Design is often seen as an industry full of eccentric personalities and exceptional, unique talent. Although the myth of single genius designers looms large in practice, its art is often far more collaborative. The most dynamic and fruitful creative relationships underpin what makes design today exceptionally dynamic and, most importantly, what shapes the landscape for the industry of the future.
In an illuminating conversation led by Egle Karalyte, we peek into the behind-the-scenes of one of our industry’s most intriguing, future-proof partnerships.
David Rindlisbacher is a graphic and type designer, currently based in Lisbon. Maximilian Mauracher is an award-winning graphic designer and art director based in Berlin, plus the co-founder of New Standard Studio—a sustainable and environmentally conscious communications design studio.
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Egle: The work that you guys do is very interesting! Would you mind kind of introducing yourselves? And then we’ll jump into questions.
David: I’m David. I am Swiss and Portuguese, but I live in Lisbon. I studied in Switzerland, in Bern, and I’ve been living in Lisbon ever since I graduated from university. I was looking for work and sent out applications to my favorite studios but I didn’t have any luck. And then one day, I saw that Max posted a story on Instagram. He was looking for somebody to help him with his work part-time.
Max: Well, it was love at first. David sent me his portfolio and I had a look and I was like, “Oh, there are actually quite a lot of works where I wish I would’ve done that!” That’s a big compliment from designer to designer. We decided to work together and it’s been a really smooth collaboration where I think we both managed to kind of play with our strengths and our expertise.
David: It worked out. We started developing some projects together. And that was more than two years ago now. Time goes by so fast!
Egle: I see you’ve worked on multiple projects together. Do you think it’s beneficial for artists to join forces? How do you choose the right partner?
Max: We usually split the workload. We both get out of it what we want but, at the same time, we keep learning more within our fields. Also, our projects are quite diverse, from books to websites, to anything printed or anything digital, to an AR (Augmented Reality) app, which we did last year. I think we’re definitely crossing boundaries and media, which is quite fun. Lots of it are things we do for the first time, but I think it’s exactly this kind of curiosity or mentality that then brings out that really strong project.
Egle: I was actually listening to your radio station, just before this meeting to get into the groove. I really like the style!
Together, David and Max have a joint project called, /100 (Of Hundred)—an “erratic radio show” that gives select contributors and friend artists a platform to showcase their experiments with sound. Each episode takes part in an ongoing, everlasting archive that marries together the ephemeral and intangible conditions of otherwise free-floating sound waves.
A closer look into /100, and one can catch sight of typography’s influence in the work this duo delivers. According to David, “the mixing of “grotesque typefaces with the custom lettering of the numbers ‘00’” allows the letterforms to bleed out of their original forms and, in turn, embody a more illustrative function. The result alludes to the mechanism of a cassette.
Alongside the typography, 3D line-art illustrations of different objects enhance the graphic system and tie in the elements together through the lineweight which “is proportional to the thinnest typeface weight used in the website.”
Egle: David, you are a type designer. Is it your personal passion or do you both like to use typography and integrate it into projects?
David: I guess it kind of depends what you mean with typography, just working with type-based solutions for design, or really type design, or both. But yeah, for sure, my first instinct is always to work with typography, and that’s maybe because I studied in Switzerland, or maybe it’s just a natural impulse.
Max: I sometimes have to push him to use more than just topography.
Max: But it kind of works out in the end. Our AR project, ENT005, for example, was actually interesting because at first we were only doing artwork for a vinyl record and it was only typo. Then, at some point, we had the idea to basically bring in an artist I know, who’s also based in Berlin. And then this 3D artist, who basically jumped on board with the project. We didn’t only create one artwork, but basically a loop, a 3D model that was constantly changing and evolving and transforming. From then on, we created this AR app, which started as, more or less, as a digital version of the vinyl, and in the end, it also became a 16-page booklet, which you can scan with your phone and it triggers both sound and AR.
Featured in Future is Now of Style Cards Vol. 2, ENT005 is a limited edition, double transparent 12” vinyl, which can be also streamed via an AR application (only available for iOS), along with a 16-page booklet to celebrate the release of ENTKUNSTUNG‘s firth record.
Egle: Can you tell us more about your work we selected for the Brand Cards 2021 edition. Who was this created for, and what was your inspiration?
Max: I think it was a fruitful collaboration for everybody involved. It wasn’t just us; it was also the artist from the AR studio. Of course, there was a music producer and so many other people involved. I think it’s especially this kind of project where we are already very used to collaborating, but then, when we bring in more people, it’s like bringing the project to the next level.
Egle: Yes! I love the way you mixed the media with that unusual style, really, like 3D work. It’s just so original and so futuristic. I also really love that cosmic feel that it has. Where did the inspiration for this work come from? Why did you choose to mix that particular media?
Max: I mean, first of all, I know the artist, so I’m probably a bit biased, but he was doing 3D scans of nature. He was in the Amazon forest, I think last year. He basically scanned the surroundings, plants, and other objects in nature and modified them. From then, these weird objects or weird shapes, or sculptures, evolved and came to be. The whole music project itself is quite conceptual, so pairing the really minimal graphic design or typography makes for an interesting kind of contrast.
ENT005’s AR app showcases the vision and synergism of the interactive visuals by Berlin-based artist, Herwig Scherabon, creating a unique listening experience of the eight-track album, “Fun ist ein Stahlbad,” which deliberately oscillates between Ambient and Techno genres.
Egle: It’s great when we can push the boundaries, right? Of both the media we’re using and the project itself. It’s always so fulfilling and rewarding, isn’t it?
David: And these projects are super rare as well, I think. This was the first time that I had ever worked on a project where I was told, “Just do it, don’t think about budget, don’t think about any limitations, we can deal with that later. Just think about what would be your dream project.” And that’s something that’s obviously not very common and not always possible, or very rarely possible. It’s just about finding or creating the space for it yourself; to have that sort of project and to have that sort of freedom as well, working within that project. That’s a really cool thing to be a part of.
Egle: ENT005 embraces augmented reality. Where do you think augmented reality will take the design in the near future?
Max: I would say AR apps are still quite a new thing. Of course, there’s still a lot of technical limitations and we unfortunately also experienced that because, actually, the 3D models would’ve been super complex and we have a lot of thoughts and points. So we really had to simplify everything to make it work on new phones and also older phones. I think the experience is still quite unique, especially how sound, movement, and the 3D model all work together: how you can move around, how you can move through the 3D animation, or its movement depending on the sound.
Egle: Max, you focus on branding as well. What do you think are the qualities of the next generation brand?
Max: I think it has to be fluid. Of course, there have to be certain, let’s say, fixed elements or elements that are consistent so that people can recognize them. But, at the same time, with the rise of new technologies, of new channels and new media, I think it’s more important than ever that a brand is able to be flexible and adapt to that progress while having that recognizable feeling, no matter how it’s visually presented. I would say brands should build a comprehensive toolkit with elements they can play with. It has to be modular.
David: Yeah, just like Max said “fluid,” I’m thinking “flexible,” as well. Especially when you talk about augmented reality. I wrote my bachelor’s thesis on that. When I was doing my research, there were all these predictions of what the future of augmented reality would be like in five to ten years. I don’t know if the pandemic changed any of those predictions, but for a brand you never know what the formats are going to be like. So, I guess, the one thing you need is that one recognizable identity, regardless of where it’s presented.
Egle: What is going to be your next joint project? What are you the most excited about at the moment?
Max: A lot of projects. As you mentioned before, the radio platform /100, we have book projects, we have exhibition projects… Stuff like that where we are kind of our own clients. And that’s pretty nice.
Max: That’s actually very nice. Finding a balance between working for other people and working for yourself. That balance between having complete artistic freedom and working within certain boundaries. Of course, both can be very interesting and rewarding. I think it’s really having that kind of mix of focusing on what we actually really want to work and want to spend our time on.
Egle: Yes. I think we need both, right?
David: Yeah. So the work that’s more fun, where we have more freedom is not really possible without the other, the more commercial stuff, the stuff that pays more.
David: And by having that, we then have the privilege as well of being able to do the other kind of work.
Egle: Exactly. One feeds the other.
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PRINT & DIGITAL
Style Cards Vol. 2
Use this set of 135 design cards to explore visual trends, define a brand’s look and feel, gamify design workshops, and enhance moodboards. These cards contain works of modern designers and are curated into 10 themes that reflect the world’s visual trends.