A creative collaboration
Last year Tessa and Nathalie from NU interieur|ontwerp contacted me about working together on a catalogue for Slovenian furniture company Rex Kralj. Photographer Wendy from beeldSTEIL joined the team as well, who’s unique photography style was a very good match for the brand. And today we can finally show you the results! You can download the catalogue from the Rex Kralj website (after leaving your email address).
So how do you make a catalogue?
We started with a strong concept that Nathalie & Tessa had come up with: a set of key words that defined what Rex Kralj stands for, as well as a visual translation of those words in the form of moodboards. These words were: simplicity, nature, heritage, craftsmanship, details and light. You can read more about it on their blog. The theme for the catalogue this year would be “Light & dark”, referencing both the past and the future of the brand. We wanted to make a catalogue that was more of a lookbook or even a picture book rather than just an overview of the collection. So we came up with a main character and a narrative that was all about incremental changes that take place during the day and during life. We brainstormed locations and settings that we could use to tell the story as well as show the furniture collection. Four days of photoshoots later, we had a collection of images that was ready to be turned into a book.
Inspired by Dutch book designer Irma Boom, I made a small dummy book (4 x 6 cm) to have a better idea of the flow of the book and how the pages related to each other.
The design of the book
One of my favourite things about the catalogue is that the pages slowly transition from white to black, referencing how the day passes in small, incremental changes in light that you might not even notice. I also got to select a new typeface for the brand and redesign their logo which was created in the 1950s (!) by the furniture designer Niko Kralj himself. These elements formed the basis of a simple, yet very conceptual book design. The images take center stage and the story is told alongside it. I wrote a first draft of the text and then Margot of Mae & Many came in and turned it into a beautiful story.
Behind the scenes at the first one out of four days of fotoshoots. This particular shoot took place in a daylight studio in Amsterdam.
Printing the catalogue
This is one of those projects where the print production can make a crucial difference in the final result. We chose an uncoated thick paper stock for the cover and a coated paper that also felt very matte for the interior of the book. The binding method is called ‘pamphlet stitching’, we used a black thread to sow the pages together, and added a level of craftsmanship and detail to the design. The pages in the different shades of grey were printed using tones of a single Pantone color, to make sure that the tone of the pages would be consistent. Zwaan Printmedia did a great job at producing over 5.000 copies of the catalogue and I love how they turned out.
Here you can see the first pages of the catalogue on the press, back in early January!
That wasn’t all…
In addition to the catalogue we also designed a product leaflet, price lists, business cards, a limited edition poster with illustrations of the furniture, postcards & more. I can’t wait to show those in an upcoming blogpost. For now, I’m off to Paris to celebrate the launch of the new catalogue with Rex Kralj at the Maison & Objet fair!