Blok Design – A jack of all trades


If I was to ask you one question, ”What defines a multi-disciplinary agency?”, how would you answer? Today, I have dug up Blok Design from the archives to discuss their vastly extensive focus on process and format to realise the conceptual prospects of their clients. Based in Toronto Canada, this Agency was founded in 1998 by Graphic Designer and Art Centre Graduate, Vanessa Eckstein. Its mandate is to collaborate ”with thinkers and creators, companies and brands, from all over the world, taking on projects that blend cultural awareness, our love of art, and our belief in humanity to advance society and business alike.” Essentially, it does everything it says on the tin and so much more; now allow me to explain why.

Poster, Ark Modern Recreation (2017) Blok Design
Pacakaging, Ark Modern Recreation (2017) Blok Design
Editorial, Ark Modern Recreation (2017) Blok Design

On the surface, their most instantly recognisable discipline is within Typography, Layout, Branding and Colour Theory, depicting beautiful stories for contemporary brands from an incredibly wide and varied background. In this instance, much of their work for established coffee bean outlet, Modern Recreation recruits a simplified visual language that captivates a well considered and executed Brand Identity formed purely of typographic treatments and geometric cut outs of coffee distillery units. Whilst colour, format and layout has enabled them to achieve a visual concept with significant depth. Upon closer inspection, you will notice that the branding word mark itself has been manipulated to respond in such scenarios from packaging to editorial use. Whilst the characters, ‘M’ and ‘R’ have been modified from a familiar geometric typeface to gauge the contemporary focus of the brand. In which, relative to the styling and art-direction of the photography gives an incredibly strong sense as to the clients millennial audience.

Risograph, Hoi Bo (2013) Blok Design
Risograph, Hoi Bo (2013) Blok Design
Risograph, Hoi Bo (2013) Blok Design
Risograph, Hoi Bo (2013) Blok Design

Meanwhile, dialling back to more traditional techniques in design, Blok also happen to create alongside the envisioned use of varying printing/relief techniques. A particularly good example of this to keep your eye on would be their work for coveted bags and clothing designer, Hoi Bo. An immediate process that stood out in this project was an editorial piece incorporating a familiar technique known as risograph, splitting the content of the page up into a duo-tone palette of red and blue. Which alongside carefully placed fold lines, creates a beautiful piece of editorial work with an interactive function that emphasises the craft of Hoi Bo’s products. Additionally, you will notice more simpler methods of print such as silk screen, in which allows the identity of the brand to react with other materials from canvas bags to labels. Amidst these contemporary processes, relief techniques from wood-engraving to copper plate cut-outs bring an organic and refined edge to the corporate umbrella of Hoi Bo’s company. Once again, demonstrating the sheer depth of Blok’s creative arsenal.

KAWS, Display by Blok Design at the Design Exchange Museum (2014)
‘The simple things’ by Pharrell Wlliams, Takashi Murakami, Display by Blok Design at the Design Exchange Museum (2014)
friendswithyou, Display by Blok Design at the Design Exchange Museum (2014)

Their craft also covers an extensive focus on installations for events such as the critically acclaimed, ‘This is not a toy’ a creative exhibition guest curated by Pharrell Williams with curators John Wee Tom and Sara Nickleson, with a specific focus to designer toys world wide. Held by the Design Exchange Museum in Toronto, the event includes works from Takashi Murakami and KAWS amongst many others. Concocted entirely of abstract patterns and sheer angular structures, the identity of these display graphics ”needed to straddle the same art and street worlds occupied by the toys”. It was crucial that a familiar atmosphere was well captured and thus exposed to their respective viewers. In which, it is apparent that Blok adopted a materialistic environment to identify each of the carefully curated artworks. Drawing inspiration from the contemporary artists themselves who are showcasing at the event, a beautiful landscape of contemporary art was achieved.

In summary, we have only given you an inkling of what Blok has to offer so we encourage you to check out their wares and let us know what you think below.



See the full project(s) and more from Blok Design at:

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin