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Episode #

1

Johanna Wegerich: Studying Design in Germany and England

Johanna Wegerich

November 1, 2020

Episode Show Notes

November 1, 2020

Travel with us to Germany and England with Johanna Wegerich. Johanna is a graphic designer based in Frankfurt, Germany. We got to know each other during our time studying abroad at the Hochschule Darmstadt in Germany, and we are so extremely happy today to have her here on the show.   She currently works as the art director for Frittenlove, a hip restaurant and company in the Frankfurt area. She also manages her own freelance studio titled ‘The sun will come out.’ She is a print and editorial enthusiast and recently published her book ‘Können wir nicht zu viel besser‘ (We can't do too much better) which was listed on the Longlist Förderpreis für junge Buchgestaltung Stiftung Buchkunst in 2017.  

Featured in this episode

Jens Bringsjord

Co-Host

Megan Luedke

Co-Host

Episode Transcript

Jens Bringsjord

Hello and welcome to Design Atlas. I'm Jens Bringsjord and with me is my co-host, Megan Luedke. In today's episode, we're going to be meeting up with Johanna Wegerich, art director, in Frankfurt, Germany. Her story is a true inspiration to all designers out there. We discuss why analogue is an important medium, even in today's highly digital design industry. We will venture into typography and how you want to use it to become an effective communicator. And lastly, we'll learn about the psychological aspects of overstimulation that Johanna has applied to her work. Stay tuned. This is Design Atlas.


Johanna Wegerich

Hi. I’m Johanna Wegerich. A graphic designer from Darmstadt, Germany. I'm currently an art director for the company Fritenlov, and I work as a freelance graphic designer under my studio name. The Sun Will Come Out. I would say I'm definitely an analog designer. My brain works very tactile. For example, before I lay out, I always start with pen and paper to sketch out what I want to do.


Johanna Wegerich

I find the digital world still a bit difficult. Before I started Project, I try to research as much as possible to come up with an intelligent concept from which the design can grow out of. And of course, experiments are important as well, because creative ideas can be planned out perfectly. Most of the time. Yeah, it's the cool accidents that often become the most interesting visuality.


Jens Bringsjord

Between the years of 2016 and 2017. Both Megan and I left the University of Wisconsin Sound and embarked on our study abroad experiences. We both became great friends with Hannah during our time at the university. It's actually quite funny, as both myself and Megan took part in different classes with Johanna, and so we met in different ways. Johanna and I met during an analog newspaper course where we focused heavily on the typography, grids and other visual structures.


Jens Bringsjord

We also had to design a garden that encompassed the Fibonacci sequence to complete the course objectives.


Johanna Wegerich

Everyone had a little garden and grew his own carrots.


Megan Luedke

I know Jens showed me his little garden.


Jens Bringsjord

And here's how Meghan and Johanna met.


Johanna Wegerich

And the class was called Experimental Design. I mean, you said it was too experimental for you. Yeah, it was intended to be like this. And then we went to a black metal concert in this old etching of elasticity and Nam stud. And it was a crazy experience. And some people couldn't. Couldn't listen to the two concerts.


Johanna Wegerich

They had to leave. Yeah, I think this was when we even met Megan.


Megan Luedke

I really remember that class because it was such an interesting cause having to go with your classmates to a black metal concert. It was just really strange, but some of the projects in the course turned out really, really well, and it was a really fun class overall. Made you think really differently about a lot of things, and I do appreciate that.


Johanna Wegerich

So I think for Black Metal fans, it was a great experience. But for everyone else it was really tough. Me. I always intended to pursue a creative path somehow. Yeah, I kind of struggled in high school because all the subjects didn't really welcome a different mind or brain that just works more visually. So I changed to a school in Frankfurt that already had a focus on design, and we only had subjects like German maths and English, and the rest all had the design focus.


