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Big Ideas

//DIY and +41: Effective Multitasking

We chat with Swiss-based graphic design trio //DIY about the many shades of client frustration, branching out into new fields, and always moving forward.


Multitasking is hardly an issue for Philippe Cuendet, Laurence Jaccottet and Ivan Liechti, the team which comprises Swiss-based //DIY. The graphic design studio has, since its inception has birthed both a fashion offshoot, +41, as well as a record label bearing same name, affording the dynamic team work with a variety of clients from Apple, Nike, Collette, Playstation and EtniesPlus across all platforms of their enterprise. Behance took some time out with the team to chat about managing collaborations, balancing workloads and the diversification of their talents and focus.

Working as a trio enables constant collaboration, both internally and externally. “The good thing in collaboration is that it’s the basis of communication. Someone gets an idea, communicates it, then the other finds an answer to this idea or bring it to another level. Because there’s three of us in our studio, almost every project become a kind of collaboration. And if we collaborate with someone outside our studio the three of us become one person, and a new challenge begins.” They are constantly on the hunt for new, exciting creative sources. “You need to look forward, and to always come with new ideas…you cannot wait for the work to come to you. We find new concepts, new ideas and then new projects start!

This process contributes to generate works from outside [as well as in.]”Actively seeking out work isn’t the only source of inspiration for the team. “Our inspiration comes from many different fields, as we try to push boundaries of the graphic design, it’s obvious that we are inspired by many things like contemporary art, music, movies, photography, fashion, food, people, traveling, street, literature, science, every day life, etc. We always try to develop a way of working based on the elaboration of an idea a concept, which will [ultimately] build the aesthetic of the work. We do not apply an aesthetic to a project, it’s the concept that will build its own aesthetic. In this way, we think that you are not depending on a trend or whatever aesthetics, it’s always changing and there is always a strong meaning behind the project; la forme et le fond, in French. That’s really important — it has to be strong in both ways! In the same time, beauty for beauty can work but it has to be positioned like that.

Beauty for beauty can work but it has to be positioned like that.

Accepting that things won’t always go one’s way is key for maintaining sanity levels at //DIY and +41. “There are different levels of frustrations. First are the projects that we propose to you and everyone gets excited. Then, for whatever reason, the project collapses or never goes further than the initial idea. Then you also get frustrated by projects which take place, but then radically change position during the development. This is where a good initial idea can, at the end, become a bit stupid. Last level is when you get involved, produce nice things and someone else ends up winning the project with – from your own point of view – a less fitting idea.”

“Some months, ago we were asked by our friend Pedro Winter to design a t-shirt for Daft Punk, which would be part of the merchandising for their last tour. His project was to ask four different designers to each create one tee, but the project collapsed because the band decided to make it more common Daft Punk logo tee, that was frustrating – even more so because Pedro was really enthusiastic when he saw the design we did… that was a real frustration because it would be such a pleasure to do a tee for them! Even if was only a t-shirt project.”

Rather than trying to re-invent the wheel, diversification and cross-pollination dominates their work process — something that works more than effectively for the team. “We have no real [definitive] mission — we just try to produce quality works and find inventive approaches. We try to get not imprisoned in the one and only graphic design field, but to diversify ourselves by getting involved into different fields such as music, fashion, photography, illustration, food and so on. We aim to create and build a coherent and unique universe, reflecting our references and own inputs.”

Comments
  • stefanlucut

    yes yes.

  • empachosonico

    Diversification is the key // Love your work 🙂

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