Tell us your backgrounds and how you got into graphic design.
We both have a similar story to tell. We grew up in the hills of the Appenzell region, where the splendid Swiss Cheese comes from. Close to the mountaintops – both of our families are ski addicts, that᾿s why we accidentally met in a ski club. Next to our fascination for snow, beer, music and girls, we both were totally mesmerized about the world of advertising, typography, photography and graphic design from the very beginning. To learn the technical skills, we both started an apprenticeship as polygraphic designers, a mix between lithography and typography. After four years in the prepress field we both started to study visual communication. During all this and some months abroad we were always connected – if not analogous, for sure digitally. In 2009, back in Switzerland the idea of our own studio was not far away.
Can you walk us through your design process?
At the very beginning we listen to our client and their vision – trying to figure out every detail about the project, the idea, the product, the client, the material, the shape, the sound, etc. After this first big step, a wide research and many discussions, we mostly start with a blank sheet of paper. We call this process «getting pregnant» and hopefully after a couple of weeks in a beautiful moment a surprising result will be born.
What drives you to create, and how do you stay motivated over time?
We get stimulated from many influences around here and around the universe. Always trying to walk around this wonderful planet with open eyes and all other senses. Trying to fight against patterns and whenever possible to work with love and fun and last but not least: never forget friendship.
Since November 2015 we share a flat in Berlin, to break the daily grid here in our tiny city with all the rules and to get inspired from other directions. Another chance to get in contact with people who are as passionate in what they do as we are.
The mix of all this positive aspects in the graphic field and not having to be tied to one place nowadays gives us strength and new inputs. Ultimately it᾿s all the little things and the joy over a freshly printed result that always keeps us going on.
Do you have a design philosophy?
We think in graphic design you should always try to go new ways and follow a concept – this makes it exciting and at the same time means a hard piece of work to balance. Of course you have to put a lot of energy and time into a project to get to the point of a new and surprising result. We have to fight most of the time, especially if there is a client on the other side. We believe you should never give up and try to keep following a strong idea.
How do you keep a good life / work balance?
We᾿re trying to find a way to keep a balance, but unfortunately we᾿re still searching for the «right» balance. With Berlin we now at least have the chance to escape for some weeks or months. To be more isolated from the daily routine in Switzerland, where your day is always interrupted by various influences, such as phone calls, meetings, deliveries, etc.
But this still strikes us difficult because we also have to learn to say no to new and exciting project. Everything is a process, but as said: We are still looking for a way we can live fulfilled next to graphic design.
What are your influences and how do they affect your work?
The influence of Swiss graphic design is definitely felt in our work. Precision, reliability, structure and many other attributes are given with you here from an early age on. For this reason, our work is usually reduced to a minimum, tidy and based on a clear concept and screen – as one would probably expect from this country. Of course, we sometimes try to break out of this pattern. But this isn’t possible with all our customers. Ultimately, graphic design, in our view is something very personal. We are influenced by experiences and impressions that flow into our work. The exchange here in the studio and access to all the channels on the internet are of course indispensable and certainly just as influential.
As designers – what are your main subjects of interest?
Because of our background, as described in the previous question, we are very interested in experimental projects. That’s why we are always happy about requests from the cultural field or from the art sector. Of course, projects in the commercial sector can be exciting and permit a surprising result. However, this is usually associated with much more energy, as many clients initially fear exploring new avenues, and we often need to challenge their perceived way of thinking. In our opinion a result should sometimes provoke food for thought. One should never underestimate the audience.
Do you have a dream project or client?
Basically all projects without clear guidelines are fantastic for a graphic designer. To have a carte blanche and being able to develop a project from the beginning always leaves a lot of space for self-realization.
Unfortunately, the commercial reality of our studio keeps us on the ground and we have to balance our work with commercial and more experimental culture projects – but given the choice, we would not have to think about it for a second.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
We are both very interested in many things. Have often work related events that we want to visit, meeting friends and family, hiking or skiing in the mountains. We love music and festivals just like a quiet day in the forest or at the lake. But what should never be lacking is a healthy dose of Humor Simpson. Ha ha haa.
Tell us something important you have learned.
That as a graphic designer you have a responsibility and also should live up to it. This means that one should fight for a best possible result of a project. If you feel that the customer doesn’t speak the same visual language, you should immediately say no. But the most important thing is probably to never lose the joy and passion and exchange with peers to mutually stimulate and develop.
Future plans for the studio?
We want to stay small and flexible and in the future, launch more dream projects or self-initiated projects. Immerse more into the world of books and perhaps also develop an own font. There are already some exciting approaches and projects in the pipeline. To a certain extent we also like to leave things open.