Interview with Aurelia Peter


Interview with Swiss graphic designer Aurelia Peter.

Dennis Moya: Hello Aurelia how are you?

Aurelia Peter: Thank you, I am good!

DM: Can you introduce yourself?

AP: My name is Aurelia Peter and I am a graphic designer based in Switzerland. I grew up in St.Gallen, Switzerland, where I later completed my apprenticeship as a graphic designer. Because of my fascination and passion for graphic design I wanted to deepen and expand my knowledge, so I started studying Visual Communication at the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK). At the moment I am doing an intermediate year, during which I decided to found my own studio to work on various projects, most of them in the cultural field with a typographic approach. In autumn my last year of studies at the ZHdK begins.

DM: Where does your interest in design come from?

AP: As a child I drew a lot and loved being creative – often I painted forms and figures on small square papers and handcrafted small books of my own. It was clear to me early on that I would choose a creative or artistic career. When someone asked me what I wanted to be, I would always say an artist. At that time, of course, I didn’t know anything about graphic design. I was probably influenced by my grandmother, who was very interested in art and design. She painted a lot and made ceramic sculptures.

DM: Can you tell us more about Z ETT magazine?

AP: It is the university magazine of the Zurich University of the Arts and is published twice a year in two languages, German and English. Together with Michel Egger, Dominik Junker and Silvan Possa I design the Z ETT. In autumn 2016 the four of us had the opportunity to develop a redesign of the existing magazine within the framework of a student competition of our degree program. The competition was initiated by Jonas Voegeli, head of the BA specialization in Visual Communication of the ZHdK, and the university communication of the ZHdK. The project is accompanied by Larissa Kasper.

The design concept is based on the ZHdK logo, which has a white space between the letter Z and the hDK. This design element has been transferred onto the whole layout. Our goal was to create a magazine that works with interesting white spaces, has a tidy and clear structure, shows a contemporary graphic style and remains flexible at the same time. The photo spread is based on the focus topic of each issue. For this, a respective cooperation with a photographer, artist or illustrator takes place. The first picture of the series is shown on the cover, but there is an estrangement, for example a zoom.

For each Z ETT, one of us designs a poster on the respective focus topic, which is enclosed in the magazine. For the penultimate, issue 3, it was my turn. This issue’s topic was #tbt (Throwback Thursday). The hashtag symbol (#) occupies geometrical lines and organic surfaces. It refers to pixels and echoes the original meaning of the words “hash” (to chop into small pieces) and “tag” (to mark). The Unicode characters at the top, which allude to the digital, stand for Z ETT, those at the bottom for #tbt. The combination of geometric and organic forms creates a link to the digital (present) and the analog (past) world.

DM: Would you like to talk about another of your recent project?

AP: Gladly. In collaboration with Laura Prim, I developed and designed the visual identity of last year’s “Kulturfestival St.Gallen”, a music festival in the courtyard of the Museum of History and Ethnology in St.Gallen Switzerland that takes place in summer. The music program is wide and varies from electronic music to world music to hip hop. The line up consists of international stars and exciting artists from the region.

The four horizontal surfaces in which the numbers are placed are reminiscent of note lines. The wide vertical lines on the side refer to bar lines and the oval dots to notes. Through closer inspection a gradient dot pattern becomes visible, which reminds the viewer of spotlights. The diversity of the musical genres at the festival is shown through the interactions of the varying typefaces and their different weights.

Currently Laura and I are working on the new visual identity of this year’s Kulturfestival.

DM: How challenging is to be a freelance designer in Switzerland today?

AP: In Switzerland, as everywhere else, it is certainly not always easy as a freelance designer. Global networking such as the Internet and social media has created an important opportunity to connect and establish oneself internationally. I think design and graphic design in particular is still very significant in Switzerland and has a high reputation abroad, which may make it a bit easier.

DM: What do you think about the current design scene in Zurich?

AP: I’ve only recently moved to Zurich. Since my hometown is St.Gallen, I am still very connected with the graphic scene there. For me, Zurich is an extremely active, varied, dynamic and inspiring place and there are a lot of creative people and excellent designers – I appreciate that greatly. But I also believe that the design scene in Switzerland should not only be viewed locally, but as a whole.

Dennis Moya


©Aurelia Peter

Graphic Design