BUREAU COLLECTIVE – Interview
Today it’s with pleasure that we present the two designers behind the St.Gallen based studio Bureau Collective, Ollie Schaich and Ruedi Zürcher. We really like their projects. They talked about how they collaborate together. We focused some questions on typography and they explained us its importance on their works.
Hello Ollie Schaich and Ruedi Zürcher, how are you?
We are fine, thank you.
Can you introduce yourselves? Tell us more about both of you and the Bureau Collective.
We are a two-men graphic design studio based in St.Gallen, in the east of Switzerland. We like to work in the cultural field and enjoy working with people that are as passionate about what they do as we are.
It all started relatively early, we met in a ski club, but only saw each other sporadically for training or races. Later we realized that we had chosen the same profession (lithographer/typographer) and were interested in similar things. We started to meet regularly and constantly exchanged fonts, music and pictures. During school, we used Skype to exchange all kinds of ideas and news regarding our mutual passion for design.
After a few trips abroad, we found ourselves in St.Gallen again, where we worked as freelancers for various agencies. Since we rarely found satisfaction doing conventional assignments, we had the idea, to set up our own studio. In spring 2011, we founded Bureau Collective.
Can you tell us more of how you work together?
We designate a project manager who will be the main contact person for the customer. After the initial briefing we start our research and we gather as much material as possible. We try to find inspiration everywhere. Before we give a thought or a feeling of shape, each one of us starts with a blank sheet of paper. Later we exchange our ideas and sketches, make selections and continue working together. The project manager is responsible for finalisation and any adaptations.
Smaller projects are generally supervised by only one person, but the other is often involved, for example when it comes to important decisions, questions or discussions. Should we fail to agree about a point, it has to be revised again. If the worst comes to the worst we toss a coin. But that has only happened once.
What are your experiences and approaches to graphic design and typography? Why are you doing this profession?
We take great pleasure in our work and always try to weave a bit of personality into our products. That is far more difficult in other professional fields. We are captivated by the diversity that this industry offers us. Giving a face to an idea is an incredibly good feeling. We discovered early on that aesthetics interest us. Beautiful objects and interesting people inspire us. It’s fun to work with them.
What is the importance of typography in your work?
The use of typography is certainly central in our work. A font or a font combination and its application gives the whole design a character, in the same way a visual world can. Finding a suitable font in our view, is as difficult as selecting a coherent picture or photograph. We therefore often modify fonts like we sometimes do with images. We invest time in the font selection and play through many potential combinations. The exchange with colleagues is also helpful, especially since choosing a font is also a matter of individual taste. We also noticed that our preferences have changed over the past years. Every few months our favourites change. Some fonts are used so often that we get bored with them. It’s a bit like with women, only a few can manage to stay attractive over years.
Do you think about creating your own type?
We think about it a lot and have been planning to for a long time. But seriously creating a type from A-Z would be a year’s work. We are also lacking the know-how required for the development of a professional typeface. We would quickly be stumped when it came to preparing the fonts and carrying out the process of kerning. Perhaps it is for this reason that, to date, we have only succeeded in modifying existing letters.
What inspires and influences you?
We try to go through life with our eyes open. It may ultimately be small things that inspire us in some way. Solely through being interested in the various aspects of art, we gain a whole host of impressions. Simple and clear ideas make it directly to our heart. We like having paper in our hands and experimenting with it. In our view, suitable materials are as much a part of a graphic product as wings are part of a bird. We are also fascinated by old printing and processing techniques where the craft behind it is still evident.
Is there any designer or movement you appreciate a lot?
There are many designers who impress us. Of course, we also look up to people whose strengths are not necessarily in design. People from a completely different field can be equally inspiring.
Which books are on your bedside tables?
At the moment, “30 Years of Swiss Typographic Discourse” by Roland Früh and “Purienne” by Henrik Purienne.
The last word…
With us is good cherry eating.
Interview : Dennis Moya & Tiffany Baehler – 10.13
Images ©Bureau Collective.