Interview with:Studio Studio
Ghent, the second largest city in Flanders and the Belgian city with the country’s highest concentration of listed buildings, is home to approximately 250,000 people and 23 museums. Having risen to prominence in the Middle Ages thanks to the cloth trade, it now frequently produces new design talents in the fields of fashion, interior design, film, and visual communication, thanks to institutions such as the Royal Academy of Fine Arts (KASK) and the Luca School of Arts (LUCA). We asked four graphically oriented Ghent-based design studios about their work, their influences, and the local places where they find inspiration.
Year of foundation: 2014
Number of employees: 2
Education: KASK, master degree in graphic Design
Collaboration partners: Cultuurplatform Design (Hasselt), Z33 (Hasselt), Vlaams Fruit (theatre Antwerp), Kavka (youth centre Antwerp), MAD (Mode and Design Centre Brussels), By Vanharten (fashion, The Hague), Nike
Creative influence: artists like Ellsworth Kelly, Sol LeWitt, Daniel Buren, Richard Serra, Donald Judd and Frank Stella; De Stijl movement with Theo van Doesburg, Piet Mondriaan and Gerrit Rietveld; graphic designers like Karel Martens, Josef Müller-Brockmann, Lance Wyman, Jan Tschichold, Mevis and Van Deursen
What do you think is special about the design scene in Ghent?
Ghent has two big art academies and a lot of students. Young people come from everywhere, even from abroad, to study in Ghent. I think this mix of different cultures is somehow related to the designs coming from Ghent. Ghent is attractive due to its authentic and historic character. I have lived here all my life. For my project “The Graphic Nomad”, I tried to escape my comfort zone and see what other cities in Europe have to offer in the field of graphic design. I soon realised that Ghent really has an exceptionally creative vibe. There is not so much of an establishment yet, so you feel that there are a lot of opportunities and no boundaries. That is what keeps me and my team at Studio Studio fresh and energised to make new connections, meet new people, and do lots of new work in this city.
How did your visual language evolve?
Our visual language is always a simplification of a subject. We try to give simple solutions and really focus on the essence of a subject by creating a context that makes things clear and simple, no fuss. In every project, we love to start with a well-thought-out concept. Brightness in colours, clear shapes, and playing with compositions is something that we link to this concept – never in a decorative way, it always has to make a certain sense to the story we’re telling. After this process, when everything starts to make sense for us, we often mix things up, experiment with the developed elements or try to add some second layers to the design. That last part is actually our favourite part of the process, where things come together in a way that surprises ourselves and our customers.
Are there any influences shaping your working methods and style?
We like to canalise interesting work for our blog anothergraphic.tumblr.com . This way we keep ourselves and our subscribers informed about the best of the current graphic developments.
What would be your ideal project?
We would have to say: a new visual identity for the MoMA.