Based between two cities known for their typographic prowess, Berlin and Zurich, the multidisciplinary design studio Burrow offers its clients strong typographic solutions with each brief. Philipp Koller, Lukas Küng and Giulia Schelm started collaborating back in university, and a few projects later followed by a design degree, the trio founded Burrow as a way to continue their shared endeavours.
Covering typography, photography, creative coding, web development and more, Burrow additionally operates as a full service design studio, offering its expertise in print medias across its design projects. Enviably, Burrow’s studio also boasts a silk screen printing studio, a photo studio and an object based workshop to comply with their client’s demands. Built on a mutual trust, the designers of Burrow specialise in one or two different subjects besides classical screen design, lending their various subjects of expertise to one another in the appropriate time of need.
“We follow the design principles outlined by each brief and use it as an opportunity to progress and deepen our extracurricular skillset as designers” explains Giulia. Beyond this multi-disciplinary approach however, presently the studio is particularly interested in designing custom typefaces while also venturing into the design of multilingual publications and identities. In a design for the book Der Vierte Pol or “The Fourth Pole”, referring to the deepest point in the earth, Burrow designs a publication which also functions as an expedition diary. While Mount Everest is known as the third pole as the highest point on earth, the publication focusses on the enigmatic fourth, devising four distinct reading journeys for the four languages featured inside – English, German, Arabic and Hebrew.
Constantly adapting to the new creative circumstances through design, Burrow is dedicated to an ethos that constantly rebuilds itself and adapts according to the brief, as well as the designers’ needs. In one instance, the studio received 300 objects shipped over from a graveyard in the Philippines in order for the designers to create an artefact-centred website. “We conceptualise, investigate, learn whatever we need to, up to the point where we can utilise our newly developed skills to realise a project,” Philipp tells It’s Nice That.
Exemplified through three recent projects, the founding designers of Burrow first talk us through the visual and exhibition identity for The Swissness Applied. Investigating the American town of New Glarus from an architectural perspective, the exhibition looks at New Glarus as an example of the contemporary social transformation on a global scale. Founded by Swiss immigrants in 1845, the visual identity adopts the graphic language of this heritage. Employing calligraphic blackletter fonts to mimic the “Swissifying” of house styles during the 1950’s, Burrow then developed a custom blackletter typeface which in turn, forms the main component of the visual identity.
In another exhibition design, the designers aptly create a visual language to accompany Schlosskinder, meaning “castle children” in English. It explores the neglected chapter of a German castle’s history which was temporarily used as a children’s home in the 1950s. As a result, Burrow created a typeface which nods to the baroque era (when the castle was built) while simultaneously incorporates an element of playfulness through its rounded counters which harks back to the castle’s purpose of a children’s home.
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. Feel free to drop Jyni a note if you have an exciting story for the site.