23 March 2016

Papermaking at James Cropper Mill

We travelled to the Lake District last week for a visit to the James Cropper paper mill with GF Smith, whose Colorplan paper range is one of the many papers produced at the mill. The Burneside Mill has been home to James Cropper PLC since 1845; some of the machinery within is over one hundred years old and still in operation.

We witnessed the paper making process from start to finish, beginning in the laboratory, where new shades are analysed by spectrometer and reproduced as single-sheet paper samples. The technicians explained the colour development process and the impact of metamerism, whereby colours look identical under one kind of light but drastically different in another; an effect we’d experienced many times when matching papers, Pantones or checking proofs in poor light!

Later, we were led to the heart of the action inside the mill itself, and watched as the bales of pulp were mashed and dyed in enormous vats, before being strained, dried, pressed and wound onto spools. It was fascinating to see the raw materials being transformed and to witness the heat, humidity, noise and activity of the colossal machinery at work. Thankyou to GF Smith and James Cropper for such an interesting day out— we will never look at paper quite the same way again.


28 January 2016

Master Rock

There will be a book launch next month for Master Rock, the publication created to accompany an Artangel commission by the artist Maria Fusco. The artwork took the form of a series of performances held inside the Cruachan Power Station in Argyll and Bute, Scotland—a hydroelectric facility housed in a giant artificial cavern, carved into the granite of Ben Cruachan. We designed the book, working with Fusco, Artangel and co-publishers Book Works.

Fusco’s spoken-word performances explore the story of the creation of the power station, which was completed and commissioned in 1965. The tale encompasses Celtic folklore linked to the mountain itself, and the work of the ‘Tunnel Tigers’, the labourers who dug the cavern from the granite. The book launch will be held at the Anatomy Lecture Theatre at King’s College London on 5 February—we hope to see you there.


Book Launch — 27 January 2016

The Happy Hypocrite – Fresh Hell

The eighth issue of The Happy Hypocrite is being celebrated tonight at a special launch event hosted by the journal’s publishers, Book Works.

Titled Fresh Hell, this issue is guest edited by the artist and writer Sophia Al Maria, and explores the subject of oil and the question of sustainability in the context of the internet and contemporary digital culture. We have designed every issue of The Happy Hypocrite, and it was fascinating to work with the diverse editorial contributions Sophia had gathered for Fresh Hell, and to explore her own archive.

The book launch is at Lewisham Arthouse and features a live streaming of a film from a-d-g-z.com that runs continuously twenty-four hours, followed by an introduction to the issue by Sophia Al-Maria and Happy Hypocrite founder Maria Fusco. There will also be a talk with Minka Minio-Paluello of Platform London about art, oil and power.


20 December 2015

Camper – Spring/Summer ’16

The new campaign for Camper’s Spring/Summer ’16 range has just launched, featuring a bespoke typeface we designed for them.

We’ve been working with Camper for several seasons on the graphic design of their campaigns, creating a new typeface for them each time which we used in print adverts, bus and tram graphics and billboards, printed lookbooks and invites. This season’s typeface includes a range of alternate glyphs, which add rhythm to the campaign messages. Read more about the project here.


11 September 2015

Refugee Crisis – A Call to Action

An open letter has been printed in today’s edition of the Guardian newspaper, calling on the UK Government to take urgent action and step up to offer meaningful support and refuge to those involved in the ongoing refugee crisis in Europe. We designed the letter, and support its message.

Anish Kapoor, one of the organisers of the open letter, told the Guardian: “I was motivated by a sense of outrage against our doctrinaire government, which had been so grossly unjust.”

“We have taken the view that it is better to have an influence on policy than send direct aid – we hope to apply pressure to change the government’s position. Although sadly I doubt we will, we believe public opinion is with us. We’re trying to voice empathy on behalf of this country, and critique a government that’s not representing its people. Hopefully we’ll make a dent.”

The letter is accompanied by an article, which is also available online here.


