Deutsche & Japaner
What are your backgrounds and how did you get into design?
We are four partners at D&J. Everyone is a designer but with different backgrounds. So we have graphic design, scenography, product design and editorial.
How and when was Deutsche & Japaner founded?
We met by coincidence, David and Julian moved into the studio where Moritz and Ina already worked. So we have been studio mates in the beginning. After a few months we joined forces to D&J. That was end of 2010.
Can you describe the design philosophy of your company?
With our interdisciplinary approach we are always trying to cross the lines. Collaborations with other creatives are also very important for us. We think if you team up with the right people you will be able to work on every project in every discipline.
How do you normally take on new projects?
Understanding the clients’ needs and visions is the base for a detailed research and a convincing concept. We start the creative work with the whole team to have the biggest range of perspectives. Execution and design work will be done then in smaller units.
What are your influences and how does it affect your work?
It is always our aspiration to create work that fits into its time but is also consistent enough to survive time and trends. So our influences are contemporary art and design, but also the task itself and everything else beside that: culture, sports, history, zeitgeist, etc.
What drives you to create, and how do you stay motivated over time?
Being or staying motivated is not a problem as we are all passionate creators and if you are self-employed and work to build up something by yourself, you get paid back a hundred times. We love what we do, that makes it more easy.
You’re based out of Mannheim, Germany. As a creative agency, what are the pros and cons compared to cities like Berlin or Munich?
Mannheim is a small city with an industrial touch. Hard to compare with european metropoles like Berlin for example where the level of energy, inspiration and creative culture is very high. Being based in Mannheim means on the one hand having space to breath and to develop with your own speed and pressure. But on the other hand the influences are limited and you always have to compensate that to keep pace with the international scene. Traveling a lot, in real or in the web is obligatory to get enough input, inspiration and possibilities to exchange and talk with other people.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
As said before, traveling is a must and a joy of course. The other interests are quite different here, as we are 4 partners: food, family, cars, wine, boats, yoga, movies … the list is long.
As designers – what are your main subjects of interest?
Everything is connected and melts together. We don’t separate our lives into one as a designer and one as none. We are curious in general and the fields of interests are wide open. Every experience can influence our work. But the main areas are of course other creative fields like design, art, photography, architecture, music, writing …
Tell us something important you have learned.
In art school you learn how to design but not how to explain and present it to people who don’t have a design background or knowledge. When we started the studio we found out pretty fast that this is an important part of a creative process. Over the last years we learned better and better how to involve the client and take him by the hand to let him follow all steps of the creative process. That’s really helpful. For us, for the client and for the result as well.
If you had to choose a different profession, what would it be?
Oh, difficult question. I think it would in any case have something to do with creation, consulting, artistic ability. Maybe something in a circus, haha.
What’s in the future for D&J?
We hope that the present will proceed like it is or maybe a bit brighter.
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