FELIX PFÄFFLI — Interview
Lucerne-based graphic designer.
— 2013 edit : Member of AGI (Alliance Graphique International).
Hi Felix, how are you?
Great. Right now I am completely in a holiday mood. I have a pretty filled year behind me and now I enjoy the more peaceful time with hanging around, reading, writing and doing short trips to beautiful places. Last week I had aperitif in Milan. Two days later I was on a mountaintop somewhere in Ticino. And now I’m back in Lucerne thinking about where to go now.
Who are you? Tell us more about you.
I’m Felix. My family name is Pfäffli. A terrible name. Besides that, it is almost impossible to pronounce, if you try to translate it, it means something like “little priest”. And as I’m not religious, I’m the complete opposite of happy about that.
What’s your interest about graphic design and typography? When did you start?
Sometime during high school I had the opportunity to design posters and flyers for the “Treibhaus” a concert House in Lucerne. That was probably the moment when I realized this could be something for me. During this time I got to know the basic rules of design. I had to deal with all these computer programs. I photographed. I made animations. And I learned what “offset” or “screen printing” means. Anyway, I guess I was always very interested in technology and in working processes. Presumably that’s what boosts me. With every project I try to learn something. This can be for example a computer language, or some kind of a design technique, or whatever. During my years at the art school I’ve always worked as a graphic designer next to my studies. I guess that’s what finally opened the door to start my own studio right after graduation.
How do you process in your work?
Usually I start with a comprehensive research. I read myself into the subject, talk with people who I think are well informed, collect images, write down thoughts and seek for correlations between the subject and a visual language. I think only when you know as much as possible about something you can design and argue. And as soon as my head is full, I wait for an idea.
What project has given you the most satisfaction?
That’s pretty difficult to answer. I’m lucky to work with clients that set me almost no borders. In this sense, I quite enjoy every job I do. But if I had to decide right now, it would be the project I just finished last week for Herman Miller. There will be an exhibition in Australia at the end of summer and I had the pleasure to design a poster for the Eames Molded Plastic Armchair. It’s quite an honor and a great feeling to work for a company that has worked with great designers like Armin Hofmann.
You are a lecturer (and a teacher?) at the Lucerne School of Graphic Design.
Can you tell us more about that?
This is probably a misunderstanding that was created by my lousy English. I do not give lectures. But since last year I’m working as a teacher at the “Fachklasse Grafik” in Lucerne. It’s a good change from my everyday life as a graphic designer and it’s really nice to realize that teaching is absolutely not a one sided thing. I learned so much about design by just talking about it. And besides that I like teaching anyway, moreover this year I have the pleasure to do a poster project with Martin Woodtli.
What inspires and influences you?
Actually, everything. Life, discussions, arts, whatever. Just everything that I experienced in my life. Sometimes it is something totally random that gives me an idea. Finally every encounter triggers something. And when I’m stuck I often talk and talk about my projects in order to gain the largest possible spectrum of ideas. In this sense, I guess my friends are my inspiration. And of course I think the more works, the more paintings, the more arts you know, the better you know how to continue the story.
What books (or magazines..) are on your bedside table?
Last week I read the play “Die Unvernünftigen sterben aus” by Peter Handke. A really great book that fits well into our time.
What advice would you give to the young designers?
Make the things you want to do as big as they appear in your head.
The last word…
Interview : Dennis Moya — 07.12
All pictures are © Felix Pfäffli.