Opinion by Richard Baird
Aurlands is the oldest running workshop for handcrafted shoes in Norway. It was founded in 1907 by shoemaker Nils G. Tveranger who, following time in America training as a shoemaker, went on to create the world’s first Penny Loafer in 1926. This, subsequently, became an enduring unisex fashion icon across Europe and America.
Aurlands continues to build on this legacy, crafting high-quality and sustainable shoes, and maintaining classics, alongside The Penny Loafer, such as the Norwegian welt and Norwegian split toe, names that refer to the way leather meets in their construction. Although distinct, each shoe shares the same attention to detail, the craft of their build and care given to both functionality and longevity.
The Aurlands brand is an enduring story of a Norwegian influence on the international shoemaking community. This story continues in their rebranding, created by Scandinavian design studio Heydays. This sees the introduction of a new wordmark and container, a bespoke typeface–Aurlands Display designed by Ellmer Stefan, lifestyle photography from Lasse Fløde, package design and soon to launch website.
This is the first in a series of original articles that build on eight years of writing reviews. Where other publishers do well to bring us the zeitgeist and explore the pragmatics of graphic design BP&O will seek the abstract and meta. This first article experiments with two interwoven narratives; the delineation between the practice of collation and curation in design publishing and how the new metrics of the net impose themselves on today’s design work.
The language of graphic design can quickly become a demarcated space of constrained thought. Is it brand identity, visual identity or graphic identity? Each of these contains shifting nuances that positively shape or subvert understanding and can impose themselves on an outcome.
The word curation, for instance, is reconfigured and gains new meaning as it moves from art to design to popularist term. We are now encouraged to curate our lives, social groups and experiences, the brands and objects we buy into and our Pinterest and Facebook feeds. It could be argued the latter have cone to now curate us. The association, within the context of a pragmatic and goal-orientated notion of graphic design practice; an expression of purpose, becomes one of pretence, often denigrated and quickly dismissed.