It’s Nice That’s Ones to Watch is our chance to showcase 12 creatives who we think will be making an impact in 2017. The people featured have been whittled down from a global pool of creative talent and have been chosen for their ability to consistently produce inspiring and engaging work. Each one practices across a diverse range of disciplines and continually pushes the boundaries of their creative output. Ones to Watch 2017 is supported by Uniqlo.
We caught up with each of our Ones to Watch, to talk about their work so far and their hopes for the year to come.
Graphic designer Nejc Prah works with vibrant colours and crazy shapes creating work that combines 80s club typography with fourth dimension landscapes. The Slovenian-born, New York-based designer has produced work across print and digital that is disruptive, vibrant and unique. By day he works in the creative team at Bloomberg Business Week. His personal projects include poster series for musicians, hardware store catalogues and identity and publication designs.
Nejc’s interest in graphic design and the visual arts started at a young age. He first produced homemade books at the age of six or seven, then at high school he developed an interest into first photography and then street art. “I really got into the street art scene, There’s still some awful stuff I did on walls in my home town,” he says with a chuckle. “But doing that got me into typography and letters. Once I had realised what I wanted to do, from then on it was hardcore design.”
Having first studied at the Academy of Arts and Design Ljubljana, Nejc graduated in 2013 and headed to Yale to study an MFA at the Graphic Design department. “I was in the US on the year extension they give for student visas, but I had it extended again for three years as an artist’s visa,” he says.
His cover for Bloomberg Business Week earlier this year and the colourful and insane catalogue cover for Fotopub stand out in a world of obedient and monochrome graphic design. With a vicious disregard for convention, Nejc is determining his own creative future and next year we can expect a continuation of his poster series for a club night, Koordinate, in Ljubljana, which sees him collaborate with photographer Klemen Ilovar and a series of web-based projects. “I am working on a website that I am really excited about. It’s for a record label but I can’t say too much. It’s very early in the process. I have a few websites lined up for next year and I am really into that,” explains Nejc. “I haven’t done one for around a year. I do a lot of posters and images, but web has this interaction that feels so much richer. I got a little bored doing so many posters.”
Despite its eclectic appearance, there are some underlying themes to Nejc’s work that come from an unexpected source. “I think personally I rarely touch any politics or activism or anything like that in my work. In that sense my work is very selfish. I’ll make a poster about doing laundry and ignore what is going on. I don’t know, maybe that is what creative freedom is,” he says.
A fascination with everyday tasks that are so often ignored is where Nejc finds his ideas. “We are all curating our lives on Instagram and making our lives look great. I always find that annoying, I don’t have anything against anyone doing that. But I am working against that idea in my work,” he says. “I almost intentionally didn’t want to source ideas from work, or the times that are fun, but the bit in-between. Maybe that’s my inspiration. In reality life is a little boring and there are things that you have to do. It’s the necessary moments.”
To create vivid and complex ideas from such seemingly mundane topics, and to find a way to work in the fast-paced world of business publishing and still find time for more creative endeavours, puts Nejc in a considerably advantageous position. At Bloomberg Business Week, under the direction of Robert Vargas, he will continue to hone his commercial appeal, but outside of that he will be looking to stretch his skills and styles across different media and styles. Despite it’s appearance, Nejc’s work is autobiographical: “I am sharing bits of my life in my work,” he says.
Supported by Uniqlo
The idea at the heart of all of Uniqlo’s clothing is LifeWear – clothes that make your life better. Style doesn’t have to be superficial; it can keep you warmer, cooler, drier. Uniqlo creates LifeWear by evolving the ordinary, producing innovations big and small that benefit you every day.