Thomas Widdershoven and Nikki Gonnissen are, unequivocally, two of the Netherlands’ leading graphic designers. Together they form THONIK, a distinguished design studio that explores the boundaries of experiential visual communication and graphic design. The work of THONIK is internationally acclaimed, with recent exhibitions in Venice, Shanghai, Tokyo and Paris, in the famous Anatome gallery.
Jon Kolko’s career in design started with a secret desire to create CD covers. Jon went to school for industrial design where he learned about computer interaction, psychology, and computer science and developed a deep interest in interaction design. His career has since evolved working in a software enterprise, several start ups in Austin, TX, teaching and developing design curriculum at Savannah College of Art and Design, and working alongside Fortune 20 companies at Frog Design (Austin). It was these latter two roles that amplified Jon’s interests in academia, design education and the business of design.
Eddie Opara is a traditionally-trained graphic designer who began his career in print pursuing his love for poster making. He is also a self-taught software developer with a socially minded approach to design. Eddie speaks to the need for design to be open, shared, public and contributing to the greater good. And to him, design serves as a bridge between the creative and artistic, and the political, cultural and social contexts in which we live. He told us about his design ‘philosophy’ and the reason why he believes that “you’re never finished as a designer“.
Michael Bierut is a partner at Pentagram and a leading voice in the world of design. Michael studied graphic design at the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning, worked at Vignelli Associates for ten years and, as I learned from watching him host Command X: Season 3 at the AIGA Pivot Conference, has a charming stage presence and warm sense of humor.
"I’m not a graphic designer”. Milton Glaser is dead serious as he utters these words, so serious he almost makes us uneasy. Sure, he’s foremost an illustrator and an artist. And the most powerful image that comes to mind – apart from the thousands he produced – is that of President Obama assigning him the National Medal of Arts in 2009, which was presented for the very first time to, well, a graphic designer.
The famous graphic designer Louise Fili talks to Lancia TrendVisions and presents her latest project for the BUR -“Rizzoli Universal Library”, “Romanzi d’Italia” , which involved her in the design of the cover pages for ten 19th-century ‘bestsellers’, about to be released to celebrate 150 years since the unification of Italy.
Marian Bantjes is a designer, typographer, writer and illustrator working internationally from her base on a small island off the west coast of Canada, near Vancouver. She is a member of Alliance Graphique Internationale (AGI), and regularly speaks about her work and thoughts at conferences and events worldwide.
'I’ve always kept my studio in the neighborhood so I can walk there every morning. My office is a personal sanctuary filled with all things (mostly Italian) that inspire me. And since the major part of the work I do is food-related, there is always something good to eat (or drink) around here: Irving Farm coffee and Sarabeth’s jam for breakfast, gelato or Qbel chocolates for a pick-me-up in the afternoon, and a glass of wine from Polaner Selections at the end of the day. When I work, I spread out at either at my desk, my Deco rattan chair, my 1950′s porch glider, or the conference room table.'
'I think one of the biggest pluses of working for yourself is being able to work in different locations. While I love my studio, I like that when I want to marathon some bad television and get through a tedious project, I can stay at home, drink some tea and hang out with my cats. I don’t like working at the studio super late since most of my studio mates and building friends keep pretty regular hours, so when I have to pull a late night it’s usually from home. I’m also an avid coffee shop worker, mostly for REALLY tedious work like css editing and font kerning.'
“Our office is on the second floor of an old storefront building in the Old City neighborhood of Philadelphia. We’re surrounded by Ben Franklin impersonators giving walking tours of the Betsy Ross house and Independence Hall. The studio is pretty jammed packed with our books and paper scraps and ephemera. We have all sorts of design objects around including presidential busts, globes, old books, and a vintage blue-collar thermos collection. We also run our online store from this space so our poster and print archive is stored here as well as our mail room. It gets pretty chaotic at times but it has the great organized chaos of a workshop.”
Paula Scher is one of the world's most famous graphic designers, known for creating Citibank's umbrella logo (link is external) as well as for design work for The Public Theater, The New York Times Magazine, the American Museum of Natural History, The New York City Ballet, and Herman Miller. She believes failure is the secret to artistic success. "You have to fail in order to make the next discovery," says Scher. "It's through mistakes that you actually can grow."
When Irma Boom makes a book, it’s not just a book but the book. The 50-year-old Dutch designer can spend years researching a project, and she insists on being a partner, not an employee. But her imperiousness is in the service of creating an object that, whether it’s an acclaimed monograph on Sheila Hicks or a 2,136-page history of the Dutch conglomerate SHV, couldn’t have been designed for anyone else. Print’s managing editor, Michael Silverberg, met with Boom at a Starbucks on Manhattan’s Upper West Side to talk about why she hates "clients," can’t stand handicraft, and despises authority.
In 1989, Donald Moffett and Marlene McCarty founded Bureau, a “trans-disciplinary design studio” whose mandate was to produce art, film titles, political work, and brand identities. Bureau was a multidisciplinary design studio and collaboration between principals Donald Moffett and Marlene McCarty, with Claudia Brandenburg, Kiers Alexandra, Mary Day, Lucy Hitchcock, and Gabriel Feliciano, who viewed their unique design studio as a service provider and, more significantly, as an author of social messages.