• Allprologue
  • Ap5
  • Ap4
  • Ap3
  • Ap2
  • Bornusa5
  • Lss1
  • Lss2
  • Lss3
  • Lss4
  • Bornusa6
  • Bornusa4
  • Bornusa2
  • Bruceyposter1
  • Bruceyposter2
  • Circle
  • Speaking
Graphic Design

Graduates 2009: Liz Plahn

Posted by Will Hudson,

Liz Plahn is a graphic designer living and working in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She’s also our graduate of the day and studied at the Minneapolis College of Art & Design where she received a BFA in graphic design.

With a passion for design that lies in creating work that explores and combines art, design, literature and research in a cohesive, narrative structures, Liz hopes to incorporate a little travel with her desire to keep learning at a job that she feels passionate about. Hoping to make enough money to get by, Liz is a big believer in karma, so tends to believe that things will fall into place if they’re meant to. We’re sure she’ll be alright as her portfolio already shows…

What did you want to be when you were growing up?

I think I always wanted to be a graphic designer, but it took me a long time before I finally figured out that the things I wanted to do were, in fact, ‘graphic design’. I remember totally loving SPIN magazine’s design in the early 2000’s. They were doing some really interesting things with typography and basic graphic elements, and I remember telling my mother that I wanted to be a part of that. The desire probably started earlier than that, but I think that was the first time design had a big impact on me.

In reflection, how bad was your work in the first year?

I did mostly drawing, illustration and interactive work my first year; I didn’t take a graphic design course until my second year. I would say my work then was very unrefined and I didn’t have much confidence in what I was doing; this was probably because I was drawing a lot and was convinced I was no good at it. I struggled a lot in the beginning, and really questioned whether art school was right for me. My first design class with the brilliant Kindra Murphy was when everything fell into place. I realized that graphic design was the place where all my interest in typography, research and aesthetics collided. From then on I had no doubts that design was what I wanted to be doing, and I’d like to think my work has steadily progressed since.

If you could show a piece of your folio to one person, what piece would you choose, and who would you show it to?

I’d love to just sit down and have coffee with Sophie Calle sometime. I think she’s pretty magical and really admire the honesty and idiosyncrasies found in her work.

If you had your own business, who would you employ and why?

Kevin Wade Shaw and Rob Matthews, because they keep me excited about the possibilities of design and creative thinking.

If you’ve got any left, what will you spend the last of your student loan on?

I don’t have any left, but if I did I would put it towards a vacation to Australia.

Where will we find you in 12 months?

I’ll either be in Minneapolis or have moved to the east coast. I interned at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art last summer, and the experience made me really passionate a career somewhere within in cultural institutions. Above all, my hope is that in a year I’ll be working somewhere, alongside smart and driven people, making things I believe in.

Wh-300

Posted by Will Hudson

Will founded It’s Nice That in 2007 and is now director of the company. Once one of the main contributors to the site he has stepped back from writing as the business has expanded. He is a regular guest on the Studio Audience podcast.

Most Recent: Graphic Design View Archive

  1. Rubenfischer-main-int

    Aha, some “digitale malerei und grafiken von Ruben Fischer,” a new protégé of Eike Konig over at Hort in Berlin. It’s no secret that Eike has spectacular taste in who he hangs around with in terms of design talent, and Ruben is a prime example. His digital collages in fun, primary colours are all untitled, which suggests that he’s not yet doing work for clients and the like. But to see someone crack out posters, record sleeves, identities and illustrations just for the hell of it is fantastic and refreshing. Something tells us Ruben has a unique way of looking at the world, and some computer skills up his sleeve – some very important strengths in this day and age. One to watch for sure.

  2. Jenniferdaniel-portfolio-6-int_copy

    San Francisco-based designer, editor and illustrator Jennifer Daniel manages to combine the difficult beasts of quality and variety, making infographics for Bloomberg, children’s books about space and drawing hot dogs jumping into swimming pools.

  3. The-plant-art-central-4-int-list

    The white marquee walls and immaculate dressers within them at big art fairs feel at odds with anything “frenetic,” but it’s movement and dynamism that have driven the design concept for Art Central’s identity, and boy does it work. London agency The Plant is behind the energy-inspired identity, having worked on similar projects including creating the branding for Art Hong Kong and London Fair Art 15. Art Central is a new fair for Hong Kong launching this month, and cleverly takes the Chinese character for “Central” ( 中 ) as its, well, centre.