Johanna Wegerich

And we had subjects like printing, illustration and photography. And since I didn't want to do anything else, yeah, I really like that kind of system in Germany that you can after a 10th grade, you can change to a technical school and then just focus on what you are interested in. Yeah, I was really lucky that I could go there at such a young age, and then this whole world opened up to me when I went to that school and I could see, Oh wow, I can actually make money by doing creative stuff.


Johanna Wegerich

I find it so, so cool. I mean, I always thought and did illustrations and things and took photos of things and then just, yeah, this whole world opened up to me and I learned more about typography and that then form is something interesting by its own path. I really love to.


Jens Bringsjord

Not only did Johanna vaguely study in her home country of Germany, she also took one year abroad at the Camberwell College of Arts in London. Here's her story on how she ended up studying there.


Johanna Wegerich

We have this Erasmus program. I think everyone knows it. So it's like a scholarship you get from you. I think everyone should do it because you just get money for staying somewhere in Europe. We had many schools to choose from. Then I saw in the list that there's London and London. It's just my favourite city in the world. I heard a lot of good things about design school in South London.


Johanna Wegerich

Yeah, I really wanted to apply.


Jens Bringsjord

She applied and she ended up getting into the university. This is how the process was for Johanna, beginning his application into Camberwell College of Arts.


Johanna Wegerich

Yeah, so I think for EU students it's really easy to do this semester abroad because of the nationals and because the schools plan it out for you. At first it seemed really difficult to get into Camberwell because everyone told me that it seems almost impossible to study abroad there because no one got accepted in the past years and it made me very concerned and anxious.



Johanna Wegerich

So I also applied in Clark and Ireland. So just in case, you know, something made, maybe even even myself and I just applied to come over so and I had nothing to lose really. Like any I got an acceptance letter and this was the best one of the best days of my life. When you want to reach London, some of the courses that you took included both typography studies and also a focus on fashion through graphic design. We had to set up a whole fashion show. Hundreds of people came to see the show and every student had to create a garment. That is something between fashion and graphic design.



Megan Luedke

We had a similar one so it's called fashion without fabric where all the design students set up an art show, but you have to do a fashion show and you have to make an outfit entirely out of things that are not made out of fabric. So fabric is the only thing that you can't use. And so people were making dresses and things out of paper and garbage bags and plastic and metal.



Megan Luedke

And it was really interesting. Fashion shows happen like every year. So that's always fun to see that there's most of them.



Johanna Wegerich

I find it really difficult at first to find something that, you know, that connects passion with graphic design. So I stepped back and thought, okay, what's my favourite thing about graphic design? And it was grids. I love just laying out and creating cribs and typography. So I thought, okay, wouldn't it be so cool to make a wearable grid?



Johanna Wegerich

So I created this giant blanket out of fabric and then I glued everything together with newspapers, and it was like a puffer jacket that it was when you had it off, it was a giant grid system and it was wearable. I did enjoy my dad's projects more because we had much more time to make them really nice and think about a strong concept.



Johanna Wegerich

Whereas in London they're really rushed through a project. It wasn't really there wasn't a lot of time to realise them, but I really enjoyed the type design project as well because back home I didn't really go to a course with type design, so I really liked that we had to do it in London.



Jens Bringsjord

One thing that Johanna really appreciates is travel. Travel can inspire us as designers as we go through the world and gather experiences, meet new people, taste new foods. It's something that we all experience in a new way and in a new light. And even during the pandemic, which can be so difficult on all of us, it becomes very easy to kind of disconnect from the world.



Jens Bringsjord

But remember, we are all connected and Johanna is no different. She enjoyed going to California before the lockdown of 2020. And here's her story on going to California and what she observed while she was there.



Johanna Wegerich

I love travelling and I always wanted to go to California. I think I was always romanticising the idea of living on the beach there in my hand. And then when I went there, it was even better than in my imagination. I enjoyed the sun, the warmth, the food, the flowers and the architecture. And in general, that pure feeling of freedom.



Johanna Wegerich

Just the open mindedness of the people there. Everyone is just so friendly and I really, really love that. I just enjoy it so much. And people are truly kind to each other.



