Q&A with Gabrielle Guy

We talk to Graphic Designer Gabrielle Guy about the corporate identity of SMITH

1. Why the name SMITH?

SMITH is a personality-less name, like Jones. A non-name. A default. Something that anything can attach itself to. Something that has no connotations, presumptions or baggage. It can apply to anything, any artist, any concept and any exhibition.

2. What was the inspiration behind the choice of font for SMITH Studio?

I wanted a sans serif font that had very pure letter shapes, nothing too distracting, nor a font with too much of its own identity. It should be able to fit with any style of work, any style of exhibition, any style of art or thought. The font we finally settled on is very paired down and basic, with just a touch of interest on certain letters. For example the ‘M’ in SMITH has a subtle but beautiful detail – the top of the peaks are chopped off square. I like that. Not so noticeable, but there and impactful.

3. How did you decide on the logo?

The logo is just the word SMITH. I’m averse to creating graphic symbols as logo’s for art galleries.

4. What are the 5 blocks? And how did these come about?

We needed some kind of graphic device to use throughout the corporate identity, to give it a little bit of an identity. I played around with various things but felt they weren’t working - it was only after a meeting with the architects one day that we hit on the idea of using the actual proportions of the building (56 Church Street) as a sort of sacred geometry for the identity. The building is an unusually long and narrow shape, (in the proportion of 1 x 8) which the architects found challenging to work with. I thought a block of 1 x 8 could work well as a graphic device and it harmoniously turned out to be the proportion of the ‘I’ in SMITH already. I chose to use 5 blocks as there are 5 letters in the word SMITH. These elements allow for a bit of play and unexpectedness. I wanted the identity to be quite flexible as I knew I wouldn’t always be working with it myself. Amy and Candace need to have the ability to make it their own so they can work with other designers in the future if need be

GabrielIe is a graphic designer whose main focus is art book design, art catalogues, and working with artists and galleries. She is a freelancer and works from her studio on Kloof street in Cape Town.
Contact her on gabrielle@gabrielleguy.com or visit her website www.gabrielleguy.com