Prague’s graphic design scene, while ever-expanding, is also distinguished. It has a long history with the medium with schools like UMPRUM educating generation after generation of designers since its inception in 1885. But in recent years, the area’s style, which includes experimental letterings, bold uses of colour and elements like 3D rendering is ever prevalent. One designer with a firm stake in this scene is Jiri Mocek.
Currently finishing his studies at UMPRUM, Jiri works as a freelance designer, largely on projects with musicians and record labels. He’s a designer we’ve written about several times over the years and one whose portfolio continues to grow in technical ability and graphic sophistication every time. Jiri’s most recent work, which we noticed gracing his website and Instagram displays a certain confidence, an idiosyncratic style that combines textural elements and illustrative typography beginning to form.
Typography, often custom designed for each piece, is at the heart of Jiri’s portfolio: “I am still trying to focus on type, typesetting, letterings, and the character of typefaces in my work,” he tells us. However, increasingly, Jiri sees type not just as “typesetting tool, but as a visual tool that has a direct transmission of information”.
This often comes out in work related to the world of music, a route that makes sense as Jiri first came to graphic design through collecting and playing records. In particular, Jiri has been producing a lot of work for London-based record label Rhythm Section. However, he also produces a lot of material for events in his hometown, filling the streets with expressive and inventive posters.
Deviant, a night that takes place in Prague’s club Ankali is one event that has benefited from Jiri’s graphic sensibility. “The idea was to make a different poster for each gig, with the same composition or same style of work including custom lettering, sometimes with illustration,” he explains. At the core of the series is the limitations presented by Risographing each poster which defined a set of colours Jiri could work with.
Whereas his work for Deviant was wholly focussed on the process used to produce it, Jiri’s posters for Kaiser, a temporary pop-up club held in the town of Karlovy Vary was entirely inspired by the event’s surroundings. Part of an International Film Festival and held in a neo-renaissance building, Jiri allowed this to inform his aesthetic and conceptual decisions. “I really like this work, because it’s so connected with this historical place, so it felt reasonable to work with old historical elements or historical typefaces from these times,” he explains.
With the second edition of Kasier on the way and plenty of other freelance projects under his belt, Jiri is a designer whose portfolio seems to go from strength to strength every time he updates it.
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