“I had to constantly pinch myself”: Krzysztof Domaradzki on his custom lettering for Pearl Jam’s latest album
The Polish creative talks us through the reasons why he wouldn't change anything about his life right now.
- Jyni Ong
- 27 April 2020
- Reading Time
- 4 minute read
Though Krzysztof Domaradzki is known for his bold type experiments, it is in fact drawing that has always been his thing. Based in Poznan, Poland, the graphic designer is known for his poster art and illustration – a medium he honed while studying a master’s in drawing and etching. It was there that he had the chance to expand on his anatomical drawings and sculpture, then incidentally, technology hit big time and the illustrator was introduced to the wonders of computer graphics.
Subsequently, the creative has gone on to make work for the likes of Audi, Volkswagen, Nike, NBA and Pepsi, creating various logos, identities and artworks for such giants. Interestingly, he has ventured into the realms of custom typography, adorning movie poster commissions and gig posters with bespoke lettering created solely for that artwork. “I have been able to do a lot of different things, which is what keeps me going,” he tells It’s Nice That. For Krzysztof, he actively seeks a change in media to avoid the creative rut which comes with doing the same thing over and over again. In turn, these new challenges have made life “more exciting and fulfilling.”
Now with the help of his wife, he runs a one-man studio under the name of Studio Kxx, applying his interdisciplinary range of talents to whatever brief that may come his way. The decision to establish his own studio was not a difficult one for this designer. Quickly, he discerned what he could offer up to the industry – that being a unique combination of traditional techniques and technology. This led him to the realisation: “I did not need anyone to tell me who to work for and how to run my own show.” It was obviously the right move, as now, Krzysztof tells us, “I honestly would not change a thing about my life – I love everything about it, however corny it may sound.”
Embracing the trials and tribulations of running his own business, it is the excitement of the new creative day that fuels the designer – no matter what that day may bring. With a meticulous attention to detail, he goes at his own pace to make the work to the standard he desires. Sometimes it takes his over six weeks to produce one poster, which is part of the beauty of the creative process for Krzysztof. It’s a method exemplified in one of the designer’s most recent projects, a project where he had to “constantly pinch [him]self” as a reminder that he wasn’t dreaming. Pearl Jam, a band Krzysztof grew up listening to in the 90s, got in touch with the designer to promote their latest album, Gigaton.
He had had the pleasure of creating two previous posters for them a couple of years back, but this time, they “expected something really special.” The design would feature on a limited edition set of art prints and, importantly, they tasked the creative with interpreting the music in his own way. In this vein, Krzysztof started out by typographically exploring the band’s name and the album title. From the start, one idea stood out in particular. “It was quite simple,” explains Krzysztof, “large letter form a composition with Pearl Jam at the top with a large ‘Giga/Ton’ in capitals taking up the rest of the canvas.”
Later, he incorporated a silhouette of a female figure into the letters, a hint to the fading away of Mother Nature. “The part of the design I like most,” he adds, “is the negative space in-between the letters, creating an illusion of icebergs melting providing direct link to Pearl Jam’s 11th LP cover.” It’s a subtly placed hidden meaning that can be uncovered only with further inspection. “I didn’t want to distract anyone from the artwork itself,” evaluates Krzysztof, “besides, I am not sure if looking at something as depressing as the idea of environmental collapse would do anyone any good, which is why it is in the background.”
As for the future, there is plenty more in store for this creative brimming with creative motivation. Amidst a bundle of new commissioned work, at some point, Krzysztof also hopes to work on video game artwork, book covers, t-shirt designs – the list goes on. “I have so many ideas I am pretty sure I will always be producing something,” he finally goes on to say. "My ultimate dream is to do a graphic novel or even direct a movie, God willing. The thoughts that have haunted me for all these years are ‘so much to do and so little time’, as well as this Nietzsche quote: ‘A Yes, a No, a straight line, a goal.’ Both sum up my attitude pretty well, while the latter has been a guide for most of my decisions.”
About the Author
Jyni joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in August 2018 after graduating from The Glasgow School of Art’s Communication Design degree. In March 2019 she became a staff writer and in June 2021, she was made associate editor. Feel free to drop Jyni a note if you have an exciting story for the site.