Johanna Wegerich

I feel like the best experimental designs happen through conceptual forms. Of course, you can play with the shape, the form and the placement and layouts, but I feel like a strong concept behind your design choices is very necessary, even when you can't really see all the thoughts and a design. In the end, it helps make intelligent design choices that make you think in new ways and get new ideas that you maybe haven't thought of before.



Johanna Wegerich

So with colour, I always try to find my inspiration in my surroundings. For example, drawing with pencils, scanning the illustrations in, and taking the textures and new colours and my designs. I find it way easier than just using the colour parameters in our GP or in my case. And the same goes with printing digital designs out and scanning them back in.



Johanna Wegerich

It gives digital designs an interesting analog origin.



Megan Luedke

The aspect of like seeing those colours and in person, whether it's, you know, through drawing them out or you know, using them on just experimenting with how they're going to be. Places can sometimes be easier than trying to use the try and find colours in the colour picker. Because I like to generally work for digital. But finding colours in a colour picker is impossible sometimes, and it's easier if you like, have the colour in your hands and you can just like to see it.



Johanna Wegerich

I just love books and having this tactile thing in my hands and just leaving through a book just gives me so much joy in touching the paper and seeing how stories develop over the pages. It's just I think it's such a beautiful thing. And because it exists in the real world, you can have it on your desk or somewhere.



Johanna Wegerich

And in the digital world, it's just I don't see the place where it is, you know, it's just somewhere in this big, big world.



Jens Bringsjord

Have you ever been to a city where you just feel like there's too much noise? Take, for example, the London tube. The tube has, you know, motors and lights and people and all this noise. And that's just one example. While there is this concept of overstimulation that Johanna really applies to her work in certain design projects that she's been a part of.



Jens Bringsjord

And if you haven't already, I recommend checking out hypersensitivity on Google and learning a little bit more about it because it's a very fascinating topic.



Johanna Wegerich

My favourite project must've made a pro my project so far, and I went wild with optical illusions. And actually I had a lot of headaches when I worked on the project. And I'm really interested in psychology and different ways of perception. And during my time in London, I got overwhelmed quite often. Yeah, all the noises and surroundings and smells and people, they triggered an overstimulation of my brain.



Johanna Wegerich

And then I learned that 15 to 20% of all living things are actually highly sensitive. And that means that your brain gets overwhelmed by external stimuli more often. And now this project opened up a whole new way of understanding myself. And what I wanted to do with this project was I realised that almost nobody around me knew about the trait of high sensitivity.



Johanna Wegerich

I don't know if you guys know about this, so I decided to create the project. Note Neville's opticals. It's called Yeah. I never understood how people can work a whole day with a ton of people and later go clubbing and sleep only 3 hours a day. And with all my research, I got my answer because it really depends on social energy.



Johanna Wegerich

What I did with the project was to raise more awareness towards high sensitivity. I designed a poster exhibition, Optical Illusions, which had their heyday in the super cool sixties, and they triggered the perception of everyone. This way you could make overstimulation visible and explain the highly sensitive trait through a poster book. I just really love when at uni you learn much more than just about the topic itself, like graphic design.




Johanna Wegerich

I learned so much about life and about myself and the world and this forms this new way of thinking and this really changes how you design as well.



Jens Bringsjord

I think all good designers know that typography is one of the best and fastest and easiest ways to make or break a design. Yohanna knows that very well. I mean, seriously, she loves typography.



Johanna Wegerich

I could talk about typefaces the whole day. In general. I like really bold assumptions of typefaces. It's just that they really speak to me. And I mean with this in school we started with her. I take care, of course. And I think when you start designing maternity care, it's just phases and you always compare other typefaces to it because for me, I always want a bold typeface.



Johanna Wegerich

And my favourite typeface must be I got you from Peng REM. Peng REM. They are called super cool Canadian type founders. You should check them out. My favourite typeface from them is really funky. That's still really bold, but you can use it in more chic designs, very bold designs, but it also works and copy text really great. I love it. She can just mix all the styles with so you don't have to use two typefaces to mix in one design.



