Daniel Peter adds colour and personality to traditional Swiss graphic design
We catch up with the designer to hear about his recent endeavours, taking form in playful exhibition design and modular identities.
- Ayla Angelos
- 15 December 2020
- Reading Time
- 4 minute read
We’ve recently learned that much can happen in the space of one year, let alone the space of eight. When we last spoke to Daniel Peter, it was the year of 2012 and he’d already shown us great skill when it came to designing a variety of typographically centred posters. Returning to the site eight years later, the Swiss graphic designer has since moved to a new city, and has worked for various agencies with two friends under the guise of Studio Feixen. He’s also worked as a freelancer for a few years now, engaging in multiple disciplines and teaching as design schools.
When asked whether or not he thinks his style has evolved in any way, he responds saying: “hopefully”. Alongside gaining confidence in designing and working with clients, Daniel’s methodology has matured into one that sees him sustain a fun sensibility – twisting traditional Swiss design into something that’s much more playful. Of course, there's still a touch of that characteristic Swiss accuracy and functionality, and what’s even greater is his devotion to work across mediums, combining analogue techniques with those that are more digital. “This enriches my relaxed approach to commissioned work and freelance projects,” he tells It’s Nice That.
When taking on any given project, not only does Daniel seek out unchartered territory, he also looks for those that focus on “good cooperation” between everyone involved. This is important for the success of the project, as well as the relationship between each collaborator – be it the exchange with clients, friends from different design disciplines or the design students he works with. Poster design, too, is still a focus point to the designer’s portfolio, and recently he’s been involved in exhibition projects at the Graphic Design Festival Weltformat. “Last autumn, for example, we planned an exhibition with over 3,000 screen-printed posters,” he says. “Such contacts with very different design attitudes inspire me a lot.”
Alongside this, Daniel has been working in a 30-person strong studio house with those spanning design, architecture, photography, film and programming. For the last two years, there’s been a great level of community spirit whereby someone from the house cooks lunch for everyone – which has sadly been paused since the pandemic took hold of social mixing. Otherwise, his day is usually spent planning free spaces to then fill with his own projects, as seen in the animated typography experiments Motion Type, plus the calendar letterpress project and the Risograph print posters, “which were originally a colour test for a client.”
Motion Type sees a series of short, black and white clips come together in a playful use of type and moving image – the result of which is a thorough investigation into the ways that moving typography can alter perception and legibility. In other news, Daniel recently created the identity for an exhibition at the Alpines Museum der Schweiz, featuring a “lost and found” element that encourages its visitors to participate. Here, visitors can discover the stories behind certain ski objects and they are invited to fill in the gaps.
When it came to designing the identity, Daniel chose to dive into the concept of a memory. “We picked up on this with the memory bubble, which dynamically adapts in shape,” he says. “In this way, we were able to convey a wide variety of content on the subject of skiing.” Proceeding with colour blocks and distinctive shapes, the identity is one that needs to be modular, as its contents are to be transferred to other topics too, such as the upcoming content on Women in the Alps.
Then there’s the design for Enthusiastic Approval, a gallery based in Zurich. The outcome sees a creative take on a gallery that specialises in Bauhaus and design objects of early modernism and functionalism. “The design is oriented towards the technical achievements of the time,” says Daniel, pointing out how the basic elements of the identity features stretchable and interchangeable parts. “This means that illustrations can be created from the logo to represent the various design epochs.”
As seen in these recent works as well as projects from his past, it’s clear that Daniel has a knack for creating flexible, functional design. But with it, he adds his own signature mark and finishes up each and every brief with flair and personality. We’re sure that we will hear from him again sometime soon, but in case you’re wondering what he has planned for the next few years then we can confirm that he’ll be continuing to work in the realms of exhibition design – including one on the topic of meat at the Swiss National Library.
About the Author
Ayla was an editorial assistant back in June 2017 and has continued to work with us on a freelance basis. She has spent the last seven years as a journalist, and covers a range of topics including photography, art and graphic design. Feel free to contact Ayla with any stories or new creative projects.