Finn Reduhn approaches his experimental design practice with simplicity, strength, and a handcrafted nature
In a discipline full of complex design systems, Finn takes a reductive and rational approach whilst maintaining the joy in design.
- Harry Bennett
- 23 April 2020
- Reading Time
- 4 minute read
Due to graduate this year from the University of Applied Sciences Hamburg, graphic designer Finn Reduhn has already started to make an impact in the creative industry, recently completing an internship at Vrints-Kolstern and producing passionate work that demonstrates care and a deep understanding of the discipline.
Showing a “keen interest for fonts, their development and use” from the beginning of his studies at Hamburg, Finn found immense joy in working on “complex typographic systems – from great gestures to fine details, from abstract shapes to clear pictures, with bold colours and reduced graphics.” With a developing creative mindset striving for “simple yet strong visual codes in which function becomes form and the other way around,” Finn tells us: “I am convinced that there is always a way to give creative elements their most logical yet intuitive positions without losing a surprising touch.”
Finn also questions the role of modernism in today’s world, looking at the relationship between “contemporary tools and traditional design,” within his work. Showing a great awareness of the contemporary context and where he fits in it, Finn finds it important to consider “what I really like and what I really assume as a good piece of design,” adding, “I want to shape creative matters that are not only trend-based but timeless and fresh.” In the same frame of mind, Finn looks towards the “outstanding work of other graphic designers, either contemporary or historic” for inspiration, whilst using social media platforms as a “modern library” to “to sharpen your eye towards clear decision-making about what you like and don’t like.”
The downside of this digital influence is that “the internet will never be able to provide the (meta-)physical value of books and printed material,” something Finn holds vitally important to his interests and practice, being a collector of printed ephemera from books to fruit stickers. “I think it’s important to observe your surroundings, finding little bits and bobs of design that maybe weren’t even meant to be special or outstanding,” he tells us, “it can be super interesting and funny when put in a different and modern context.”
“I really appreciate work with a visual (or physical) result because, for me, progress comes with process,” Finn explains. This way of working means “graphic design comes close to its handcrafted nature,” finding motivation in his intention to continually make unique visuals and design decisions from project to project. Fascinated by the “complexity of design and its practice,” Finn flourishes in the scale this variation can provide, ranging from “pixel shifting to social structuring, where one has to think from tiny to huge contexts.” Referencing his adoration for illustration in achieving a broader audience due to the “often more accessible” nature of the field, Finn finds the diversity of problem-solving in design very fun and inspiring – despite relying on more “reduced and rational aesthetics” within his own practice. The results, however, are astounding, producing work that is as aesthetically striking as is it thoroughly researched – injecting the character of his generation into a timeless design.
Finn finished his internship at Vrints-Kolsteren in February this year, telling us “I was able to work intensively on a wide range of different projects, partly with media that shifted from my usual practice.” The work he produced included the visual identity for Point of No Return by artist Benny Van de Meulengracht-Vrancx which considers “the impact of mankind on climate through the eyes of contemporary art.” Alongside Vrints-Kolsteren’s founders Naomi Kolsteren and Vincent Vrints, Finn “developed and coded the website which serves as a research archive and communication platform for the project.” Alongside the creative element of working there, Finn enjoyed the “non-hierarchical mentoring” and the opportunity to work at his own pace.
Another recent highlight for Finn is his zine STD*, a Riso-printed publication that looks at the ironic beauty of the Stade region of northern Germany, acting as “a love letter to my hometown and a tribute to my father and his passion for photography.” The title is derived from local number plates that are emblazoned with the slogan “Schönster Teil Deutschlands” – which translates to “Most Beautiful Part of Germany” – a political marketing scheme due to the “banal and unspectacular” quality of the province. Finn used the opportunity to use a typeface he had designed a few months prior “without any particular use in mind,” inspired by F.H. Ernst Schneidler’s capital Roman letters of Schneidler Initials.
With a growing interest in design fiction and speculative design, Finn is working towards his BA graduate thesis investigating “the book” as a medium, in the context of a “simultaneous takeover of the internet and virtuality.” Potentially using the current global state “as a fruitful base,” Finn hopes to contribute to the conversation concerning what speculative design can offer and the new spaces it can form within graphic design. Finn also aims “to develop a consistent and recognisable yet innovative style,” as, currently as a student, he is “more in the position of experimenting and experiencing.” He hopes that what people can already recognise in his work though is his “affinity for type.”
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About the Author
After graduating from Winchester School of Art, studying graphic arts, Harry worked as a graphic designer before joining It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in March 2020. Feel free to get in contact with Harry about new and upcoming creative projects.