“There is No Graphic Design without Typography”

An Interview with Croatian Graphic Designer Ivorin

Ivorin is a young and talented graphic designer from Croatia who has gained a lot of attention with his typographic project called ’10 Things I Have Learned in 2013’. Ivorin’s shared some interesting thoughts on (Croatian) design, typography and freelancing vs. collectives.

How have you landed in the field of graphic design?
I’ve had an innate connection with art since elementary school. It grew out of spite and protest against the push I felt coming from my parents towards natural sciences that are something I had been good at, but did not like. The wisdom here might be that you won’t necessarily go wrong as parents, even if you push your kid into the wrong direction.

Would you tell a bit about Croatian design and your relation to it?
Croatian design means a lot of talented individuals lost in the sea of unappreciative clients and only a small amount of money, which is dedicated to design when it’s considered an artistic endeavour. The money goes to a small, well-positioned clique, which makes it impossible for others to live from it. As a one of the younger, up-and-coming designers I am in the same boat, though with the lucky exception of being more in touch with international clients and media through online presence, which is essential for today’s designers.

You work as both a freelancer and a member of a collective. What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of both of them?
A collective is the big guy having your back when you have administrative, bureaucratic or financial issues, it’s there to help you out and it also takes a cut but that cut is well deserved. When you are a freelancer, everything (namely the creative side, the organization and the responsibility) is on you. It can be overwhelming, but then again, it can be very rewarding as well when things pan out the right way.

The creatives’ working hours are quite flexible. How do you work? Do you have a schedule for every day, for example, or does it depend on the circumstances?
It really depends… While I love to work in the morning, it’s almost always impossible because there are usually a lot of emails to respond to, and sometimes there is a hangover to deal with. So it mostly ends up taking the hours from the night until finishing just before the deadline. It’s not a very organized lifestyle but it’s dynamic and lively.

You’ve got experience in designing for different purposes (e.g. branding, packaging) and you’ve also taken part in exhibitions. Do you think it’s important, especially, for young designers to present their work on exhibitions? How much impact does it have on getting clients or commissions?

Exhibitions, especially self-produced ones, are to experiment and find out what your interests and forte are, providing you can come up with the funds to put an exhibition on.

What I find the most important to all designers is the production of self-initiated projects, projects in which you can explore themes and visuals you are interested in. This can truly move the quality and relevance of your work up the ladder. While client-related work pays the bills, self-initiated work keeps you satisfied.

It seems you like experimenting with typography, at least the project “10 Things I Have Learned in 2013” indicates that, even though the project itself would hardly exist without it. Do you consider typography as a part of your designer identity or rather “just” an element that occasionally must be used?
There is no graphic design without typography. It is the basic communicational tool for conveying meanings based on language. The only reason for I would evade type would occur if I wanted to explore the critique of communication in general. That does sound like an interesting project but we’ll see.

Based on your shared pictures of your working process I would say you really enjoy being a craftsman. But what do you prefer: print or digital?
Definitely print, there is no doubt about it. I absolutely adore anything that is physically materialized and related to graphic design such as the smell, the texture and the visual effects of a project. Digital does not have the tactility, the “carnal” quality that a physical object has — at least not for me.

Zarez had asked you to illustrate the cover for the October issue that reflected on the Quebec Student Protest. Did you do it because it sounded an interesting project and/or did you also want to support the protesters? How important for you to draw attention to serious economic, political or social issues with your design presence?
There is no doubt about it. The project would not have been as interesting and engaging as it was if it hadn’t been so close to the thoughts and issues I like to concern myself with. A designer is primarily a communicator, and it is of vital importance for her/him to understand this and to engage in critical thoughts before using her/his “power”.

What are you working on right now?
Finishing some interesting projects: a visual identity for a foundation dealing with the elderly and based on a generative icon derived from the umbrella; an identity for a small motion graphics studio in Vienna; and an identity for a consultancy firm from the States. Behance has made it possible for me to work for global clients and this is something I am very appreciative of. There is a better understanding of quality design abroad than at home, and it creates a much smoother workflow.

What are your plans?
I will be relocating to the States or London if things go well, and I expect to be off somewhere in August. Then I would love to set up a new exhibition related to the presentation of literary work through 3D typography. Fingers crossed, I hope, it all goes well!

Behance
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