Hands On: Critical Mass by Foreign Policy

Opinion by Richard Baird

Design and publishing by Singapore-based Foreign Policy for brand, art and cultural magazine Critical Mass

Critical Mass is a biannual magazine that explores a brand’s ripple effect across the globe, from patterns in consumer spending to environmental implications. It intends to showcase, in its curation, commissioning and design, how a brand’s living legacies extend beyond mere aesthetics and profit margins in the face of fast-moving and ever-changing global consumerism. Issue 1 explores the lines blurred between artistic expression and commercial endeavour in a series of texts around Japanese contemporary artist Yayoi Kusama approached from a variety of angles by different authors.

The magazine is designed and published by Singapore-based design studio and think tank Foreign Policy and takes the form of a slim staple bound booklet of 32 pages. Although light, it is an insightful document that is materially and graphically distinct. Texts move comfortably between the micro and the meta, complete easy reads and those that are more challenging, propositions for continued thought. There is pleasing breadth drawn from a singular focus.

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Gallery & Co. by Foreign Policy, Singapore

Opinion by Richard Baird.

Logo, print and packaging by Foreign Policy for Singapore-based Gallery & Co.

& Co. links museum shop, a food and drink retailer and cafe housed within the National Gallery Singapore. These share a brand identity designed by Singapore-based graphic design studio Foreign Policy, built around the basic foundations of modern art and design; primary colour, geometric form and repetition, and Grilli Type’s GT Pressura. This runs across and unites a variety of printed materials that includes, but is not limited to, vouchers, packaging, swing tags, uniforms and posters. Although launched in 2015, Foreign Policy recently documented and published the work, which coincided with the launch of their new website.

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Park Bench Deli by Foreign Policy, Singapore

Opinion by Richard Baird.

Brand identity, print and packaging by Foreign Policy for Singapore's Park Bench Deli

Park Bench Deli is located on Singapore’s Telok Ayer St and features a rich interior design, styled on the all-American deli, that mixes a variety of vintage textures and ornament. These include tiled floors and wood panelled walls alongside personal items of the shop owners. Visual identity shares a similarly busy and material quality, referencing park life, but introduces the multi-coloured. This connects menus, packaging, and lots of small takeaways such as stickers, embroidered patches and key rings. Although launched in 2015, Foreign Policy, the studio behind both brand identity and interior design, recently documented and published the project on their newly launched website.

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