  4. Colline-new-list-int

    Tonight sees the launch of a new book by photographer Annie Collinge at Ti Pi Tin bookstore up on Stoke Newington High Street in London. Some of you should get down there, but we appreciate that others of you are perhaps thousands of miles away. So here for your delectation are some spreads from the book and some close-ups of the images within.

  5. Zoo-art-and-music-int-list

    “Each project is an adventure,” says French design agency Zoo. And their enthusiasm shows – the work on their site is fresh, dynamic and brilliantly executed. The visual identity for Musique en Ville, a multi-venue event run by Rosny-sous-bois city council, manages to be hip without losing all-ages appeal, and is adaptable across any season or touchpoint. “We aimed to express ideas of a party and a travelling stage while leaving room for imagination,” says Zoo. “The images show one area with several spots of light; each word is the central point.”

  6. Grilli-type-int-list

    It wasn’t long ago that we were singing the praises of Grilli Type, a foundry looking into new and innovative ways to show off the new typefaces that their designers produce, and coming up with fun and playful mini-sites in the process. Now we’re back to let you know that it has done it again for GT Cinetype, a font designed by Mauro Paolozzi and Rafael Koch, which was inspired by cinematic subtitles.

  7. Currency-post-4-int_copy

    The Royal Mint has unveiled a new coinage portrait of the Queen, only the fifth during her 63-year reign. The new coins, which will go into circulation later this year, feature a portrait designed by engraver Jody Clark selected in a competition hosted by the Royal Mint Advisory Committee. In light of this, we thought we’d have a look at some proposed and actual redesigns of currencies around the world, from age old gold standards to Bitcoins, and abstract pixels to odes to scientific discovery.

  8. Paul-schoemaker-eventburo-int-list

    If nominative determinism had been a stronger force in German designer Paul Schoemaker’s life, perhaps we’d have a cordwainer on our hands. Or feet. Instead, Paul chose a graphic design route, and we’re glad he did.

  9. Paulinelepape-int-main

    Exciting new student alert! Meet Pauline, currently working on her advanced degree in type design at École Estienne in Paris – how glamorous does that sound? It’s rare to find a student with as much consistently fantastic work on their site, and for a while I didn’t actually twig that Pauline was still studying. She’s designed typefaces, had a bash at letter pressing for her business cards, and made some publications that I’d actually buy. The way she represented a bunch of Stéphane Monnot short stories is well-designed without overshadowing the writing, and that publication about the concept of an ornament just looks fantastic. Remember this name: Pauline Le Pape, she’s got big things ahead of her.

  10. Gabriela-maskrey-lapulperia-int-list

    In the two years since we first featured nomadic designer Gabriela Maskrey she’s taken on a lot of new projects and pushed her skills in all sorts of new directions. Originally she was all about editorial design – which it has to be said, she was great at – but she’s recently branched out into branding for Peruvian luxury food company La Pulperia. Her bold serif rendering of the company name coupled with historic imagery referencing Peru’s gastronomic culture combines to satisfying effect, and the addition of hand-drawn icons is a great touch too. All in all a great first foray away from the world of books and magazines.

  11. Freytaganderson-fraher-int-list

    Often the most interesting branding work hinges on a simple twist, and such is the case in this work by Freytag Anderson for Fraher architects. The Scottish studio’s concept revolves around the neat idea of the “F” in the logo doubling up as an architectural floorpan.

    “The intersecting compartments or rooms create a simple graphic device for containing text, images and texture,” the designers say. “A vibrant red accent colour supports the minimal yet functional aesthetic.” Rolled out across stationery, a soon-to-be-launched website and internal presentation documents, it’s a really impressive idea executed to perfection.

  12. Karl-anders-vitra-int-list

    Designing for a design fair must be as much of a dream brief as a terrifying one. But one agency more than up to the task is Hamburg-based Karl Anders, which is behind this brilliant campaign for Vitra’s presence at the Maison et Objet fair in Paris. We can’t get enough of the bright colours, playful art direction and unusual way of presenting the Swiss furniture brand’s products. The concept behind the campaign, Home Complements, is based around the idea of “unexpected outcomes,” hence the gloriously haphazard feel to the display of the products in the photographs, which are shot by Nicolas Haeni and Thomas Rousset. It looks brilliant, and marks a nice departure from the more serious look interiors brands often go for.

  13. Bdb-portfolio-7-int

    Amsterdam-based designer Bart de Baets has been making great work for ages, and 2014 was no exception. There are conference posters for the Goethe Institute, brochures for architecture pavilions and a really nice record sleeve for Melbourne-based band Total Control. Bart manages to combine minimal line work and graphic humour with a vast frame of reference and really great colour-ways. There are also slugs kissing.