The Best of BP&O — Studios of 2017
Opinion by Richard Baird Posted 21 December 2017
This year, there has been a wealth of studios, both established and emerging, producing thoughtful and compelling work. New to BP&O in 2017 was former Snask Art Director, now freelance Art Director & Designer, Jens Nilsson, Hong Kong and Melbourne-based Fabio Ongarato Design and Scandinavian studio Frank.
This post, the last of four—also check out Packaging of 2017, Graphic Identities of 2017 and Graphic Design of 2017—is made up of studios that had three or more features on the site over the last year. Small single studios sat alongside those that are larger and have multiple offices in terms of conceptual, graphic and material interest, and a commitment to documenting and sharing projects.
Four studios stood out for the range and extent of their work, and their balance of concept, clear communicative intention and compelling aesthetic and material expressions, and have made it into BP&O’s Best of Series. These are some of BP&O’s favourites, listed in no particular order.
Bedow’s Highlights of 2017:
Bedow is a Scandinavian boutique design studio with an office in the Swedish city of Stockholm, a decade of experience and a roster of international clients. Their work is characterised by a progressive attitude that moves beyond what might be considered a Scandinavian style, and instead, works together moments of hand drawn details and design craft with a good eye for space and simplicity. This is the second year for Bedow in BP&O’s studios list with a particular highlight being their work Anna Bjerger, and the way they make a connection to the artist’s process of giving new life and meaning to found photographs through the material and structural associations of a storage box and the personal finger prints of the artist.
Design by Toko, Australia
Design by Toko’s Highlights of 2017:
Design by Toko is a graphic design studio and relative new comer to BP&O. They work with both small and large-scale business, those that are local or global, start-up or established. Their work finds a satisfying balance between a conceptual thoughtfulness and a striking graphic expression. A highlight this year was their graphic identity for furniture design and manufacturing business NAU. This was inspired by and makes a connection with Australia’s unique and diverse landscapes through compelling photography by Brooke Holm, and in the use of a broad but complimentary colour palette and recurring endless horizon motif.
Commission, United Kingdom
Commissions’s Highlights of 2017:
London-based studio Commission is run by David Mcfarlane and Christopher Moorby, and has a philosophy that revolves around the idea that good design stands at the crossroads of function and beauty, and engages, compels, and makes perfect sense. Their work featured on BP&O is a neat mix of conceptual intrigue, an interesting intersection of association, material craft and graphic simplicity. This can been seen in their work for roastery and cafe Old Spike, which took the form language of luxury shopping bags and applied this to coffee packaging. In conjunction with a graphic device of broken stone, bringing a distinctive relief through a sculpted emboss to bag and referencing the rostery’s site, Commission plays with history and modern luxury in an interesting and memorable way.
Bond, Helsinki, London & Abu Dhabi
Bond’s Highlights of 2017:
Bond is a Scandinavian design studio with offices in Helsinki and Abu Dhabi, and in 2016, opened a third office in central London. Bond’s work confidently moves between the reductive and iconic and the multitudinous and playful. This is Bond’s second year in BP&O’s studio list with four projects and a particular highlight being their graphic identity for Paulig Kulma, a coffee shop, roastery and barista institute in Helsinki. This stood out for the modular continuity that they established between an adaptable multi-functional space of moveable furniture, and a flexible system of graphic cubes and squares, and the way these interact in print and throughout the space.