Like many graphic designers out there, Prague-based Terezie Štindlová is drawn towards the multidisciplinary potential of the practice, looking at the productive forces of collaboration and the importance of reaching outside of your own bubble. The heart of her projects lies in the research that she does and often features a visual language teasing out the space between the normal and the slightly off-kilter.
“I’m mostly interested in complex projects where I can participate as a ‘designer’, not specifically a ‘graphic designer’,” Terezie tells It’s Nice That. “That usually leads to something between a researcher and an art director – or maybe someone completely different. I realise that properly naming and figuring this out takes too much time and those aims are much harder to articulate,” she continues.
One result of this is the project Zoo Index, a growing archive and platform that collects visual and textual zoo-related materials to “question its relevance in contemporary society.” The project, which also includes a spiral-bound booklet filled with minimalist graphics and data visualisations, was the perfect way for Terezie to be involved in all the various roles she was interested in.
“It’s a complex project where I operated as a researcher, photographer, journalist and graphic designer. That probably was the moment that I found the way I want to work in the future,” Terezie says of the project. In her research, she contacted experts across the field, photographed zoos and obsessively collected visual materials, all of which resulted in a website and the aforementioned handbook.
Another project for a performance and a short film called Jana by Anežka Kalivodová sees Terezie continuing her practice of taking on multiple roles at once. “I especially enjoyed working on this because I was in the process from the beginning so I could do really versatile work,” she says. “I helped shoot the movie while taking promo pictures in the woods. The mood of the visuals is a blend of the middle ages with 2019 sad raves.”
On her typical visual style, she adds: “Because I often cooperate with artists, there is always a strong connection to the person and their work. But generally, I would say I’m attracted to a sort of crash between an office default aesthetic with unexpected human error… I like when there is a subtle joke or a mistake present, the contrast between something obviously handmade and something generated.”
As part of her ongoing collaboration with Temporary Zone, a collective that emerged from the vibrant Brno creative scene, she organised the visual identity for a series of seven exhibitions titled Conditions of Impossibility. “It was mostly designed by a robot that we programmed and later based the visual identity on the robot’s ‘dreams’ made with a huge image collection from the curator’s hard disc. That led to a phase when the robot became a curator, designer and even an exhibiting artist,” she explains.
Her work for Zoo Index also led to an upcoming project with Inga Books, a Chicago-based independent bookstore. She’s also starting a studio called Day Shift with fellow Czech and classmate Bára Růžičková that takes on the reality of freelance life today. “We are tired of the glorification of overworking, nonstop email anxiety, working for ‘exposure’ and this constant pressure of ego-tripping hyped through social media we feel around us but are also a part of,” she says. “We think there should be a more honest discussion about work conditions and the struggles in graphic design. We are writing a manifesto or manual that represents our procedures and view on work in general,” Terezie adds. Though this might sound like a utopia, she notes, this is merely a request for a higher standard of the industry and just working conditions that everyone in the field should enjoy.
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