Graphic design studio, Ascender, have been exploring another side of their creativity, and giving pedestrians some food for thought in the process.
May 21st, 2009
If you’re in Surry Hills in Sydney, wandering along Devonshire Street, you may have noticed a window-sized gallery. Tucked among the old-school pubs and eateries, it is one of the most interesting examples you can find in the grungy, artistic suburb.
The window, and the studio behind it, belongs to graphic design consultancy, Ascender. Moving to the studio three years ago, Managing Director, Mark Low says, “Having previously worked in a design studio, sitting behind closed doors with no opportunity to be accessible… we had this idea of having the studio as a shopfront”.
Unlike most shopfronts though, they were not trying to sell their brand and company. Rather they saw it more as “an avenue to make a comment”, creating and updating displays regularly with no motive other than to create interest and enjoyment for the passers-by.
The Ascender team – a tight-knit group of four people (plus studio mascot, Digby the dog) – take it in turn to explore a theme.
For example, Low explains, one of the themes was “about education, so we had the colour theory and then they [the circles representing the colour wheel] became heads… and then I [did] one about typefaces – the faces behind the typefaces.”
It can be humorous too. “I did this thing about a footballer from the Manly club who was up for sexual harassment charges recently,” Low remembers. “I just thought, you know, what a d*ckhead, and then I thought ‘how manly’. So I just wrote that on a picture of him and put it in the window.”
Internally, it’s an opportunity for them to utilise their creativity in a different way, as Mark explains, “Our professional work is a lot longer process. This is very quick, it might be just a single idea executed really well.”
Specialising in corporate branding with an impressive list of clients, including Dymocks, State of the Arts magazine, Sydney Esquisse, McGrath and Optus, Ascender use this forum to “explore, comment, educate, whatever”.
Externally, the displays are a landmark on a daily journey to and from the station for hundreds of people.
And there are plenty of ideas in the pipeline to develop the concept – a series of posters, t-shirts, more exhibitions in the studio. Keep posted for future events – the phrase ‘Watch this space’ has never been more appropriate.
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