ANNA HAAS — Interview
Zürich based graphic designer and illustrator.
Hello Anna, how are you?
Hi, how do you do!
Tell us more about you. Who are you?
I’m an illustrator and graphic designer from Switzerland, currently based in Zürich.
Where is your studio based and what do you like about its location?
My Studio is based a bit outside of Zürich, in a Jewish neighborhood. It’s more like an island; there is no much going on there, no bars, nearly no restaurant and galleries. But we have a garden and a grill. Zürich is pretty good for now; but let’s see where life is leading me.
What’s your background and approach to illustration and graphic design? When did you start?
The short story would be: As a kid I liked to draw. Then went to art school and now I’m a designer. Which is true. On the other hand, most of the kids like to draw, don’t they? But not everybody is going to be a designer! Looking back, I think, one main key moment was when I was 14, when I saw for the first time the skate magazine Lowdown from Berlin. I grew up in a small city in Switzerland and had never seen something like that before; I was totally mesmerized by the look of that magazine: The coexistence of text and image was never before so intriguing to me. The term Design was not familiar to me back then, so I went to art school and choose Illustration in order to approach the visual language. At that time, I was not that much into computers, illustration seemed to be closer to what I had in mind and I felt you need to practice more to be able to draw than to make a good layout.
How do you process in your work?
Mostly I don’t start immediately, I let it rest for a while and do other stuff, like going for a walk, read a book, back a cake or what ever. Often my thoughts return to the new assignment. After a while (depending on the time I have 2-3 hours or 1-3 days later) I sit down and sketch the ideas that came during my “break”. Best ideas come, when you don’t expect them. Starting right after reading the assignment makes me come up with the expected stuff. But after that little “break” and with a distance, other, maybe more important details of the design problem become visible.
You were twice awarded in 2011 for the most beautiful Swiss Book 2010. What’s your interest about book design?
My interest in books and images was there from an early age on; the interaction between images and texts, the visualization of content in a small, compact, tactile ‘box’. The different materials, the feeling of the cover, the paper and the smell of a book, in the luckiest circumstances this making you understand the content on a sensual level; this is something I still can’t get enough of.
What project has given you the most satisfaction?
The projects giving me most satisfaction are fun projects, where both sides, the audience (viewer, reader, clients and so on) and me are likewise happy with the outcome.
What inspires and influences you?
All unspectacular little things, the vernacular things of life in a way, when they suddenly appear in a different, unexpected context.
Which book is on your bedside table?
Anthropology as a cultural critique, the latest issue of Gentlewoman and ‘Die verschwundene Miniatur’ by Erich Kästner.
The last word…
Interview : Dennis Moya – october 2012.
Pictures ©Anna Haas.