Weapon of Choice Assualt SPD 43 Annual

Weapon of Choice Assualt SPD 43 Annual As the annuals are arriving on your desks like hotcakes, we thought it would be nice to hear from this year's design team, Weapon of Choice, a design firm created last year by Todd Albertson and Tom Brown. As Albertson describes:
Weapon of Choice is a design studio that is the culmination of two friends who have been collaborating for many years on various design projects with similar tastes and wanted to commit more time to that work and above all, have fun. The impetus for this came at a point where projects were becoming more laborsome and less creative so an outlet was needed. That outlet was making typefaces which was a process we were both doing and introducing into our work. Type as in big black geometrical shapes and abstract letterforms--one offs for specific projects. Not that there is a lack of great typefaces out there, but crafting ideas is what we both do and applying this process to type was a perfect match. Soon WoC opened up to include magazine redesign and consluting, again, things we both were already doing, but now on a platform that we can do together and push each other.

More after the jump about the Weapon of Choice design approach to the annual, as well as cover outtakes. Photographs by Fredrik Broden

Talk about your "data" approach to the design?
TODD: The direction we were given was to pick up on the political/election theme that the SPD 43 competition was already built upon. Determining to go with the "data" appraoch really was the easeist part of the project. It entailed a 5-minute phone call between the two of us. The most intersting visual aspect of the election process is seeing the deconstructed data (results) and how it conveys to diagrams--it's all math. I went to Tom's studio in Vancouver and we had a marathon week of days and nights exploring interior navigation and cover concepts (though, we did manage to get a healty dose of Playstation time). We sat on those ideas for a week, all of which we were somewhat satisfied with and felt they subscribed to this "data" approach, but they needed either pushing or stripping. We had another couple rounds of refining and exploring new ideas and focusing on data visuals that deal with "lots of little"--which is sort of the feeling we had when we first got the enormous package from SPD that had miniature printouts and info for all the winning entries.

Below are spreads from the annual:






This is the first SPD annual to NOT have a slipcover, and to play with debossing. Discuss the final design.
TOM: We decided early on in our explorations to make the book's design about the process of judging and not about random magazine vernacular or other themes. The idea of showing how we all emotionally react ot certain deisgn, and by some strange set of laws and mental tick-lists, arrive at the choices we make as a collective. So we spent a lot of time messing about with the use of dynamic graphs and diagrams illustrating how our minds might vibrate when confrotned with the mass of submissions to last year's awards show. With the use of simlpe black lines at various contorus, spacing, and weithgts, we created a "visual vibration"--if you stare at it, it appears to move. Stripping the cover of a jacket was key to this working since we watned to engage more senses that just the eyes and we felt that a traditional dust jacket would seem too clumsy. Reducing the "parts" to just the book block with ink and some debossing seemed to be proper and direct.

Below are cover design out-takes:

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Tell us about your custom font you use in the annual.
TODD: Initially, Weapon of Choice was solely an outlet for experimental typefaces and treatments before expanding to include redesigns, books and such. We both have been playing a lot with shapes and letterforms over the years and have slowly been putting together character sets. One of the few typefaces we first digitized was one called Colosseum, which is what we used in this SPD annual.
TOM: I love Colosseum and we really wanted to use something that had a heavy black feel to it while contrasting the lighter "call for entries" font that was provided to us so it felt like a good pairing for our purposes. It's solely based on 45 and 90-degree angles and feels "mathematical"--a nice fit for the data concept we were pursuing and at the minimal size we set it.

Weapon of Choice will be returning next year to design SPD Pub 44, so stay tuned!
  • Grant Glas


    I just received the new issue of Blender with Kelly Clarkson on the cover. Just wanted to say the layout for her feature is bad ass. Love the "Kelly" typography graphic. Keep up the good work.

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