak Kyes, Laurenz Brunner, Mathias Schweizer.
Which books are on your bedside table?
A rather gossip reading: Max Bill / Jan Tschichold: La querelle typographique des modernes, by Hans Rudolph Bossard, published by B42.
We just finished organizing a poster exhibition at the Halle Nord Gallery in Geneva: Art Theatre Guild — Japan, 40 films posters, 1962-1982. We are currently in New York for a while for an artistic residency offered by the Canton of Geneva. Later in the year, we will open an exhibition space dedicated to graphic design and printed media in Geneva. We should also release soon the next issue of Poster Tribune. Lots of interesting projects to come, we are very lucky!
The last word…
Thank you for this invitation!
Interview : Dennis Moya & Tiffany Bähler — 02.15
Images ©Neo Neo.