By: Peter Terzian | April 9, 2010
[Ed note: Print will be featuring one New Visual Artist per day while the issue is on newsstands. Keep checking back every weekday for new profiles on printmag.com. You can view the entire list of winners here.]
Spread from the companion book to Susan Collins’s “Seascape,” 2009.
Title: Collaborative Design Practice
Lives in: London
Age: 28 (McGrath), 29 (Knight)
Oliver Knight and Rory McGrath met while studying at the University of the West of England, where they were given a “very liberated” education that focused on “personal exploration,” according to McGrath. Their apprenticeships at large design studios supplied the hands-on experience that led them to found OK-RM in late 2008. Working out of their studio in London’s Hackney neighborhood, they’ve created striking and spare designs with a jaunty approach to type and a dramatic use of negative space.
Knight and McGrath share a passion for music and the visual arts, and much of their recent output has been for cultural institutions and artists’ projects. Last year, the pair created a bold typographic identity for “Free to Air,” an ongoing series of gallery shows and film screenings held across London that parse the many meanings of the word “freedom.” For the South London Gallery, they fashioned promotional material and signage that riffed on an exhibition of installations in the surrounding streets. For Susan Collins’s “Seascape,” they designed a book and website that encompassed the artist’s goal of documenting the mutability of light and water. Recently, they produced a monograph for Lahore painter Imran Qureshi.
Working with arts organizations on “projects we believe in,” McGrath says, is compatible with the integrity and clarity the duo values. The economic constraints of their clients often guide them toward design solutions. “A practical understanding of production allows us to embrace restrictions and use them creatively,” says McGrath. Those restrictions often dovetail with their less-is-more aesthetic. “There are times when we are happy to leave the result in a minimal state to highlight a complex point in a very direct manner.”
Poster for “How Very Tokyo,” 2008.
[View the entire list of winners here.]