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Zak Group on the design of Fact Magazine “marrying the futuristic origins of music technology with a new wave of visual art practices”

It’s an office that spreads itself across many facets of the creative industry. Recently, it launched a full scholarship for a Graphic Design Central Saint Martins student from an underrepresented background, covering maintenance and tuition fees in the hopes of diversifying the next generation of industry. Elsewhere, Zak Group is a t-shirt as well as an NTS radio show (featuring voiceovers by Hans Ulrich Obrist), playing music created by visual artists. Taking us through these various iterations, Zak then spoke about its design for Fact Magazine in the bulk of his talk. “Our approach was to think of the magazine as an exhibition in print,” he explained. Working collaboratively to deliver a singular vision which hints to the electronic music publication’s past as well as contemporary design today, Fact’s design lies at the intersection of art and music.
First off, we were greeted by Zak Kyes the founding designer of Zak Group. More than just a design studio, he kicked off his talk by explaining how and why Zak Group is so much more than just a graphic design studio. “We call ourselves an office because anything can happen in an office,” he said. Born and raised in California, Zak grew up surrounded by creative influences (including a celebrated Bauhaus artist he revealed) which later informed Zak Group as a practice. Explaining how the office in turn draws from Bauhaus principles, the founder gave us a taste of how Zak Group works with other people’s words and images to craft these elements into something new entirely.
Referencing E.A.T. publication as well as the typeface Eurostyle, and other 1960s design elements which married engineering and art, Zak discussed how Fact was built from many disparate fields united under one design system. Launched at the beginning of this year, the bi-annual music magazine returned after a decade-long hiatus with a bang thanks to the futuristic layouts by Zak Group. With an elastic visual language including a new logo which operates on many different levels, Zak delved into how the design “got rid of hard and fast style guides”, instead, embracing a design where there were no rules. For example, some spreads clash with energetic typographic collisions, while others tell a story through the layering of images. All in all, aiming “to marry the futuristic origins of music technology with a new wave of visual art practices.”

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