“I often I have the impression that there is something inside of me, that designs, that shows the way,” this is how Susanne Keuschnig, our latest interview guest, describes the design process. The young woman is the owner of (Büro) Für Gestaltung, a studio for visual communication in Vienna’s fourth district. We met Susanne and talked with her about her design approach, finishing techniques, one of her latest projects – the Munken 600 postcard series – as well as her new refuge in the Carinthian mountains.
Can you briefly introduce yourself and (Büro) Für Gestaltung?
Being Austrian, I first went to Italy (Accademia di Design Bolzano) and then to Germany (HGB Leipzig) to study visual communication. After 9 years living and working abroad, I opened (Büro) Für Gestaltung in Vienna in 2009, which is a continuation of my free-lance work in Leipzig from 2006-2008. I offer design consulting, communication strategy, conception and design for companies, institutions and creative artists. My network, which consists of copywriters, photographers, programmers, product designers etc., allows me to put together the most suitable teams and to respond flexibly to diverse requirements. High demands with respect to concept, design, typography and production are the basis of our work.
Inside (Büro) Für Gestaltung in Vienna’s fourth district
How would you describe your style?
I work „from inside out“. This means, concerns and topics are analyzed and condensed. The holistic strategies which result from this process are then put into action. No matter if corporate, exhibition, poster, website or book design – I am primarily interested in the individual person and his/her idea. This means, I don’t have any strict visual style…it is about immersing myself into the world, which needs to be understood and communicated. Solid handicraft builds the basis and allows me to take a deep breath and dive far. Diving is generally a very fitting word. It describes the feeling of the creative process very well.
You like to experiment with different printing and finishing techniques. Which are your favorites when it comes to paper? Or which do you consider very trendy at the moment?
I don’t know which techniques are very trendy at the moment…however, if I decide to use finishing techniques, they need to fit to the project. I am not fond of using materials or techniques as an end in themselves. If I have to choose my favorite technique, I would go for embossing in all of its facets.
Among other things, you are specialized in editorial and book design. We recently blogged about Massimo Vignelli’s grid-centric approach. What is your design approach?
During my studies „Grid Systems“ by Josef Müller-Brockmann was one the books we had to read. We were told it is a “bible”. Well, I think we all know that it is not always that easy to stick to the Ten Commandments. Nevertheless, I think it is advantageous to base your work on a structure. We designers are always asked to put “piles” of images, texts, materials etc. in order. How this order looks exactly, depends from project to project. If the concept (the “brain-work”) is done, a process of letting go starts, where I don’t think and “only design”. You could say the “gut-work” starts. I am not a person who looks around a lot – I like to look for solutions inside myself….often I have the impression that there is something inside of me, that designs, that shows the way. Ideas come and go and I capture them and play with them…If this succeeds, I can be sure, that something good is emerging.
Corporate design & postcard series for photographer Philipp Rank (Vienna)
You designed the Munken 600 postcard series for Arctic Paper and Europapier. Each card was printed by a different printer and with a different printing & finishing techniques. What was the idea behind this project? And which is your favorite card?
My favorite card? That is hard to say…it changes with my mood…if I had to chose today, I would go for “Throw Gold And Silver Over Me”. We should do that more often – mentally throw gold and silver over ourselves. The idea behind this postcard series was to transform statements, which I personally believe in or which have accompanied me during my life, into typography in order to evoke a spectrum of feelings. From quiet to loud, with a smile on the lips or serious – and sometimes all together. It is very rare to have complete freedom of design and content: Thank you for that!
Munken 600 postcard series for Arctic Paper & Europapier (Vienna) – using offset, laser cutting, screen printing, soft feel, letterpress, hot foil stamping
Do you remember the first post card you ever sent? Or from where did you send your last post card?
I cannot remember my first postcard anymore. I sent my last postcard from Venice. I was there for the Biennale and wrote the postcard to my grand parents living in the Carinthian mountains while eating delicious Spaghetti Vongole in a hidden green patio in the evening.
Which is the most beautiful/greatest book in your opinion?
Another hard question :). Is it possible to abstain? I think, I would rather abstain. I really cannot decide and would not want to tie myself down.
New Leipzig, artist book for Silke Koch (Berlin) together with Franziska Becker
Rock My Tradition, art catalogue for Silke Koch (Berlin) together with Franziska Becker
Whom would you love to meet and what would you ask this person? I would love to meet myself and ask myself if I am totally „gaga“ 🙂
What do you like to do if you are not working?
I am famous for cooking and inviting everybody around me to dinner….Cooking relaxes me and is an earthing activity. I need the retreat in my home from the hustle and bustle– having a place where I can recharge my batteries, is important to me. For this reason I am planning my new refuge: the wonderful old house of my great-great-aunt in the Carinthian mountains is now mine and will be repaired bit by bit. My plan is to mainly live in the mountains during the warm months. I hope to be planting the garden and serving food underneath the trees already next summer.
Architektur In Dessau, exhibiton and stationery design for HGB Leipzig & Bauhaus Dessau with Franziska Becker and Valerie Mohr
Dear Susanne, thank you very much for the interview!