Erik Kessels talked about the quality of the detour in every graphic design project, how to look beyond, bypass the original question.
Erik Kessels is founder and Creative Director of KesselsKramer, an independent international communications agency located in Amsterdam and London. Kessels works and has worked for national and international clients such as Nike, Diesel, Oxfam, Ben, Vitra, and The Hans Brinker Budget Hotel, for which he has won numerous international awards. Kessels is a photography collector and has published several books of vernacular images through KesselsKramer Publishing – including the in almost every picture series. Since 2000, he has been one of the editors of the alternative photography magazine Useful Photography. In 2010 he won the cultural prize from the city of Amsterdam.
Manystuff: If you want to leave a mark as a graphic designer, what would it be?
Erik Kessels: “Disciplines are getting more democratic and accessible. For the first time, almost everyone has access to the technology that makes designing relatively easy.
As a result, we’re surrounded by ever increasing numbers of graphic designers.
The only way to stand out in this crowd is to work from a good idea. Without an idea, design becomes wallpaper: sometimes pretty but ultimately left in the background. As more and more “design-like-wallpaper” heaps up, the value of ideas can only increase. After all, if computers are a shortcut around craft skills, the only point of difference left is thinking.”
Manystuff: Do you think that diverting/deviating/looking at beyond is the key of the redefinition of design today?
Erik Kessels: “Sure, deviation is the redefinition of design. More than that, it’s the redefinition of creative disciplines generally. Nowadays, a graphic designer can use their skills in fashion design, architecture, visual arts, in whatever field takes their interest. And this works in the opposite direction as well: a visual artists can also take a detour and work in graphic design. This endless cross-fertilisation means that the idea of a “pure graphic designer” will become increasingly vague.”