STUDIO SW — Interview

Studio SW, Zurich-based graphic design studio.
Founded by Dominik Sieber and Dominique Widmer.

Hello Dominik Sieber and Dominique Widmer, how are you?

Posh, thank you.

Can you introduce yourselves?

We are Dominik Sieber and Dominique Widmer. Originally from St. Gallen, we’ve chosen to live and work in Zurich. After our graduation at the University of the Arts in Zurich and Bern we’ve set up our own studio in Zurich in late 2013. We realize projects in the fields of corporate design, editorial design, web design and art direction.

Where does your interest in graphic design come from?

We are both visually guided people, from the early days on. We love books, type, photography and illustration. So it was obvious to combine those interests. During our apprenticeships as typographers and our studies, our interest for graphic design and design in general constantly got stronger.

How did you come to start up the studio?

We’ve met each other a long time ago when we both worked for the same company. During our studies we already realized some work together and had some freelance jobs for different agencies. After some experience in other countries we worked more and more on our own projects. We always liked the idea of being independent so we made the decision to start our own studio.

What are the key features of your design?

All of our work is mainly focused on the clients and their values. Maybe that’s the reason why there is not a specific studio style, it depends from client to client. We try to keep it simple and clear with a strong idea behind. Due to our background our work is mostly based on typography, but we like to combine illustration and photography or a strong color-palette.

Can you tell us more about the projects you made for Sur Le Lac and Sur Le
Lac-En Ville

A few years ago, some friends of us created a little music festival in a small village close to St. Gallen. From there you have a great view over Lake Constance. The festival is called “Sur le Lac” and from the very beginning we designed the identity every year.

For the 2014 edition our inspiration was given by light, which got broken by the water surface. In our work, the light was replaced by typography. The result was a pattern driven identity.

For the same client we also worked on posters for the annual pre-party of “Sur le Lac” called “En Ville”. The party is held every year in the “City” of St. Gallen. The goal for those posters is to combine the differences between the festival, which is held in the nature (outdoors) and the party in a more urban environment. To get both events connected we developed a system based on the color concept and the idea of a combination of bold typography and patterns or illustrations.

What’s the idea behind the Caballito typeface?

Before starting university, Dominik went for 8 months to Buenos Aires where he lived in the Barrio of Caballito. Caballito and the whole city of Buenos Aires are a great clash of tradition and modernism. The typeface, which is unfortunately still in a beta-mode, is inspired by the mixture of new and old. The idea behind the typeface was to combine Antiqua and Grosteque fonts into one. Like the city the typeface has to be bold and funny, strong and chaotic with a lot of soul.

What is the project that you done with more pleasure and interest?

It’s always changing, mostly the newest is the most interesting one. At the moment we are working on a new website for a project called “Vorticidad”. It is about a curatorial exchange between Mexico and Switzerland. We’re always interested in rethinking web design and experimenting with new possibilities. Our client on this project was open minded and gave us a lot of freedom to play within certain boundaries which was really fun.

A designer that you admire?

Too many to name all of them. The classics of Swiss Graphic Design of course, but also the great new generation in different fields of design are inspiring us.

Which books are on your bedside table?

Mainly novels. For example “Infinite Jest” by David Foster Wallace, “The Man in the High Castle” by Philip K. Dick and “Born to Run” by Christopher McDougall.

The last word…

Print matters.



Interview : Dennis Moya & Tiffany Bähler — 03.15

Images ©Studio SW.

Graphic Design