Spruce Gallery: A Passion Project for Print, Fully Realized

Ushering a new era for the art of publishing

Design For Tomorrow colleagues Ric Gindap and Bonnapart Galeng have long been collectors of printed media, logging in years of traveling to the independent print meccas of the world—MagCulture in London, Basheer Graphic in Singapore, and do you read me?! in Berlin, among others. In the middle of the deadly pandemic, they found themselves with an inkling of an idea – the desire for a space with a similar energy right here in the Philippines. Understanding that Manileños, with a community of artists and enthusiasts hungry for such treasures, Bon and Ric realized that they themselves were the ones to make it happen.

Out of this revelation came Spruce Gallery, a newly opened art gallery and magazine store in Ortigas Center. A natural evolution of Design For Tomorrow’s passion for publishing and authentic storytelling, this new retail concept also harkens back to the leading creative agency’s premium editorial work, such as Alveo Land’s Commtalk and Ayala Land Premier’s Loft. At Spruce, Bon and Ric would be able to re-imagine their roles of what it means to be a creative and curator entering this new decade. With this at heart, work began for a new independent magazine store in the heart of Metro Manila.

What’s In A Name?

The name “Spruce” comes from the Prussian timber that one could call the building block of expression. It creates paper on which ideas are written and printed, the podium stands where voices are heard, and the frames within which visual art is displayed. In short, spruce is an all-around cradling of ideas. The colloquial term “spruce up” also speaks directly to the elevation of print and art found in Spruce Gallery.

Each magazine is handpicked for its unique perspective and editorial excellence, ensuring that visitors will discover new and exciting voices in the world of publishing. The store’s carefully selected collection of magazines spans a wide range of titles, many of which are being made available in the Philippines for the first time. Bestseller titles include Monocle, The Paris Review, The Gentlewoman, Kinfolk, Apartamento, Design Anthology, Wallpaper, Frame, Popeye and Casa Brutus. As a champion of independent voices, the gallery also carries zines locally and from Southeast Asia and LGBTQ+ creatives. In these publications found within Spruce Gallery, one discovers the authentic, the rebellious, and the unveneered truths, and, in doing so, we reconnect with the extraordinary voices from everywhere.

The different publications within Spruce Gallery.

Storytelling Semiotics

To begin their journey of meeting the mag-hags of Manila, Spruce Gallery needed an emblem that would help entice people into its inspiring space, whether that be via glowing street signage or on social media. In crafting the logo, we tackled the challenge of distillation and graphic storytelling – the coalescence of art and print. The square, a vessel of provocative discovery and artistic revelation, beckons us to peer through its thrilling window. It is the genesis of adventure, a canvas for mind-altering perspectives, and the crucible of creativity and imagination. 

In the upper hemisphere, an elegant ‘M’ unfurls like the spreads of a captivating magazine, unveiling a world of surprise and delight—a profound dive into an irresistible universe where ideas flourish and stories unfold. It encapsulates the essence of deep engagement, where for a moment, the worries of the world fade away. Below, a counter-clockwise “C” is a distillation of the artwork frame, solidifying Spruce’s role as a crucible of artistry, a foundation dedicated to nurturing talents and championing the lucid voices of emerging artists. The Spruce Gallery emblem encapsulates the inspiring ideals of ingenuity, inviting us to explore, imagine, and revel in the extraordinary, seductive realms of imagination.

Paint It Black

Next, we needed to expand the brand identity to create an atmosphere that conducts deep creative expression. The store’s carefully curated edit of magazines – selected from all around the world – rests against deep black shelves and the walls. This is a well-intentioned choice, as black is not the absence of color, but the combined presence of all. By doing so, we visibly draw attention to the titles and art we want to champion. Black is also a perfect template for turning Spruce Gallery into an ever-transforming, adaptable events space. With this, the space is ready for art exhibitions, launch parties, and other gigs that showcase the works of emerging and established artists from the Philippines and the world. 

A Community of Readers

For Spruce Gallery, it was not enough to attract a customer base – we needed to organically build a community. Developing merchandise was essential to be part of the “in” crowd – blending neatly into a creative lifestyle. From cards to stickers, apparel to tote bags, these pieces are a calling card for those passionate about expression and thought provocation. 

Our only next step was to send the bat signal, and true enough, the mag-hags came. Many traveled from all over the Metro, braving the traffic on the Gallery’s soft opening weekend. The celebration came full circle this past March 9, 2024, with the Spruce Gallery brand identity on full display at the Gallery’s official launch. Amidst the glow of good music, good drinks, and good food, we were ready to turn a new leaf – literally. 

This opening is just the beginning as Spruce Gallery continues in its manifestations of creativity, invigorated by community. By championing these titles, we embark on an inspiring exploration to connect Manila’s weary, originality-starved readers with the intriguing territories of the artistic and literary cosmos. As siblings, we couldn’t be prouder of Spruce Gallery for quickly becoming a conduit for a print renaissance right in the heart of Metro Manila – if we dare say so ourselves. 

Spruce Gallery is located on UG3, Upper Ground Floor, of City & Land Mega Plaza along ADB Avenue in Ortigas Center, Pasig City.

To learn more about Spruce Gallery, follow their Instagram at @sprucegalleryph.

Spruce Gallery in the Press

WhenInManila | SPOT | Adobo | NoliSoli | The Post | ArtPlus | Purveyr

Client Spruce Gallery Industry Retail Discipline Branding, Design Location Philippines

Creative Directors Ric Gindap, Bonnapart Galeng Logo Design Ric Gindap Designers Israel Contreras, Dale Philip Rodriguez (Animation) Photography Jar Concengco (Campfire Media), Ennuh Tiu and Sean Olalo