Folio focus: A3

Priscilla Balmer and Yvo Hhlen are the creative minds behind design studio A3. Operating from Lausanne in Switzerland, the duo has developed an approach based on its own particular strengths – Balmer as communication designer and Hhlen as art director.

A3’s branding output is characterised by clean lines and bold, simple shapes. The designers are drawn to sober, minimalist style, and cite 60s Swiss graphic design and Bauhaus as influences.

A3 developed a completely new identity for Lausanne gallery Kissthedesign. The branding is based around a polygonal logo designed to remind the viewer of a diamond, which is highlighted on the gallery’s business cards with a silkscreen varnish.

“We start by thinking in a wide angle and then restrict it to the minimum, the most relevant for the brief,” says Hhlen. “We definitely believe in the saying, ‘Why make it complicated when you can make it simple?’” Use of different colours is also kept to a bare minimum. “We usually try to limit ourselves to two colours to keep it sober and impactful,” Hhlen continues.

The studio is keen to develop a specialist reputation in branding, editorial and cultural promotion. One project which fits with its planned direction is its collaboration with Kissthedesign gallery in Lausanne. Balmer and Hhlen were invited to contribute to a graphic art exhibition, and a conversation with the owners at the opening led to an impromptu pitch to refresh the gallery’s image. The rebrand led to A3’s first foray into type design, with the pair creating the Kiss Rounded font as part of its bright, bold, contemporary new brand design.

“We wanted to emphasise the exclusive facet of the gallery’s activities in high-end design and fine art,” says studio co-founder Yvo Hhlen.

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