For a recent project, designers Miriam and Lucas Hesse decided to embark on the tricky task of interpreting symbiosis via graphic design. If you’re a little lost, symbiosis is “a close interaction between two different biological organisms” and the ideal route of visualising this scientific subject saw the duo utilise both illustration and typographic messaging.
They began by considering how the concept can be applied to human society, interpreting it “as a merge of various talents, skills and experiences,” as Miriam puts it. “Nothing, but the development of good relationships with competent partners, can facilitate faster and bigger advantages in our struggles of existence. Looking around, we find ourselves in a sophisticated network of organisms that work closely with one another.”
In order to visualise such a subject in the form of posters and a following exhibition, the duo, who both study at the University of Applied Sciences in Mainz, Germany, kicked off proceedings by determining the imagery they would use beforehand. “Since the symbiosis is, at first sight, a biological phenomenon, we wanted to use organic shape,” says Miriam. To work organically they started with paper scraps which they then scanned, Miriam then created illustrations to be passed onto to Lucas for further graphic processing. “The result is an interaction of two-dimensional surfaces and three-dimensional bodies/renderings, which create a natural structure,” explain the designers. And, “just as with a biological symbiosis, one thing does not work without the other.”
This is also the case for Miriam and Lucas’ working relationship as “we each benefit from the other has created,” says Miriam. Both designers separate interests in their course of Communication Design differ but interlink — as anyone who studied an iteration of visual communication at university will know well. For Lucas, for instance, his focus and interest “is mostly devoted to typography, editorial and graphic design,” while he also likes to experiment with the design aspects of coding and three dimension work too. Whereas Miriam utilises more physical aspects of design, enjoying working with both illustration and graphic design and experimenting with photography as well as various printing techniques.
By working together, the results encompass both of the designer’s personality and a thoughtful interpretative use of visual communication. In turn, Miriam and Lucas have created an example of a brilliant university project where designers are given breathing space to really experiment with what communicative design can, and should, be.
About the Author
Lucy (she/her) joined It’s Nice That as a staff writer in July 2016 after graduating from Chelsea College of Art. In January 2019 she was made deputy editor and in November 2021, became a senior editor predominantly working on It’s Nice That's partnerships. Feel free to get in contact with Lucy about creative projects for the site or potential partnerships.