Switzerland is a country with a rich connection to graphic design. Having studied in Bern, this sense of tradition within the medium has had a big impact on recent visual communication graduate David Rindlisbacher. “I value and appreciate the timeless conventions that have been established as a result and how these fit into modern media and technology,” he explains. It’s these ideas which now drive his practice as, for him, “the most exciting part of graphic design is how multi-faceted and ever-evolving it is.”
A career in the creative industries was always going to be the path for David, as he grew up in bilingual household (Swiss and Portuguese) in which “creativity and artistic expression were extremely valued and encouraged,” he explains. “As a kid, I was always surrounded by art, literature and music and I think those early years of my life set me up for a career in a creative field.”
Perhaps a reflection of his dual nationality, David’s portfolio occupies an interesting space between tradition and experimentation. “In an ideal graphic design project, I would get to navigate this dichotomy between traditional grid-based Swiss design and modern elements determined by software or technology,” he tells us. No matter where a project falls on that spectrum, however, there is always an underlying concept which informs every decision he makes.
“I remember in my first semester at school I was working on an editorial project and every week I would get feedback from my teachers on it,” David recalls. “What stuck out to me the most from that were questions like ‘Do you really need that element?’ or ‘Does that element add to the message you’re trying to communicate?’, even when referring to seemingly trivial elements like the page number. Ever since then, it’s been my attitude in a lot of projects to focus their visual form on the design elements that best communicate the core message of their concept, which most of the time for me results in minimalistic designs.”
While minimal, there’s certainly a defined visual language to David’s work. He favours a monochromatic palette over colour, sans serif typefaces over serifs and grid-based, typography-heavy designs. “It is because of these tendencies that I make a concerted effort to introduce certain design elements that kind of break these patterns, be it with lettering features, with 3D components, animations, illustrations, etc,” he adds.
Currently, David is working on developing a typeface called Balladur, inspired by the architecture of La Grande-Motte in southern France, a building designed by Jean Balladur. Bulbous and serpentine, it’s a typeface full of personality in which counters and ascenders fold in on themselves at every opportunity.
David explains the story behind the characteristic letters: “I came across an image of one of the buildings while reading a book, and while the chapter focused on the signage system of the town, what really caught my eye was the geometry of the buildings pictured in the photos. After researching the architect and more of his work, I was inspired to start sketching letters. At first, I used some of the geometry I found in the buildings as a guideline for the geometry of the letters, but soon after I started sketching more freely, and from there the typeface kind of took on its own visual language. This was also my first attempt in experimenting with variable fonts features. The typeface will be available for purchase soon.”
Currently back home in Lisbon figuring out what to do next, David is a designer any studios reading this would do well to snap up or commission…
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