Marius Schwarz developed the graphic design for Open Archive(2019), a project that brings creators and heritage institutions into dialogue on the importance of creative reuse of heritage.
The image Marius Schwarz had in mind for the Open Archive graphic identity was the archive as a hidden treasure. The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision and Het Nieuwe Instituut put out an open call to draw designers' and makers' attention to the richness of their collections. Three makers were selected to make new works with material from their archives.
"My first task was to design the website for the creators to report on their findings from the archives," says Schwarz. "I have interpreted this as a framework through which the visitor can see the process of the makers." A slideshow on the homepage shows the photos and film images that the makers collected and partly edited. "I've taken a film editing approach to the graphic design," he explains, "restructuring the existing material and showing it in a new context. In doing so, I use a design language that refers to old archival methods such as film, slides and photo negatives."
For his design, Schwarz also delved into the archives, allowing himself the same freedom with the material as the makers were given. For example, he created a social media campaign inspired by Polygoon (a former cinema newsreel company in the Netherlands) newsreel introductions, which used a 3, 2, 1 countdown, followed by archival material such as the image of an explosion. He pieced together a clip about the opening of a new Philips factory and used this to announce the presentation during the Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven.
"I have further developed the idea of peeking into the archive for the exhibition's means of communication and graphic layer," Schwarz explains. "The exhibition texts are printed in negative on plexiglass panels. Behind the introductory texts are three large video screens showing images from the archives. These film images showed through the cut-out letters, producing a striking visual effect. I worked with a printer to figure out how to technically realise this idea. The black ink had to be applied in several layers to ensure the light would only pass through the cut-out letters."
The digital publication that concluded the project was published in a desktop and a smartphone version. "I find it interesting to adapt the graphic design in a way that is logical for the way the content is made public." For example, the publication's mobile version used one column, which then fits exactly three times into the desktop version. The negatives used for old film and photographs inspired Schwarz's choice of a light letter set on a black background. He realised there's a specific logic in using light lettering onscreen: "The default system settings for new Macs and iPhones are now set to dark mode, where the letters light up against a dark background, instead of the standard black on white used for paper."
Artist Guy Königstein, filmmaker Donna Verheijden and designer/artist Oana Clitan created new works using the open digital collections of Het Nieuwe Instituut and The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision. Through this project, the institutes bring creators and heritage institutions into dialogue on the importance of creative reuse of heritage and making online collections available. The three makers were selected via an open call to experiment with the possibilities of digital heritage collections in the creative and technical sectors and concerning issues of copyright.
Graphic designer Marius Schwarz works with museums, artists, non-profit organisations and other designers. He worked with Mevis and Van Deursen on South Magazine for documenta14 in Kassel and on various catalogues for the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. In 2017, he began publishing eeebooks, a series of experimental digital publications. In 2018 he was guest editor of OASE 100 -- Karel Martens and The Architecture of the Journal. In the same year, he began collaborating with Ronja Andersen on the identity of Het HEM in Zaandam and the Biennale für Freiburg, among others. He teaches at the Amsterdam Academy of Architecture.