Swiss graphic designer Felix Pfäffli lives and works in Lucerne, where he runs his own studio and lectures at the Lucerne School of Graphic Design. On August 14, Felix will be unveiling a new Herman Miller poster he designed as part of Then x Ten, an exhibition celebrating the power of the poster.
Herman Miller’s Asia Pacific blog recent spoke with Pfäffli:
What led you to pursue a career as a graphic designer?
I don’t know. I kind of always enjoyed designing things. And to be honest, I really do not know what else I could do. It is simply the thing I enjoy most.
Do you have and any rituals or routines you follow before embarking on an design?
I usually start with some comprehensive research. I read myself into the subject, talk with people who are well informed, collect images, write down thoughts, and look for correlations between the subject and the visual language.
I work almost exclusively on the computer, but I’m pretty sure I never had a useful idea in front of a computer. The ideas come from somewhere: on a walk, shopping, talking to someone. The computer is simply my design tool, as the brush is for the artist.
What element of design could you not live without?
I create and look for the beauty in things every day, but to be honest there isn’t one element that’s more important to me. It is much more about the moment when I see something beautiful, something perfect, that moves me. It’s the surprise.
What advice would you give to aspiring art makers?
Make big plans.
How much of your work is influenced by the past?
The past always plays a big role; its can not and must not be ignored. In Switzerland graphic design has a big tradition. I’m sure I’m influenced in a way by this ideology, but not to a disadvantage. The more works, the more paintings, the more art you know, the better you know how to continue the story.
How did you develop a style?
I do not really have a style that’s stuck. I try to start from scratch again and again. In my opinion, it’s vital to learn something from each project. I don’t like repeating myself, especial in my final output. That means I don’t try to design using techniques that I’ve already mastered. I prefer using methods that I might not know already. If, for example, a poster has to be computer generated, I’ll learn programming.
What’s your most rewarding achievement?
I can make a living from something I enjoy. Honestly, I feel my current situation, as a whole, is a success.
Do you feel like a citizen of the world in terms of your trade, or are there geographic anchors to your work as an illustrator?
I guess the internet made the world much smaller. The distances are now playing absolutely no role. I work for people all over the world. And funnily enough, it feels very normal.
We’re delighted you’ll be participating in the Then x Ten Herman Miller exhibition. How do you feel about being chosen?
Of course it’s an honor and a great feeling to work for a company that has worked with design giants like Armin Hofmann. That’s priceless.