Fresh from design school, Graz born creative Stefanie Brückler moved across the Atlantic to start her career as a graphic designer by joining the creative agency High Tide. While mainly working online she likes to log off to find inspiration in the city that surrounds her, the great outdoors, old books and studying the layouts and typography of old magazines. It’s all about the balance – she says.
One Day in Paradise. Creative Individuality Amongst the Crowd. – Bachelor’s Thesis by Stefanie Brückler
Design&Paper: Hi Stefanie. Would you like to start off by telling us who you are and what you do?
Stefanie Brückler: I’m Stefanie, a designer from Austria, working at High Tide in New York. I’m primarily working in the fields of graphic design, branding and editorial design. My work involves print as well as web design. I’m passionate about typography, grids and creating strong brands. I also enjoy doing side projects where I’m incorporating hand-lettering, illustration and crafting things by hand.
D&P: After graduation you left your home town Graz and moved to the big apple to join High Tide. What’s the story behind that?
S.B.:For our final semester at university we had to do a mandatory internship. As I always wanted to go abroad anyway, I thought „Why not just try it?“. So I applied at High Tide and it worked out. After 3 months of interning there it seemed like a good fit for both the studio and me. So I flew to Austria to graduate and shortly after went back to New York to work there full-time.
Helix Sleep Packaging and Collateral
D&P: Now living in the most vibrant city of the world, how has it influenced your life and work?
S.B.:New York offers endless possibilities and you never get bored. It’s a great city to explore and still very overwhelming at times. That said, I have less time for doing things I want to do like practicing my illustration and lettering skills as well as doing side projects in general. As it is a very fast-paced city and new things pop up all the time, it is definitely a great place to find inspiration.
D&P: And where exactly do you find that inspiration?
S.B.: I find inspiration pretty much everywhere. I love to travel, get to know different countries and be outdoors. I find that very inspiring, especially if I meet new people! Of course I also find inspiration on various internet platforms, but mostly you see the same things over and over again. That’s why I enjoy flicking through books, especially older ones. You can always find very interesting typography, layouts and designs. I also have tons of magazines! I love to absorb every single page, study the layout of type and images and admire the art direction and setting of every picture. I also draw a lot of inspiration from photography and art. I enjoy going to museums and galleries. Despite the huge variety here in New York I don’t find the time to go to exhibitions that often.
Tage der Verführung for Kastner & Öhler
D&P: Your style is very clean and contemporary, with a keen eye for balance. Is this an aesthetic you personally advocate, or is it one that’s created after clients wishes?
S.B.: The aesthetic you can see throughout my work is definitely something I personally strive for, but of course it has to cater the needs of the client and fit to the project, too. It’s all about the balance.
D&P: And when you get a new project, what’s the first thing you do? Would you talk us through your design process. How does an idea transform in to the final design?
S.B.: The first step is always research. I try to get familiar with the client/company and the project’s needs. If it’s for example a branding/web/packaging project I also do some research on the client’s competitors. I find out which other companies are operating in that particular field and how their design looks like and ask myself how or what can be improved and how these findings relate to the project. Next, I gather some visual inspiration and mostly I create moodboards too. After that I dig into sketching and developing first designs. If I find something that works and fits, I move on with improving upon the designs and refining them. In this process I love having feedback on my work. Especially if you’re totally immersed in the project it helps a lot to get a second opinion. Depending on the type of project I need less or more feedback. And then it’s really just honing down the designs until I feel it’s there.
This is the Beginning of Anything We Want – A book of typographic paper cut designs.
D&P: “This is the Beginning of Anything We Want” project is an absolute beauty. Would you tell us a little more about the idea and making of?
S.B.: “This is the Beginning of Anything We Want.“ is a side project of mine that basically gathers every journey, city trip and event that was important to me in 2013. Having travelled for some time, gaining new experiences and meeting inspiring people, I decided to capture these memories in a little book and express my thoughts in a typographical way. My aim was to give each memory it’s own space and therefore created a lettering piece for each chapter. The book consists of 25 lettering pieces and a bunch of photos. I wanted it to feel very personal, so I chose to cut out every lettering piece by hand and also do the coptic binding myself. It was pretty crazy and a lot of work. It took me ages to cut all the letterings out, and as I’m in love with the details I had to start over again a few times … But in the end it paid off, and I think it turned out quite nice!
D&P: Oh, you’re modest, we’d say it turned out spectacular! We also share your love towards food, travel and fashion. How does these interests show in your work? You have a few designs inspired by traveling, would you consider it as a common theme in your work?
S.B.: Traveling has always been an important part in my life. I love to explore different cultures and new places. It inspires me a lot. That’s why this theme shows up frequently in my side projects. It’s my way to reflect on it.
Medamothi Planum CD packaging design
D&P: As we at D&P are paper nuts, we have to ask. What does paper mean to you as a material?
S.B.: Paper is a very important material for me. As a kid I had a huge collection of different paper samples that I gathered in a big box. I enjoyed crafting a lot! And until today this hasn’t changed much. I love paper! All those colors and textures! I love working with that. Choosing the right paper and shade is one of my favorite parts during print projects.
D&P: As a young designer in the beginning of her career, would you share your dreams and aspirations? Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
S.B.: That’s a tough question, but what I can say for sure is that I definitely want to get better at what I do, grow creatively, learn about other creative fields and techniques, gain new experiences and skills. I’d like to create more and more interesting work that people enjoy seeing and using.
Lago di Garda book full of photographs, illustrations and lettering design.
D&P: We’ll look forward of seeing your future work. Before we wrap things up, I got a few more things I’d like to know. Example, what’s the thing you miss the most about living in Austria?
S.B.: It’s the food! Austrian food is so good, it’s hard for me to replicate it with the ingredients I find here, but I’m trying!
D&P: All time favourite christmas gift you’ve got?
S.B.: Hmmm I can’t really think of a specific gift, but for me the best thing for christmas is seeing my whole family on christmas day. Seeing them all and having a good time is the best gift you can ask for christmas, right?
D&P: You are absolutely right about that! To wrap things up, and as the year, and this interview, is coming to its end do you have any new year resolutions?
S.B.: Oh yes! I definitely want to spend more time next year illustrating and doing letterings in my spare time, which I haven’t done a lot this year. And as I’m a pretty curious person, I would also like to explore different disciplines I’m interested in and acquire new skills!
D&P: Thank you Stefanie for taking the time to answer all our questions, without doubt we’ll be keeping a keen eye on your future endeavours. Happy Holidays!
Images ©️ Stefanie Brückler