The Way Beyond Art: Wider White Space: Project Projects

March 31, 2011 to April 13, 2011

MetaData: A Catalogue of Work by Project Projects

New York studio Project Projects describe themselves as workers, reflecting an unusual design methodology that involves collaborating with clients to create content as well as curate and edit. The studio is known for its well-ordered, systematic solutions to complex design problems.

This exhibition is organized based on keywords assigned to each project, which are selectively reproduced here according to three major themes: Urbanism, Social Engagement, and Dialogue. The grid coordinates can be used to locate an original copy of each project.

Interview with Project Projects, February 2011.

Art + Architecture. How is it different collaborating with artists versus architects?

Hard to say categorically; too much to say individually.

Breaking the System. At what point do you break your design system?

When necessary.

The longer that we create systems, the more we think of breaking points as an integral, anticipated part of the system, rather than something existing outside of the system.

Concept. Is "conceptual" always experimental?


Design with a Capital D. Would you label yourselves "graphic designers" or simply "designers?"

Agnostic. "Typographers". "Workers".

Education. What do you miss most about being a student?

Very little.

Fame. Can you speak about the experience of becoming an acclaimed design studio?

Success of any sort was far from a bygone conclusion when we began the studio; it's a tremendously happy surprise that all has turned out as well as it has.

Gallery. Should graphic design be exhibited in the gallery setting?

Sure, though we're far more committed to the dissemination of our work through the world at large. Graphic design in galleries tends to be disconnected from how design is actually used and experienced--aspects which are at least as important as the objects themselves.

Hierarchy. Why do you often develop systems that flatten hierarchy?

Deeply felt disdain for authoritarianism.

Information Graphics. What do you think makes an information graphic effective?

Successful conveyance of information.

Going beyond numbers, beyond fetishism of data, seeking to meaningfully resonate with a viewer.

Journalism. Where do you get your news?

Through electronic and printed sources. Juan Cole's Informed Comment. Counterpunch. New York Times. New York Review of Books. Many others.

Kerning. Send us a word of your choice kerned to perfection.

As I'm currently typing in the monospaced font Courier right now, the Mailprogram has done a brilliant job of evenly spacing all of these responses to perfection.

Layering. You frequently use overprinting techniques. Is this a stylistic choice or a conceptual one?

Yes; more generally, we see our stylistic choices as the outgrowth of our conceptual choices.

Multilingual. What do you find most challenging about multilingual design?

All of those languages to fit in; also, it can be difficult (though not impossible) to make specific decisions about the relationships of text and typography in languages you don't speak!

Narrative. How does narrative play into your work?

Let me tell you a story......

Order. Is there a place for chaos within the systems of order you create?


Place. Why New York City?

Where else?

Quote. Can you give us an interesting quote on design?


Recreation. Do you have time for interests outside your design work?

Yes, barely.

Space. Is designing a website as rewarding as designing a physical space?

Ideally yes.

Time. What's the average turnaround time for a Project Projects project?

Varies between days and years.

Utopia. Describe the perfect client.

Someone who has a significant understanding of the potential role that graphic design can play in a project, while understanding that they themselves are not a graphic designer. Trust. Understanding. Resources.

Varnish. Gloss or matte?

Depends on the situation......

Work. How did you get involved with Work, a magazine about labor issues?

Diana Lind, the magazine founder and editor, asked us to Work with her.

X-axis. Provide us with one tip for mastering the art of the grid.

It's often useful to implement a grid in which objects are placed primarily according to either the X- or Y-axis; this way images can scale according to their given format, rather than being forced unnaturally into a predetermined grid format.

Yes or No: Helvetica? Lox on bagels? Justin Beiber?

Sure / Sometimes / N/A

Zilch. Free pass if you've made it this far!