Glittering 3D graphics, dystopian metal-inspired typography, and futuristic streetwear feature heavily in the work of Obby & Jappari, a graphic design studio based in Frankfurt that was founded just last year. The studio’s core team is made up of Obby, Jappari, and Pia Graf, with the first two preferring to go by their mononymic artist names. Much like hip hop darling boyband Brockhampton, they found each other through the internet while working jobs unrelated to the discipline, eventually collaborating on small personal projects. “We then started working together on personal projects for like 10 hours a day. For our first big project, a campaign for Under Armour, we worked with the third founder Pia for the first time. The project welded us together and we officially founded the studio,” Jappari tells It’s Nice That about their final member, who mostly focuses on animation and illustration for the studio.
The three founders’ initial graphic design inspirations were quite different. Pia, for instance, was mainly inspired by anime and manga. “I was very much into Japanese culture and design,” Pia says. Georgia-born Jappari, like many hailing from the country, started designing out of necessity. “In Georgia, I founded a death metal band called Discord. I was the frontman of the band, but I also made all the covers and merchandise,” Jappari explains. Obby’s origins are also music related, redesigning album covers on Leanified, a now-defunct image editing app that leaned heavily towards the vaporwave aesthetics of the peak Yung Lean era. “Once the app got removed from the app store, I bought myself a photoshop license,” Obby adds.
Nowadays, the studio’s creative practice sees it mixing fluid and dynamic 3D graphics with clean typography, creating a visual language that’s very much in vogue today. The studio makes highly atmospheric work, often more than just the sum of its parts, for projects like Nike’s Vapormax campaign or Tunica’s ambitious publication published back in June. “It’s more about a general look and vibe than specific objects,” the studio says, “in general, we try to explore digital and analogue imagery and the contrast between these.”
The studio’s project with photographer Sivan Miller is a perfect example of this, for instance. In The Future is Here, the language of fashion photography was met with interlocking tubes and plastic forms, all in translucent pink to complement the jacket and glasses that the model wears. “Here we blended 2D into 3D design instead of editing the photograph in the usual way by just photoshopping it in. In this case, we tried to translate a flat photograph into a 3D world,” the studio explains. Another project, this time personal, started out with analogue techniques with the studio dripping honey onto a spray painted material. “We scanned it and worked on it again in photoshop and Cinema 4D to create the unique look,” the studio explains, resulting in the highly-textured, sticky image in sunset pink.
Citing mentor Eike König as one of their inspirations, the studio says that “his advice has influenced us in our growth as designers and humans.” Obby & Jappari, as another group of designers that’s looking for beauty in an increasingly fast-paced world, where stories disappear as soon as they surface, will hopefully find its answer in never becoming too comfortable with its chosen medium or process.
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