Supergraphics with Haas&Hahn

Supergraphics are just as they sound: really large graphics. Usually abstract and environmental, these colourful designs were popular in the 70s and are still used to this day. Often these images and typography are used to make wayfinding and signage more exciting.

Record store painted by Barbara Stauffacher Solomon, a pioneer of supergraphics
Record store painted by Barbara Stauffacher Solomon, a pioneer of supergraphics
An example of supergraphics as wayfinding tool. A Pentagram design at Grey Advertising
An example of supergraphics as wayfinding tool. A Pentagram design at Grey Advertising that is also an optical illusion
This supergraphic is also an optical illusion
This supergraphic is also an optical illusion
Washrooms at Studio Myerscough in London
Washrooms at Studio Myerscough in London

The Dutch design team Haas & Hahn are an excellent example of artists employing supergraphics today. Their full names are Jeroen Koolhaas and Dre Urhahn and they started working together on large environmental artwork in 2005. They have worked all over the world, with one of their most notable series being done between 2007 and 2010 focusing on the slums (favelas) of Rio de Janeiro.

Jeroen Koolhaas and Dre Urhahn in front of some of their favela supergraphics in Rio de Janeiro
Jeroen Koolhaas and Dre Urhahn in front of some of their favela supergraphics in Rio de Janeiro

What I really appreciate about the pair is their passion for their work: their goal is to bring hope, charm, excitement and joy to spaces that may otherwise be drab and dissolve into the cityscape. They see their art as catalyst for social change, creativity and activism and they originally started the favelas project to break stereotypes about the people living there.

Store fronts in Philadelphia which the duo also painted
Store fronts in Philadelphia which the duo also painted
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