Featured Graphic & Type Designer

Fabian Maier-Bode

October 2019

Graphic designer and "trial version" type designer Fabian Maier-Bode caught up with us to chat about the gift and burden of being flexible as a designer. He shares with us the interesting design studios in Berlin and missing negronis in Italy, and dishes out the advice to 'print it out'!

Where did you study and what were some of your first jobs?

I studied in Munich, Germany, at the Designschule München which is a school for communication design coupled to the master school for fashion. The school is state-owned and belongs to the city of Munich. It has a very school-based teaching approach, 40 hours a week, mandatory attendance.

Many topics and programs are introduced at a surface level, then it is up to each student to deepen their understand of their favourite things. I had a crush on typography back then.

My first job after graduation was an internship in the graphic department of the sueddeutsche zeitung magazin. This happened all very coincidentally, but it was the best thing that could happened to me. I learned a lot through being part of a weekly published magazine. It was very helpful to learn the basics and even more specific knowledge about editorial design. I got my first point of contact with art direction. And the most important thing, I was at a place where the written word and great images were paired at a very high level. For me, this is a major part of being a graphic designer.

What are some of the best and worst parts of your job, day-to-day?

I think the best and worst parts of my job are in direct contact with each other. Being a graphic designer means you could can constantly evolve and change the way you think and work. This is beautiful and really a gift.

But this freedom and flexibility, on the other hand, is a burden, because it is really exhausting to always be this flexible with your thinking and your decisions. I think the key is in finding a good balance between stability and flexibility — between earning an appropriate amount of money and working on jobs you're passionate about. But it never gets boring.

Is there an active design community in your city and who are your favourite top 5 designers/studios/organisations our readers can check out?

I live in Berlin, Germany, and there's a massive design community. Or rather, a lot of design communities in the same city. Berlin is full of creative people looking for exciting jobs. This gives a kind of positive pressure to the whole game. And on the other hand, even though there's so many creatives, there’s also a circle of people who know each other, at least a little.

There are really a lot of designers/studios/organisations I admire and could highly recommend, but I go with these ones: Bus Group (Creative Agency, founded by Manuel Birnbacher and Daniel Schnitterbaum), NODE Berlin (Design Studio, founded by Anders Hofgaard and Serge Rompza), Schick-Toikka (Type Foundry based in Berlin and Helsinki), Tim+Tim (Full service creative studio, founded by Tim Rehm and Tim Stürken) and Stan Hema (Creative Brand Agency, founded by Heike Schmidt, Stephanie Kurz, Andreas Weber and Mathias Illgen).

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There’s a big difference between what you see on your screen and what it looks like on actual paper.

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What's the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

One of the most important and really helpful pieces of advice I got is simultaneously a very basic one. In August 2018, I attended typography summer school in London hosted and organized by Fraser Muggeridge. And what he was saying to all participants, a couple of times a day while we were working on different tasks, was: "Print it out" or "Print that shit out!". For me personally, it wasn’t a weird thing to hear. But for many other participants who were way younger than me, it was. I also recognized that the later you do some print tests, the more afraid you become to do it.

But it is so important because there’s a big difference between what you see on your screen and what it looks like on actual paper. Especially when it comes to typography. PRINT IT OUT!

Any passion projects/collabs you would like to share?

I was really happy to be part of the so called Berlin Takeover by Everpress from London. They asked a bunch of creatives from a wide range of different fields to contribute a shirt design for this collaboration.

Because it was very soon after my return from my half-year-long stay in Milano, Italy, I thought about what I would miss the most when I was back in Berlin. So I made a shirt with peroni e negroni on it, set in a display typeface I was working on during my time in Milano, check it out: everpress.com/peroni-e-negroni

2019 for you in a sentence.

It was a great honor to get the chance to have a half year long sabbatical. If an opportunity like this is available to you, hit it!

Website: fabianmaierbode.de

Instagram: @fabianmaierbode

Tumblr: fabianmaierbode.tumblr.com

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