The Hive Hums With Many Minds was a two-part exhibition by Te Tuhi that explored links between immense global infrastructures — industrial, urban and informational. The purpose of the exhibition catalogue was to document and extend this exhibition. The design was to communicate these ideas as explored in participating artist’s work to a contemporary art audience. The Te Tuhi brand has a clean, contemporary design sensibility and encourages an experimental approach.
A starting point for the design aesthetic was the work of exhibiting artist Rangituhia Hollis. His video work Oho Ake was influenced by 1980s Cracktros, the small introduction sequences displayed at the beginning of a piece of cracked (modified) software. The book’s intense neon colour palette and chunky block type arose from watching hours of Cracktros footage.
Six pantone spot colours were used to create the eye-popping colour palette of the cover. Without having recourse to Cracktros-style animation, the inside cover block pattern brings an element of visually intense humming life to the design.
The mastheads for Part One and Part Two of the exhibition form the front and back covers. These were meticulously constructed using an isometric grid as a framework. This choice of lettering style relates to the work of another exhibiting artist, Reuben Moss. His work Simulations included billboard size prints of expansive Sim cities constructed on an isometric grid. The mastheads share this same perspective, as if they were themselves structures growing on the same substratal grid/landscape as Sim-world buildings. The words have a sense of substance and solid form, extruded from flat letters into hive-like typographic structures. Using colour and structure the mastheads, like the two Parts of the exhibition, are different, unified, but equally weighted.
The masthead letterforms were developed into a font (IsoIso) using open-source font-editing program FontForge, and employed throughout the book. IsoIso is based on the same modular system as the masthead and is designed for typesetting at the angle of an isometric grid. The Hive Hums text world walks uphill — tilted at 30 degrees from vertical to right itself. Leaning towards an unknown future.
Ruth Watson and Gregory Kan’s essay concerns the sickly sweet addictiveness of the game Candy Crush™. In a hyper-coloured celebration of Candy Crush it is set entirely in Candice, the signature font of Candy Crush branding.
The body copy is set in Calibre. This is Te Tuhi’s brand font and balances the intensity of the display faces.
In collaboration between the artist Monique Jensen and the designer, the fold out page work was created specifically for the publication.
The underlying grid of the pages lends a sense of building and structures. Double page spreads are used often for installation shots to recreate a sense of expansiveness. Pace is considered, with the book roughly divided into three parts structured around Bruce E. Phillip’s essays. Writing falls on uncoated stock for a tactile papery feel, while images are on matt art paper to maximize intensity of colour and clarity in the images.