Dutch Designers Wilfred van der Weide and Timo Demollin are the talents behind design studio Wilfredtimo, a two-man operation producing bright, powerful and achingly cool (in a really good way) graphic design for a huge variety of arts and cultural projects across their native Holland.
Upon graduating two years ago, the boys made the brave decision to set up their own studio, braving the recession and the odds to launch a successful creative and business partnership that keeps going from strength to strength. But they can tell you more about that.
Tell me a bit about how Wilfredtimo came about.
We are Wilfred and Timo, an Utrecht based design duo. Our collaboration started during our studies at Utrecht School of Arts where we started to share ideas on various projects. After graduation in 2011 we just continued doing so as an independent studio. We didn’t feel like trying to join a bigger corporation.
How would you describe your work?
We aim on making clear graphic imagery, with a bit of an edge. Content is always at the heart of our concepts. We like boldness, simple metaphors and symbolic language. Regarding further stylistic elements, we’ll leave it up to the crowd to describe them. It can be a tug of war in order to let our individual personal interests meet before we actually start visualizing an idea, since we have our own theoretical perspectives and aspirations. Dialogue is key.
Do you naturally complement each other in your approaches to design?
For us being a duo is as much about working with each other as well as against each other. In our design process we can have different opinions about the subject at hand. This typically results in a concept that’s a mix of both stylistic and content-related considerations.
The Netherlands has a rich history of great graphic design but what’s the design community like in Utrecht?
The art and design community in Utrecht isn’t that big (compared to Amsterdam, Rotterdam or Eindhoven), though the city has a great design history from Gerrit Rietveld to Dick Bruna. The best contemporaries in town are probably Herman van Bostelen and Kummer&Herrman, both great conceptual and editorial designers who also lectured us at art school.
For us Utrecht is mostly a good central hub to reach the various events around the Netherlands (Amsterdam is only 30 minutes by train). The scene in Utrecht is somewhat scattered—but we’re currently working with a big group of designers on collaboratively opening a new meeting space called ‘Kapitaal’. There’ll be an open workshop for silk-screening and risograph printing, with enough space to host lots of events, exhibitions and so on. Psyched!
Where do you find inspiration outside of other graphic designers?
We carry fond memories of the playful aesthetics in educational media that we remember from our childhood. The late ’80s and early ’90s produced and recycled a great diversity in images that explored the boundaries of reality and imagination, which is highly inspiring to us—both the imagery as well as the act of production and recycling in itself.
So much of your output is print-based, have you made a conscious decision to work mostly on printed projects?
Printed objects, mostly posters and books, offer us a much wider field for incorporating real material as opposed to screen graphics. For us there’s much more challenge and fun in the act of actual physical production than in the world of pixels. We’d also love to work on more spatial graphics in the future, such as installations.
What are the dangers of running your own studio?
As a young graduate it’s tempting to think you can pull anything off. While a conceptual approach in design is extremely important to us, we come to recognize it’s not always possible to put it to practice, being just a small and starting studio. We’re hoping on building up a portfolio with mostly cultural clients though. Creating a larger network of young artists and cultural entrepreneurs is essential for us. But we’re taking it one step at a time.
Any big plans for 2013?
Plans for 2013: having our own four walls—we’re currently working in a shared space.