Johanna Wegerich

So you have this one cool typeface and this type designer holds so much about it and worked maybe three years on it and made it work that all the styles work together perfectly.



Jens Bringsjord

Johanna also has a design studio called The Sun Will Come Out.



Megan Luedke

Is there a reason as to why you name it? It's really fun.



Johanna Wegerich

Title Yeah, I love that you asked this question because already the experimental part comes out again. Yeah, it's actually a line from one of my favourite songs. It's from Kali Uchis. It's called After the Storm. And yeah, the full cover of this song is where I got the line from is The Sun Will Come Out. Nothing good ever comes easy.



Johanna Wegerich

I know times are rough. I love this song. You need to give this a listen. Yeah, it's really groovy and I find the chorus really inspiring. It applies to all parts of life . We have bad times where everything seems so difficult and rough, but in the end, the sun will always come out.

Jens Bringsjord

All designers have a few good tricks up their sleeve when it comes to finding inspiration. Here's where Johanna goes to look for inspiration for her design work.



Johanna Wegerich

So I'm a big fan of well designed magazines, again, really analog, and I really appreciate the work of the art directors of Outside Campus and certainly what they are from one of Germany's biggest publishing houses. I did an internship with them. Their magazines are so beautiful. They still look really, really cool designed and they do cool experimental things now.



Johanna Wegerich

Things you would see everywhere. And also I really like the slanted publishers. I don't know if you guys know them. It's a German publisher who focuses on design books and they have their own magazines and they just make really good designed books and magazines. I really love them. Yeah, of course. On Instagram. Instagram these days is a big source of inspiration as well, if you use it right.



Johanna Wegerich

So it can be so overwhelming. And in general, poetry and science inspired me a lot as well, like psychology. And currently I'm really into Lana Ray's audio poem book. I don't know if you guys know it. It's really, really beautiful. She talks about California a lot and how she sees the world, and it's really inspiring.



Jens Bringsjord

All right. Well, thank you so much, Joanna. It's been great having you on our episode. You are the first person that we've interviewed on Design Atlas, and we just wanted to thank you so much for being a part of our journey and being a part of our podcast. Where can people, if they want to get in touch with you and get in contact?



Johanna Wegerich

Yeah, of course you can visit my website. Johanna Vega started EU and you can go follow me on Instagram. My design account is below me. Not that some Sandra three and.



Jens Bringsjord

Great will definitely make sure we add it to the show now. So thank you so much again for being here with us today and I'm sure our listeners really love that you are here too, so thank you so much. Johanna.



Megan Luedke

Yes, it's been really great chatting with you and connecting with you after it's been so long since we've been in Germany. So that was really great.



Johanna Wegerich

Yeah. Thank you so much for having me today, Megan. And again, it was a pleasure talking to you.



Megan Luedke

To find out more about Johanna, we've included her Instagram and website links in the show notes. We highly recommend you check them out.



Jens Bringsjord

Want to get in touch with us or have a topic idea for our next episode here on Design Atlas. Feel free to email us at designatlaspod@gmail.com or DM us on Instagram at Design Atlas Pod. Also, don't forget to sign up to our email list for more in-depth research on our upcoming episodes. Thank you again for tuning in to another episode on Design Atlas. We are so excited about what we have planned and what's upcoming next and we just appreciate that everybody is with us on our journey for our podcast. Thank you again and on behalf of myself and Meghan, we wish everybody a great day. And don't forget to keep on designing because you never know where your design Atlas may take you next.



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©2021-2024 Design Atlas Podcast. All Rights Reserved.

Created with love in Barcelona, Spain and Los Angeles, CA.

©2021-2024 Design Atlas Podcast. All Rights Reserved.

Created with love in Barcelona, Spain and Los Angeles, CA.

©2021-2024 Design Atlas Podcast. All Rights Reserved.

Created with love in Barcelona, Spain and Los Angeles, CA.