Thursday, 4:13pm
28 June 2012

Kings of the cheese-slicers

Love Song

Non-Format <br>DGV, &pound;30, €44,

The cover of Love Song (DGV, £30, €44, ) by Non-Format sums up everything we’ve learnt to love about the duo over the past five years – decorative, funny (a clown’s nose) but slightly sinister, suited, booted and frayed. Kjell Ekhorn, co-founder (with Jon Forss) of the practice, talks about their favourite headline treatment (for the May 2003 Wire) as ‘skipping through a meadow . . . in concrete boots.’ The metaphor reveals plenty about their distinctive, stylish and uncompromising mix of original image-making and hardline typography.

The 192-page book is full of work for a short but characterful list of clients: Lo Recordings, Accidental, the Royal Norwegian Embassy (making ingenious use of that nation’s famous cheese slicers), Orange, Nokia, Channel 4, Wieden & Kennedy, Varoom. Threaded through the book, in a single narrow text column, is a candid interview by ‘Halfdan Brute’, in which the partners explain that they quickly changed from EkhornForss to Non-Format to avoid the chore of having to spell their name to people.

Accounts of their adventures with The Wire make for amusing reading. As their headline type treatments become more time-consuming and outlandish, the strained relationship with the music magazine’s editors produced constraints that resulted in some of their best work. Ekhorn recalls how they went being ‘responsible for what they hailed as the Second Coming in graphic headline treatments to us being complete idiots.’ Forss has now moved to the States, which means that Non-Format’s

post-Love Song phase will resonate on both sides of the Atlantic. Top: covers and spreads from The Wire. Headlines use custom fonts NauHaus and Mace. Above: CD and seven-inch packaging for The Chap (Lo Recordings).

John L. Walters