Original Interview: September 2017

Ines Cox

From playing ‘office’ when she was young Ines Cox began to experiment with her fathers photocopier to create imagery that went towards making her own zines! Today Ines is inspired by things happening visually on our screens, researching her on screen actions and working digitally in a very conscious way . We find this fascinating!  See how this influences Ines’s work and where she’s taking this research. 

Tell us a bit about yourself and the studio that you work for.
My name is Ines Cox and I run my own independent graphic design studio in Antwerp. In 2009 I graduated from Luca School of Arts (Ghent) with a degree in graphic design and continued studying for a second Master course at Werkplaats Typografie (The Netherlands). My work has a focus on print and graphic identities within a wide variety of projects. Clients range from independent artists and galleries to brands, schools and museums. Since 2014 I started teaching typography at the Royal Academy of Antwerp and last January I also started a two year research project there.

What are some of your earliest creative memories and what lead you into design?
I like to think it started with the arrival of the copy machine at our house. My father is an accountant and has his own home office. Since I was little I loved to play ‘office’; I was making piles of paper, walking around with folders, making fake phone calls with my sister while maniacally marking, stapling and perforating. Then I discovered how the copy machine in my father’s office worked. I started copying random objects, manipulating the darkness of images and making my own magazines. A few years later I realised that what I liked doing at home I could also study, so off we went to art school.

Are you involved in any mentoring/teaching/workshops and if and how it shapes your practice?
Since I am currently teaching typography, I feel the constant need to ask myself what good and relevant graphic design should be and what that means to me. This deliberate focus, the conversations with students and fellow teachers feed and inspire my practice intensively. Next to teaching I also just started a research project at the Academy and it will last for two years. Of course this project influences immediately, my classes as well as my practice as a graphic designer. I feel this triangle is essential for me: teaching — designing ( commissioned jobs) — researching. These 3 occupations handle all the same interests but on a different level, with different outcomes.

What role does digital design play in your studio in 2017, and how to you apply traditional graphic design skills in a digital age?
Actually, I’m trying to work digitally in a very conscious way. For my research project at the Academy I document my on-screen actions with screenshots. There are things visually happing on our screens which we can’t immediately put in print — that’s why cmd+shift+4 comes in handy. From creating to presenting, we are constantly confronted with fixed digital formats. These formats carry a certain choreographic force that determines how we create and see content. In a cannibalistic effort, I do not want to destroy these frameworks and digital actions, but rather chase them, eat them, use them, digest them and reveal their nature.

Ben Schwartz says (on the Gradient blog of theWalker Art Centre) “In looking at Ines’ work the traces of virtual architecture reveal themselves as both odd and familiar out of their original context. They become artefacts of our current era, traces of her process, and a timestamp as to when the work was made.”

What have been some of your biggest disasters and how have you learnt from it?
I was once asked to design a book for a Belgian model. The book was full of high quality fashion pictures, shot by famous photographers. The publisher had all the contact with the printer and was in charge of sending the final files for production. When the book was ready and I first got my hands on it I realised they had send an old file to print. Most of the images were still in low resolution and there were some other mistakes as well. This was of course super embarrassing since it seemed like it was me who made the mistake. Luckily they reprinted the book, this time with the correct PDF. But the first book was already distributed, so this horrible thing was lying in every Belgian book store. From now on I insist on having personal contact with the producer of my work.

Whats on the cards professionally and personally in the next 12 months?
In November there’s a huge graphic design conference here in Antwerp, called Us by Night. I just finished designing the identity and website. The next months I’ll be working on other sorts of output material such as advertisements and posters. Next to that I will start with the design of a book containing a dutch translation of Derrida’s first Chapter in ‘The Truth in Painting’. Besides working on commissioned jobs and teaching I plan on investing more time and concentration in my research project to work towards actual results such as a book and a some kind of physical presentation.

Website: inescox.com
Instagram: @ines_cox