The Warsaw-based graphic studio Full Metal Jacket was founded in 2002 and creates animations, posters, album covers, and graphic designs for books. The designers of FMJ are fluent in various graphic languages: from unshowy statements in black and white to Rococo-esque flourishes.
Amongst their clients are EU institutions and leading Polish musicians as well as one of the most important cultural centres in Poland. Full Metal Jacket often collaborates with museums and galleries on an array of different tasks concerning the visual aspects of exhibitions – they prepare the graphic design for exhibitions, and design exhibition spaces and the layout for catalogues. They have prepared numerous projects for the Centre of Contemporary Art, while experimenting with bold colours in contrast to black and white typography.
The catalogue for the exhibition Don’t Stare at the Sun was done in gold and Flowers of Our Lives in cerulean and cobalt, while the materials for Abece Azorro were done in turquoise and yellow.
Full Metal Jacket moves swiftly through a wide range of graphic designs and possibilities: from minimalism to highly decorated typography, always tailoring the graphic resources and strategies for the purpose of a given project. The echo of Rococo is noticeable in the sugary colours chosen for the Lady with a Dog and a Monkey project. Yet the designers are far from naive quotes – they play with the tradition of that time, transforming it into modern expression. On the other hand, the design for the book Skontrum at the Museum of Sculpture is based on massive letters resembling sculpture. The letters become barely legible, almost abstract, forms that resonate with the viewer rather on a more visual level than as a word.
Their book designs are distinguishable by their high level of aesthetical discipline, based on a clear and precise graphic message and maintaining a balance between the text and images. Agnieszka Brzeżańska’s artistic book L’artiste, le modele et la peinture combines the graphic material and text in a well thought-out manner, intertwining and engaging them in a subtle dialogue. The album Graffiti Goes East. 1990-2012, which analyses the phenomenon of graffiti in Poland, was distinguished amongst others by Print Control in 2014, as one of the most interesting examples of graphic design for a book.
FMJ also designed the album cover for Artur Rojek’s solo album. In this project, the graphic design complements the atmospheric music very nicely. The designers decided on a subtle composition – the artist’s black and white photograph with a coppery, golden font. The album cover and lyrics constitute a poetic, nostalgic whole. The album was nominated for best album cover of 2014.
FMJ’s portfolio also features animations. In a film prepared for the National Centre for Culture they use a simple metaphor of open doors and rooms to present the most important objectives of the programme supporting young culture. In a video promoting the Tatra Railway Station they pieced together black and white photographs that transition in the form of a collage and summarize the place's history. This subtle film stands in contrast to their video clip for Niewidzialna Nerka (the invisible kidney), which overwhelms in terms of colour. Here Full Metal Jacket shows that they can humorously navigate through fields such as hip-hop, graffiti and the urban landscape.
Author: Agata Morka, September 2015, Translated by: Zuzanna Wisniewska, September 2015
Selected exhibitions and awards: