fr/en Cobbenhagen Hendriksen
In 2008, the students of the Werkplaats Typografie asked you this question: ‘Do you have any other goals besides continuing with your studio?’To which you answered: ‘this question almost depressed us (…) we imagined still being in the same studio 20 years from now and that frightened us and felt suffocating. So, yes, we probably have lots of other goals, but those will become clear as we go along.’(1) And here you are, with the You Are Cordially Invited project… How did you get there? When did you feel the need to build something else? Why an art magazine?
Good question. Well… because we are working mainly for commissioners from the cultural field and contemporary art. And we have been working for magazines on contemporary art in the Netherlands, we created the All About Art magazine, a pilot project for a younger audience. And we thought it was a good idea to make a magazine on contemporary art for younger people! We were really enthusiastic about making this magazine, but of course we were only doing the design and not the content. Then we received the content and we were disappointed by the tone and the quality. They did it too quickly, it was not well thought out. We had so many ideas on this topic and we couldn’t carry them through. After analyzing it, we understood that the problem with contemporary art magazines is that it is always the same imagery. If you go to an exhibition and ask for an image, you always get the same, the press releases. And you see these images in all the magazines. In Holland, there are only three magazines and they all have the same image. You don’t take the time to look at the image anymore, you just recognize and associate it with that exhibition. They sent out the same press pack everywhere and that is the problem. So then we though: if you have an art academy, you have all the disciplines — you have fashion, architecture design, graphic design — everything is connected in a certain way. So why then in a fashion magazine, in comparison with contemporary art magazine, you do make images specially for the content of the magazine. That is really specific, you do a shoot for a magazine, which takes a few days and involves a whole team. Why does that happen in fashion but not in contemporary art? Since nobody was doing it, we said to ourselves that it was up to us.
Usually, the graphic designer makes the link between form and content, but here, you are the author of the content. How does it reflect on the choice of design?
When you already know so much of the content it is not as if you had
to research the content, and what is it about… Here we were so far along the process that when the content is added, the design is there as well, without really thinking about it. We only had to think what typeface suited.
What other interests do you have outside graphic design?
Contemporary art… and contemporary art, and contemporary art.
Chantal : Also type design. Society.
Marijke : If it is about inspiration, inspiration can be anywhere.
Do you have personal projects besides those commissioned, such as research?
The magazine is basically it. We did a poster series two years ago,
an alphabet. That was another side project that we did for ourselves.
Did you ever get the chance to use these for professional projects?
The You Are Cordially Invited project, was not just for fun. We thought
about its professional possibilities from the beginning. On the other hand, the poster series was more personal, the idea behind the poster series was to talk about our work for a lecture, and then we made it into a series which can be sold, so that was different.
Have you experimented with principles in a project that you would like to develop through future projects?
There is always something that you take from one project as a starting point for the next. Things are always connected. Lots of things come to light during a project and you can dip into them for the next.
So what are the links between all of your projects?
I think you can’t see that anymore, or maybe we can’t.
It is unconscious then.
Yes, and it is better if it is that way.
Let’s talk about the importance of detail in your work. When does this concern come up in your design process?
They kind of impose themselves. You have to think about them from the beginning because they make the idea better. It is part of the process. Otherwise, most of the time you miss out on things. But some details really will appear at the end. The same thing goes for printing, because the quality of the print is very important for a lot of projects.
Do you have any advice for a young graphic designer?
Keep on being aware of what is going on, of your surroundings and the difficulties, it is really important. Don’t worry, just make really nice things, enjoy! Don’t ever sit and wait. If there is no work just create something.