QWSTION was founded in 2008 when Matthias Graf and Sebastian Kruit joined forces with Swiss industrial designers Christian Kaegi, Fabrice Aeberhard and Hannes Schoenegger. “We had all been searching for a bag that closes the gap between functional sports bags and elegant fashions bags,” says co-founder Matthias. “As nothing on the market could satisfy our needs, we found our brand in the former industrial district of Zurich, Switzerland.”
The brand creates products for everyday use and challenges the norm by considering “look, function and construction” in different ways and then integrating these aspects into its designs. This problem-solving approach to design is heavily informed by the founders’ backgrounds in the creative industries. Matthias studied graphic design and photography at the Kunstuniversität Linz, Austria but finished his education at the F+F School for Art and Design in Zurich. “After graduation I founded my own studio Büro Bewegt in 2004 and worked on a wide range of products from corporate identities to magazines,” he says. This knowledge and diverse range of skills allows QWSTION to constantly refine its designs and products to make “life on the go easier.”
As with its products, QWSTION see its identity just as evolutionary: “We are continuously developing elements and experimenting with new media,” says Matthias. Just recently the brand released its first video for the launch of its first product which is not a bag – the Raincoat. Video content is now set to become a major part of the website redesign later this year.
“A big part of our visual identity and the main campaigns is our photography, which is shot by our friend Urs Bigler says Matthias. “Our photography plays with the perception of space and time in an urban context through elements of architecture and nature, often abstracting their surfaces, structures and materials.” This aesthetic is a continuous thread and filters into its lookbooks, retail environments and printed matter.
Modernist Swiss design is a key influence in QWSTION’s look and feel which fits in well with its pursuit for functionality and beauty. As such, the first moment a customer holds a QWSTION bag has been carefully considered by the brand. “We believe a product should speak for itself and a subtle statement of origin is all the branding it really needs,” explains Matthias. “That’s why we came up with the concept of ‘functional branding’, only placing our name on parts of the product that serve a function purpose such as buckles, zippers and rivets.”
Choosing a typeface that echoes QWSTION’s ethos was also key: “We discovered the modern sans serif typeface Europa from EuropaType, run by graphic designer and typographer Fabian Leuenberger.” Simple and classic, it’s just another aspect of QWSTION that helps shape the brand. “We have a clear focus on understated simplicity. Our aim is to create timeless styles and evolve our collection continuously. We are a brand founded by designers and all elements integrate seamlessly.”
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