Exchange — Alphabet x Fethers

Published:  November 12, 2012
Heath Killen
Exchange — Alphabet x Fethers

Following on from the first entry in our Exchange project (a remix between Vince Frost & Luke Brown) we’re back this week with an entry from Sydney based Alphabet Studio and Thomas Fethers.

Alphabet recently joined us for a chat about their decade long collaboration with Belvoir Theatre (part one here and part two here), and their recent work for Sydney Festival, now plastered across the city, was featured on our project wall. Fethers is a talented young designer who was one of the top ten finalists in the Australian Infront Native visual response.

This particular Exchange has a resulted in a strikingly minimalist approach from both parties. Fethers has stripped back a DPS layout by Alphabet to its essential ingredients, while infusing it with a unique sense of energy and tension. Alphabet too have stripped back an already fairly austere layout for a poster by Fethers, harnessing the opportunity to not only rework the design – but to reframe the message.

ANAM DPS from Music Makers street press (Alphabet Original)

ANAM DPS from Music Makers street press (Fethers Remix)

Here’s a rationale from Thomas about his approach to remixing Alphabet’s work.

Alphabet gave me a spread from a quarterly newspaper publication that was produced by the Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM), a company devoted to training classical musicians.

I thought the existing photography was really stunning, and so wanted to give it more of a focus, shifting the communication emphasis from being about the music to being more about the musician. Cropping the photography either side of the content also played upon the sense of the musician opening / revealing themselves whilst performing. I thought Alphabet’s reference to sheet music was great, so I drew on the two vertical bars that mark the beginning and end of a composition in sheet music and used them as a framing device for the content and paired this with an irregular kerned/tracked type treatment (intended as a reference to the flow of music).

Overall, I had an amazing time working on this – who couldn’t have a great time working with the talents from Alphabet!

Kate Grenville UTS Talk Poster (Thomas Fethers)

Kate Grenville UTS Talk Poster (Alphabet Remix)


Here’s Alphabet’s rationale for their remix of Thomas’s work.

It has been an interesting exercise. Working with Tom’s existing layout, it was great to be able to re-focus the nature of the communication, relying on the same basic graphic elements to do so. Tom’s “family tree” is really clever and positions the essence of the talk in a particular light. We took the symmetrical structure of a family tree – the meeting of 2 parts, and in turn shifted the communication from a generational to a race-based focus. Both areas were integral to Grenville’s talk – however with slight shifts in order, application and layout, the tone, reading and implication of the event can be dramatically redirected.

Previously: Frost x Brown

If you’d like to participate in the Exchange project, please get in touch.

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