When fashion designer Johan Lindeberg launched BLK DNM in 2011, he made the novel decision to forgo the then traditional route of promoting a fashion label via advertising in fashion magazines. Instead he wanted to engage with audiences in two places, in the virtual sphere on the recently launched platform, Instagram, and in the physical sphere through ambitious “wildposting” campaigns in New York. The imagery for the campaign was all shot by Johan, and showed mostly women (artists, musicians, leaders, models) who he knew via his network in the fashion and art world.
Our design approach was aiming for bold and memorable. Even though our work on these campaigns spanned five years or so, the format was deliberately repetitive. A checkerboard of posters that found the ever-changing imagery sandwiched between a never-changing black poster that said BLK DNM boldly in URW Franklin Gothic. This repetitive nature made the brand very recognizable to many New Yorkers who otherwise would have had no knowledge or interest in the brand, but still were aware of its presence. Franklin Gothic was chosen for the brand identity because it is unique in being one of the few established sans serifs that has a higher contrast—which we knew would give it a visual distinction among the glut of low contrast sans of that period. It’s also a New York typeface through and through. A typographic voice for MoMA, The New York Times, and so many other New York institutions, it has a kind of beautiful ugliness, which we think totally fits to perfect imperfection of the city.