Opinion by Richard Baird.
Spanish jewellery designer Chus Burés is recognised for the avant garde quality of his work and his collaborations with artists and designers. These have included American-French artist Louise Bourgeois, American-Cuban painter Carmen Herrera and French fashion designer Agnès B.
Through collaboration with those in the fields of contemporary art, fashion, cinema and music, Chus Burés developed CHUS X CHUS, a new range that intends to appeal to a younger audience. This range is characterised by a back to the fundamentals philosophy; everyday pieces created in partnership with emerging artists. This is expressed by the brand’s launch campaign which features the singer-songwriter Sophie Auster, who was photographed by Andres Serrano, and through a graphic identity of custom typeface, website and art direction developed by Pentagram partner Natasha Jen and team.
The range has a distinct and graphic quality to it in shape and in the relationship between recurring forms. Drawing on these qualities Pentagram developed a custom typographic solution, one built around a strong modular sensibility with a link-like foundation, a reference to the beaded structure of metalwork. This not only serves to establish an identifiable messaging system, but also makes a literal connection with those that Chus Burés collaborates with through letterform and words.
The budget was clearly assigned to custom typeface over, say, unusual structural design, be that in shape, mechanism or surface. This preference creates a useful and distinct continuity between digital and material assets, something that is sensitive to and acknowledges the younger market the range intends to attract.
Design-wise, as a headline typeface, it is distinctive, has the qualities of linked jewellery, perhaps something of the structural and a little of the digital in there as well. It really begins to work when it is given colour and is punctuated by the organic black and white qualities of Monica Stevenson’s photography.
Website, as documented here, plays with an interesting intersection of the graphic, the photographic and typographic, something that suggests an element of the avant garde. It has an impact and immediacy, one that carries with it a modernity and difference in visual communication and presentation of jewellery. Unusual cropping and art direction of black and white photography lend the work a slightly mysterious quality, as intended, while literal and implied motion gives it a youthful energy. The reality of the website is quite different. Custom typeface appears infrequently and much of the imagery, aside from the scroll, is static.
The material qualities of stationery and packaging are perhaps a little underserved. A simple foil emboss across white paper, a die cut across business cards, a bright fluorescent shot of colour on interior walls and black surfaces offer a degree of impact, but only on the surface, a final flourish rather than something rooted in a idea like the typeface. Colour and type together work well to create a link between the digital and material, acknowledge the intended audience, and price point. More work by Pentagram on BP&O.