Astrid Seme elevates an artist’s work by challenging it through the lens of design
- Jyni Ong
- 18 July 2019
Graphic designer Astrid Seme always treats the content of her work with the highest esteem. The one-woman studio based in Vienna, Austria, has a research-based practice and works in several fields across the discipline of graphic design; from art direction to web, print and space. Most recently, she collaborated with the Austrian artist Marlene Hausegger to develop an exhibition design to go alongside her latest solo show.
Taking place at Graz’s national library, the exhibition design ties in closely with Marlene’s artistic practice. “For the graphics,” explains Astrid, “my aim was not to add something new but to create a design that provides a stage for her work.” The posters delicately display the necessary information while offering “blank” sheets of paper as a challenge for Marlene to then draw on. Additionally designed to be installed quickly at any orientation, the posters peppered throughout the show work both as a “wall art” as well as signage.
Marlene responded by drawing on the posters with a variety of gestural marks. Bold and impulsive graphite marks form much of the poster’s overall compositions, some lines more reminiscent of everyday objects than others. As a result, the collaborative duo created 100 unique posters for the exhibition and a similar working method was also adapted for the exhibition booklet design.
“Despite a major presence of animated posters in graphic design at the moment,” says the designer, “My aim was to switch the seemingly old fashioned printed poster into something diverse by using simple analogue techniques.” When working with an artist to create a design outcome, Astrid consistently challenges herself to present the artist’s work in new media.
“The question is not ‘how can I use the artistic imagery that already exists?’ but how does the artist respond to the specific rules and framework that I develop within the design process,” Astrid tells It’s Nice That. With this intention in mind, Astrid’s work often results in a collection of joyful experiments and unexpected results produced out of close collaboration. “But of course,” the designer adds, “this way of working also needs a mutual trust within each other’s discipline.”
About the Author
Jyni joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in August 2018 after graduating from The Glasgow School of Art’s Communication Design degree. In March 2019 she became a staff writer and in June 2021, she was made associate editor.