When thinking of graphic design studios it’s customary to imagine rows of neatly arranged, neatly dressed bespectacled types hunched over Macs – minimal techno turned down low on the stereo – sharing the occasional joke about kerning. All are immaculately dressed. How else could design happen? It’s a serious business after all.
Berlin-based design studio Hort is the antithesis of this paradigm, embracing the unconventional and creating work in an atmosphere that is neither structured nor severe; which is the way Eike König likes it. “Who the hell is Eike?” it asks on their website, Eike is the founder of Hort, and also the man behind their now legendary approach to design. He’s a man with a reputation for being off the wall, both in the work he creates and the ethos of his studio, “a place where work and play can be said in the same sentence.”
Since 1994 Hort has been at the forefront of graphic design, producing work that is both exciting and surprising given the clients they’ve taken on. The studio is equally comfortable working for sportswear giants like Nike as it is running workshops to educate the next generation of visual thinkers.
In April of 2012 Eike and Alexander Lis launched After School Club, a week-long festival of graphic design aimed at filling the void left open by lengthy breaks in undergraduate education. The premise was to encourage students to continually share and collaborate outside of the classroom and the structure of their university term, nurturing their own creativity and developing ideas of their own.
At Here Eike will discuss the unusual ethos of his studio, his attitudes to design and the importance of maintaining a sense of fun within his team. As his interns say “Hort is not a place, it’s a feeling…”