Martin Major can still remember the first time he was drawn to graphic design. Growing up in a small town in west Germany, one day, the young Martin stumbled across a book on contemporary design in the museum’s bookshop. “The visual styles and codes in the book were outside my natural visual habitat,” he tells It’s Nice That, “and I was drawn to it instantly.” Attracted to the “odd and weird moments” in graphic design, to this day, Martin’s aesthetic embodies an energy that is both haphazardly grid-breaking but easy on the eye nonetheless.
“I always had some sort of relationship with visual culture” the designer goes on to tell us. Prior to studying graphic design in the quiet city of Bielefeld in west Germany, as a teenager, his interests revolved around drawing and painting and most predominantly, skateboarding. Drawing the majority of his visual influences from the skate scene, “it almost felt like the graphics on the boards and the t-shirts were more interesting than actually going skating,” Martin says on the matter.
Forming the foundations for an impressive career to come, the designer went on to work with the likes of Bureau Borsche in Munich and HelloMe in Berlin, before recently making the leap to go freelance. One of his recent projects, Snacktastic Man, had been in his head for a while before he finally got round to working on the zine. He came up with the catchy name for the project without having a specific concept to attach to it, and after the title had lingered around in his mind for a while, he naturally concluded that the zine had to be food-related. “It ended up being this simple, mono-thematic newspaper zine,” says Martin. The first issue was all about the Korean dish Tteokbokki, while the second covers the world of dumplings – but without ever showing one of the delicious balls of goodness throughout the whole thing. Instead, it has collages with dumpling sauce.”
Another project of Martin’s that had been “lying on [his] hard drive for ages” is Normal Journal, an attempt to bring some order into his written and visual stream of consciousness. After laboriously sorting out the multiple layers of content, Martin tackled the design process in a manner that can only be described as “very fast and focussed, like ripping off a bandaid.” Aiming to sustain the fluid stream of thought through the layout, the images are curated to consistently run on from one another, even if they exceed the bottom of the page, they just continue on the top of the next.
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.