NORM: Disorder is more probable than order

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Welcome to the exhibition opening with renowned graphic designers NORM, a Swiss design studio based in Zürich. At the opening night in Oslo, Manuel Krebs, Dimitri Bruni and Ludovic Varone (NORM) will be present for an in-depth talk about their practice, projects and history, in conversation with Carl Gürgens and Levi Bergqvist.

Contemporary graphic design is in a landscape of ever-evolving styles and influences, where the digital age has transformed how we engage with visual media. In an era where tracks dominate over albums and creative credits blur, we invite you to explore the discography of a legendary band that is not on Spotify.

NORM was founded in 1999 by Dimitri Bruni and Manuel Krebs, and joined by Ludovic Varone in 2005. Their focus is on designing and publishing books and typefaces. NORM is described by themselves as both a company, but most importantly a project. "NORM’s programmatic approach – suggested by their name – has informed their commissioned work for the cultural field, their self-initiated publications and their typefaces, which they use extensively in almost everything they produce" (Cornel Windlin).

This approach is evident in their typefaces, such as ‘Simple’ for Cologne/Bonn airport, the corporate typeface for Omega watches, the typeface ‘Replica’, the corporate typeface for Swatch and the recent typeface ‘Riforma’ and ‘Riforma-Mono’ (2018, 2024). Book design includes self-commissioned research in the field of type and graphic design, the most relevant being ‘Norm: Dimension of Two’ (2020), ‘Norm: The Things’ (2002) and ‘Norm: Introduction’ (2000). Commissions include numerous collaborations with galleries, museums (MoMA, Tate Modern, Louvre, Centre Pompidou, Kunsthaus Zurich, Museum für Gestaltung Zürich) and artists (Fischli & Weiss, Shirana Shahbazi, Simon Starling, Arthur Jafa). They are irregularly teaching at art and design schools, among them ECAL (Lausanne), Werkplaats Typografie (Aarnhem) and ZHdK Zurich.

Rooted in the rich tradition of Swiss design, NORM has earned critical acclaim, receiving prestigious awards such as the Swiss Confederate Design Award, the Design Award Switzerland and the Jan Tschichold Prize. They have been repeatedly awarded at ‘The Most Beautiful Swiss Books’, and at the competition ‘Best Book Design from all over the World’. In 2011, NORM was awarded the Grand Prix Design by the Swiss Government.

Their influence extends beyond Switzerland, surfacing prominently on the global design scene during the early 2000s. Characterized by a dynamic fusion of Swiss traditions, international influences, and the burgeoning internet culture – their work stood out in an illustration heavy design scene. From their beginning, NORM has continuously pushed the boundaries of design, seamlessly blending the 2-dimentional with the 3-dimentional. Their conceptual exploration extends beyond traditional print media, exploring a diverse array of objects, printed matter, programmed design tools and environmental spaces. And they have kept it impressively consistent for the past 25 years, and has undeniably had a huge impact on how we define graphic design as of today.

We describe NORM as the Vulcans (Star Trek) of graphic design, or the most Swiss Swiss. Referencing their high sense of logic and restrictiveness, we very much look forward to share some of their mystique. And don’t misinterpret restrictive as boring – their system is filled with inventiveness and charm, and it’s constantly evolving.

In true spirit of NORM, the exhibition will be a continuation of their project and their solo exhibition ‘It’s Not Complicated’ at the Museum für Gestaltung, Zurich (2020). Disorder is more probable than order’ is a synthesis of Norms work and forms a unique and new contribution to the discourse on visual communication. A testament to the enduring impact of their consistency and immense body of work.

The exhibition is initiated by Carl Gürgens and Levi Bergqvist, and co-curated with NORM. Both Carl and Levi, renowned designers in their own right, share a longstanding admiration for NORM's work, dating back to their days in design school. Their in-depth preparations for this event included a research trip to Zurich in February 2024, where they had the privilege of engaging in insightful conversations with NORM and Lineto-founder Cornel Windlin.

The exhibition and talk is supported by Grafill and Grafill Graphic Design.

All material is designed by NORM.

Exhibition opening
The exhibition opens Thursday, the 4th of April at 6 pm. At the opening there will be a talk with Norm. Attendance for the talk is free, but registration is required, sign up for the talk here. Seating is limited, so be sure to secure your spot in advance. After the talk with NORM, the exhibition will be open to all visitors interested in exploring it further.

Program for the exhibition opening 4th of April: 
5.30 pm: Doors open for the talk
6 pm: Talk with NORM
7.15 pm: Doors opens for the exhibition opening 

Sign up here for the talk!

Opening hours
Mon — fri 10 — 16 
Sun 12 — 16

Adress
Grafill, Møllergata 39, 0179 Oslo