Space ID: Designed to make space

March 28th
4 mins read

The Space ID is a design toolkit used when working with the physical, the digital, and everything in between. It’s an open, fluid and programmatic visual identity that has a basic set of rules to ensure coherence, but above all is flexible and enables participation and creativity. With Space ID we have strived to build an identity that can both embrace and cut through the chaotic world of SPACE10.

Space ID: Designed to make space

The Space ID has been created in a collaborative effort between SPACE10, design studio Barkas and a number of artists. The project was sparked by an urge to reflect that SPACE10 is an open lab, always collaborating with other like-minded artists, thinkers or doers, through new ideas and experiments. We set out with a common vision to combine open-source thinking and functional design aesthetics, or in other words, chaos and order.


We have been inspired by the clean and bold design aesthetics often seen at contemporary art museums and tried to combine those elements with the curiosity and hands-on-everyday of a lab. SPACE10 sort of feels like that. Or like a blank piece of paper with mug of colourful pencils right next to it. It’s been important for us to achieve a strong and clear design foundation that was flexible enough to embrace collaboration and integrate artistic expression as a natural part of the identity.

We dream of an open, fluid and programmatic visual identity for SPACE10. We wish to explore the idea of a curated yet open-sourced visual identity that has a basic set of rules to ensure coherence, but above all is flexible and enables participation and creativity.


We have based our strategy on the clarity and pragmatism from functional design, the openness and diversity from open-source thinking and the ability to look ahead and navigate from the SPACE10 beliefs. These elements have served as the direction for all conceptual and visual explorations and have shaped three guiding design principles.


The foundation for the Space ID should be based on the belief that we need order and structure to be able to embrace chaos in a successful manner.


Curiosity should be the vibrant center of the Space ID. Untouched grounds should be explored with an open mind and a brave attitude.


Curation should be used as a tool to create synergies and interact with future collaborators. Furthermore it should be the compass that will help us see the patterns in the chaos.


The logo is an evolved version of the first SPACE10 logo, created by Nicolas Fuhr. In this version, the box and logomark had many variations. To iconify the box and logomark, we simplified the use cases and decided to set the box free for creative interpretation.


We have aimed to create a system based on some of the most elementary formats available to us, in order to create an easy-to-work-with, flexible and programmatic identity. The approach has been to push these formats in a direction where they can help create unique, yet coherent expressions.


Helvetica is a widely used typeface, available to most people, is flexible and can both be neutral and expressive. It is truly the Swiss army knife of typefaces.

We have chosen Helvetica Neue as our typographic foundation for the Space ID toolkit. We use the neutral qualities of Helvetica to communicate clearly without asking for too much attention. But we also treat it as a design element to achieve a more aesthetic expression. Specifically we use outlines of letters and words to add contrast and create focal points, and compositions to create dynamic and boldness.


Along with the thinking that lies behind the choice of typeface, we have chosen to keep the graphic universe of the Space ID as simple and clear as possible. Inspired by the no-nonsense communication and instructional clarity from washing labels, we have created a language based on black lines, simple elementary shapes and to-the-point use of typography. We have done so with the idea of turning complex models simple and clear.


To keep the Space ID as open as possible, we have chosen not to use a specific identity color. The idea is that the identity and foundation should be a clean canvas, always ready to embrace the colors and creativity of others.

The Space ID color foundation is based on black and white, with a scheme of grey shades that can be used as tones if needed. Whenever we interact with others we bring in color to create unique compositions and combinations.


In line with the thinking behind our use of colors and typography, we have based our main grid structure on a standardized format – the A-format. We have designed a grid framework for print build in units that correlates in ratio to the A-format. Printed matter therefore always comes in A-formats.


From the beginning we wanted a programmatic tool that could activate the design system and give the flexibility to design dynamic layouts.

Our approach is based on thinking in layers. It’s the way we activate the grid structure, use of color and typography in ever-changing compositions.


The playfulness of SPACE10 is often expressed through art and culture. We wanted to use this as an integrated part of the identity. Which means that ongoing collaborations with artists from all over the world is used as a tool to help the identity evolve and stay curious. The artists we have worked with include Hagihara Takuya (Japan), Serafine Frey (Switzerland), Rachel Denti (Brazil) and Mitsuko Sato (Canada) and Dave Whyte (Ireland).


This post could have ended with some clean and nice photos of t-shirts, tote bags, stickers, stationary etc. with applied SPACE10 branding. But instead we had an idea of embracing the collaborative and playful world of SPACE10. Therefore we joined forces with photographer Jason Idris and together we have interpreted the Space ID through images that aims to showcase the ID from another angle. The images have later been exhibited as part of the Spade ID launch in March 2017.


This article is a presentation of the starting point for the Space ID. The Space ID is based on an idea of collaboration and openness, which should be the direction for further development. We have sought to aim for a high degree of flexibility to embrace and navigate through the ever evolving life of SPACE10. This will hopefully help to see more patterns than chaos.