Ivan Weiss and Michael Kryenbühl met in 2006 while studying in Lucerne, but it wasn’t until 2011 that they formed their studio Johnson / Kingston. That was after several years of collaborating, which had already taken them through their studies and the Swiss Design Awards, winning them a six-month residency in New York. “After several projects we did together it was pretty obvious that we inspire each other,” they tell me. “Together we’re able to find new ways [of working] neither of us could come up with alone.”
The studio’s output has the strong edge that often goes hand in hand with Swiss design. “In our work as well as in our teaching we are engaged with exploring experimental and contemporary forms of graphic design,” Ivan and Michael explain. In bold, brooding posters or monochrome editorial design or typefaces, the duo’s visual language is confident and ever so slightly insurgent.
Their poster work in particular stood out for its variety and scope, encompassing alternative music festivals, posters for Swiss tourism, cultural exchange between Japan and Switzerland, exhibitions, club nights and concerts.