CORBIN MAHIEU — Interview
Corbin Mahieu, graphic designer based in Ghent, Belgium.
Hello Corbin, how are you?
I’m fine, thanks. I’ve just launched my new website, so I’m still very excited.
Can you introduce yourself?
I’m a graphic designer based in Ghent, Belgium. I graduated from academic graphic design at Luca School of Arts (Ghent) in June 2013. Meanwhile I challenged myself by taking 2 months internship abroad at Zak Group (London) at the end of 2014. After my studies I started working at De Morgen (Brussels), a Belgian progressive newspaper. In the beginning of this year I joined the graphic studio of Jan&Randoald (Bruges), where I am still working as a freelance designer.
Where does your interest in graphic come from?
My grandfather was a painter and my uncle did the same studies at Luca School of Arts in Ghent. As a little child I was drawing all day long and wanted to become a cartoonist. So I did a lot of drawing while growing up and followed an art education program from the age of 14. It was only in high school that I fully appreciated graphic design. Luca School of Arts is a college that gives you the freedom to experiment. The first year they critique your view of design and in the following years they guide you to find and formulate your own artistic solutions. I’ve always thought graphic design as a profession and as something functional, which should be approached seriously. But while designing you should be able to play and to have fun with ideas and mostly with forms themselves. As for me, I’m always in search for the right outcome and most of the time I’m just fascinated how different forms can co-exist on a sheet of paper.
Can you describe to us one of your projects?
A year ago, I made a personal research-led publication as part of my internship at Zak Group. I always enjoy doing research on topics in order to collect as much information as possible to find a new visual approach.
Therefore, it was quite fulfilling to make a research book about ‘the publication as an alternative space’. I consider it a necessity to be fascinated by changing topics and to collect images or visual input from everything you encounter. Even the things most designers consider ugly or corny. There is always something else to make out of it.
Do you have a favorite typeface?
Actually, I just bought some new fonts. But I’m always trying to find a font that fits the function or the theme of the subject. So I’m always using different fonts in every project. But I’m hoping over time to have a handful of very personal fonts. So I can really experiment with them on a long term and really get to know them…
Recently I bought Agipo from Radim Pesko. I’ve also discovered that the students of ECAL Lausanne also have a website, where you can buy their fonts (ECAL Typefaces). There are some real beauties among them. Both Radim Pesko and ECAL have sites that are worth to take a look at.
Who are the designers that you admire?
Way to many. My former teachers and currently my colleagues Jan&Randoald have always had a very strong graphical language and I’m very happy I can collaborate with them. Recently I bought a publication of Dante Carlos, a graphic designer based in Minneapolis, who is doing a lot of projects for the Walker Art Center. I would love to join a workshop of him.
Another designer I came across while I was in London is David Rudnick. His visual language always blows my mind. Besides designers I also admire artists. Right now at the studio of Jan&Randoald we’re working on an identity for Museum M in Leuven. This year they are showing splendid work of Guy de Cointet, a French-born artist based in California. Very excited to see the work in person. I could name many more, but it seems fair to give the names that are at the top of my head.
What stimulates you outside graphic design?
If I’m not designing and sitting behind my desk, I want to spend as much time as possible with my loved ones. Our new apartment has a view on a nature reserve, so lately I am into bird watching.
Which books are on your bedside table?
The latest Yet Magazine and a book on projects of Ricardo Bofill. Really stunning images in both publications. I’ve also been reading Graphic Design: Now in Production by Walker Art Center. The publication gives a really nice easy-to-read overview on graphic design in the past, current and for the future.
The last word…
Interview: Dennis Moya & Tiffany Bähler — 10.15
Pictures ©Corbin Mahieu