4 September 2015

Douglas Coupland – Bit Rot

Douglas Coupland’s first solo show in Europe opens next week at Witte de With in Rotterdam. 

Accompanying the exhibition we designed the publication, Bit Rot – a collection of Coupland’s short stories and essays.

We designed a custom typographic cover for the book, referencing the title itself, which is a term used to describe the degeneration of digital software over time. The typography and layout reflect the default appearance of early computer bit fonts and displays; this theme of computing and data errors is continued throughout the book, as a continuous stream of text that is interrupted by paper stock changes and typeface glitches. We also worked with Coupland’s own imagery to create the invitations for the exhibition.

Bit Rot is open from 11 September 2015 until 3 January 2016.



5 August 2015

Waddesdon Manor

On Friday we attended the opening of a new pavilion at Waddesdon Manor designed by the architects Carmody Groarke. We worked on the corridor signage for the pavilion (mostly beautiful toilet signs!). The signage is made from solid patinated brass and the forms take reference from the flourishes of the eighteenth century interiors of the manor.

Waddesdon Manor was built over a century ago by Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild. It was created as a place to entertain guests at Ferdinand’s famous ‘Saturday to Monday’ house parties. Now open to the public in partnership with the National Trust, the house and gardens exhibit the Rothschild’s extensive art collection.



12 June 2015

Manchester School of Art

Degree Show season is upon us, and we are particularly excited to see the exhibitions at Manchester School of Art, which open this evening.

We’ve been working with the School of Art since last year on its prospectuses, and have now recently completed the identity for the Degree Show too – taking inspiration from the history of the school and in particular the work of Walter Crane, an artist and scholar who was a key figure in the Arts and Crafts movement, and was Director of Design of the school from 1893–98. We took his writings about education as a starting point for an illustrative typographic design to form the key graphic for the campaign; the design on the left is from the invitations, which were letterpressed onto a thick bright white GF Smith Wild board.

The APFEL team are heading up to Manchester this evening to attend the opening, and can’t wait to see all the work and celebrate with the students and staff!


15 May 2015

Design Museum Instagram Takeover

To mark the opening of the new Life on Foot: Camper at the Design Museum exhibition that we worked on, APFEL has been invited to takeover the Design Museum’s Instagram feed today, where we will be sharing a week in the life of APFEL.

It’s been an exciting one for us, with projects for Manchester School of Art and Tate Publishing coming back from the printers, a whirlwind trip to the opening of the Venice Biennale and, of course, the installation of the Life on Foot exhibition at the Design Museum itself.

To the right are some of our submissions: first, an installation shot from Sarkis’ Respiro exhibition at the Turkish Pavilion of the Venice Biennale, for which we designed the graphic identity, marketing campaign and accompanying catalogue. Second, a beautiful piece of ‘sacred geometry’ that we found in the exhibition PROPORTIO at the Palazzo Fortuny.

To see all our submissions, take a look at the Design Museum on Instagram.


17 March 2015


Henri Gaudier-Brzeska:
Art Dance and Movement 1911-15

Henri Gaudier-Brzeska was a French artist and a pioneer of modern sculpture. Between 1910 and 1915, he produced a diverse and extensive body of work before being killed in action in France in June 1915, aged 23 – years later H. S. (Jim) Ede, the founder of Kettle’s Yard, acquired much of his work for Kettle’s Yard’s collection. The work of Gaudier-Brzeska and his contemporaries is the focus of Kettle’s Yard’s new exhibition, opening today.

This is the second set of exhibition materials we have designed for Kettle’s Yard. We are enjoying working with the new identity we completed for them a few months ago, and experimenting with KY Super Grotesk, the adapted version of Super Grotesk that we created for them, to make it unique to the exhibition. For the New Rhythms typeface, we studied Gaudier-Brzeska’s way of mark making, inspired by the fact that he worked in hard material and carved into stone. The colour is a reference to his association with Blast and the Vorticists.

The exhibition is now open and runs until 21 June, when Kettle’s Yard closes for the construction of a major extension.

Kettle’s Yard – New Rhythms