Studio Yukiko plans to keep on “surprising people” with its diverse and experimental graphic design
From cultural identities to exhibitions and even a typeface inspired by ear wax, the Berlin-based studio gives us a run-down of its latest projects.
- Ayla Angelos
- 23 June 2022
You know the drill by now; if a studio’s doing continuously incredible work, then we’re going to tell you about it… proudly. And Studio Yukiko is one that’s been featured on site a fair few times now, thanks to its excelled work in creative direction, branding, graphic design and concepts for both the commercial and cultural sectors. Based in Berlin and founded by Michelle Phillips and Johannes Conrad, we’re more than excited to be catching up with the studio to hear more about its busy last couple of years. That of which involves an identity for Shedhalle – an arts and performance space in Zurich – where Yukiko produced “research-based, eco-feminist, science-fiction-inspired, well-formatted posters” for the exhibitions, explains Michelle. Elsewhere, the team have designed an identity for Hamburger Banhof, Berlin’s museum for contemporary art, and they’ve also had the chance to “dismantle” a portrait for artist Wong Ping and make “ear wax typography” (by Sebastien Millot from the studio) for his Berlin show at Times Arts Centre – a big favourite of ours here at It’s Nice That.
Studio Yukiko has been busy, and rest assured these latest updates are going to tickle the fancy of the devoted fans of the studio as well as the new. One key update worth mentioning is that it’s been working on four “completely different” branding projects over the past couple of years, shares Johannes. The first is for shoe brand Camper, led by Ira Ivanova from the studio, which opened a new restaurant in Berlin named after the first ever shoe the company designed, Cafe Camaleon. The eatery features “Berlin’s longest bar” designed by MVRDV plus a gradient interior, marking it as a “thoroughly enjoyable” project to work on by both founders, especially since they were able to translate Campers synonymously cheeky approach to spatial branding. “We utilised the long bar to give form to the visual elements and imagined a chameleon who, through constantly changing its colour and mood, is having an existential crisis to give the design a voice,” shares Michelle. This gives reason to the phrases of “break the meaning of life, by breaking some bread” and “in the absurdity of everything, we are all free to eat something”, peppered throughout the identity.
In another note, the studio has released a cultural identity project for OÖ – led by Ira Ivanova and Lou Hilleroux – a group of 14 museums and cultural spaces in Austria. A large project indeed, the studio was tasked with bringing together all of the institutions into a succinct visual language – one that would present itself nicely and recognisably across exhibition identities, graphics, web, social media, magazines, books, programmes and more. It took three years to complete in total, with the result amassing to an eye-catching display of photographic posters, cut-out shapes and clunky, WordArt-esque typefaces paired with clean, legible fonts. When kicking off this brief, the team started with the “simple idea” of working with the OÖ circles – “rotated to prefix the individual spaces and deconstructing these circles to create scaffolding for all its various space and diverse visual content,” says Michelle. Then, bespoke identities for each special exhibition were created in order to let the artist’s work sing through its space-conscious grids and colour-blocked backgrounds.
Clearly, there’s no project too big for Studio Yukiko, nor one too varied. The team enjoy pushing themselves to their limits, and this has become evident throughout its expansive and experimental portfolio sprinkled with unusual compositions, creative formats and unique typefaces. “Building concepts and ideas for brands and cultural institutions alike has always been a great pleasure,” says Johannes. “Building concepts with a cheeky twist is an even greater pleasure.” We can expect much more of the same for the studio in the near future, as it plans to continue “surprising people”, or at least make them smile. Driving the Human will be its next venture – a research project aiming to build more sustainable and collective futures, soon to be showcased later on this year – plus the next issue of Flaneur Magazine in Paris. Keep your eyes peeled!
Studio Yukiko: Shedhalle (Copyright © Studio Yukiko, 2022)
About the Author
Ayla is a London-based freelance writer, editor and consultant specialising in art, photography, design and culture. After joining It’s Nice That in 2017 as editorial assistant, she became online editor in 2022 and continues to work with us on a freelance basis. She has written for i-D, Dazed, AnOther, WePresent, Port, Elephant and more, and she is also the managing editor of design magazine Anima.