The CAF’s founders recruited me to promote their nascent idea, and I stuck about for the organisation’s first two years.
My job was to:
create a visual identity
build a web platform for marketing an annual conference and publishing academic articles
produce print brochures and posters
not to look or sound like other similar conferences
not to borrow thoughtlessly from the cultures of Central Asia
to engage with students, not sponsors
We developed a voice that took the work seriously, but was mischievous with conference minutiae, with students and, of course, on posters.
Our look was built on photography from the region, with a simple negative space logo and typography inspired by newspapers, which had an outsized role in twentieth century cross-cultural contact.
The site is a tidy, uncomplicated Wordpress arrangement with a carefully-optimised, lazily-loaded-image-heavy landing page.
A predominantly black and white colour scheme, is periodically perked up with posters, cover pages and landing pages set in white text on yellow #ffde00 or blue #002554.
Typeface selection had to contend with print requirements and a lack of budget. I settled on a newsprint-inspired combination of ITC’s Franklin Gothic and Souvenir Light which worked great in print, but were subbed for the excellent Libre Franklin with Della Respira for screens. The dual benefits were a) better screen performance, and b) no webfont licensing costs.
Our ad campaigns entered a crowded space and caused a small stir. In 2018 our well-received physical poster campaign poked fun at career-culture with lines like ‘Probably not relevant to your CV’, set in white block text on a rich yellow background.
In 2019, we ran an all-digital campaign, in which figures cut from Prokudin-Gorsky photographs were PS-ed into cinematic shots of the duller parts of the uni campus.