Featured Studio

OCIO

October 2019

We chat with Beatrice Righi and George Shatirishvili of OCIO Studio, whose studio creates beautiful brand designs with purpose. They share with us how their careers started in the home of Bauhaus design, the benefits of intercultural exchange, and the importance of having a clear idea of what you want to do.

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

We probably wouldn’t have started the studio together if it was not for the Bauhaus, where we met during our MA in Integrated Design at Anhalt University in Dessau, Germany.

Beatrice: My career started in Milan, Italy, studying graphic design and art direction. Then I moved to Germany, with the need to explore another type of design; not solely based on aesthetics, but also on functionality. This decision was crucial for me because I could establish a perfect balance in my creation process, based on delivering quality design with a great visual appeal. In the beginning, I worked for high profile clients, large and small, as part of award-winning design studios and as a freelancer, both in Germany and in Italy. Out of a desire to have control over the creative process and out of love for good design, I decided to quit the agency job and start my own business. Then, OCIO was born.

George: It wasn’t a hard choice to make on what to study, since I was always passionate about art and design. I studied graphic design at Tbilisi State Academy of Fine Arts in Georgia. During my studies, I was fascinated with modernism and ideas developed around the Bauhaus school of design. I was fortunate to be awarded a scholarship from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) for the MA in Integrated Design in Germany and had the great opportunity to study at the design department in Dessau, where the historic Bauhaus school was located. Shortly after that, I moved to Berlin. Over the last 8 years, I have developed and implemented creative solutions for diverse clients. My first job was at a renowned advertising agency, and later I worked as a freelancer in the vibrant start-up scene of Berlin. After that, I felt a strong pull to join forces and create something bigger, and OCIO Studio began.

How did you name your practice and what does the name represent to you?

OCIO literally means “eyes” in Mantua dialect (Italian dialect from the North-East). It is also used to express ‘wow’ moments in the spoken language. We wanted to have a short name that could be easy to remember and which could translate visually and verbally — our design as an “eyecatcher”.

Give us the elevator pitch on what you do.

OCIO is a Berlin brand design studio. We help businesses of the future to create authentic and impactful brands, establishing a strong connection with people by delivering quality design that works. We do not believe in design solely based on good looks. Our design process is based on uncovering meaning and purpose.

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We do not believe in design solely based on good looks. Our design process is based on uncovering meaning and purpose.

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What are your three must-read design books/blogs/podcasts and why?

Getting new books for the studio every month is becoming a must. We love to check out the latest entries from our favourite publishing companies, like Niggli or Hermann Schmidt, but also going around the different bookstores for art and design in Berlin.

One of the best books ever published on design is Arte come Mestiere (Design as Art) by Bruno Munari. Munari, one of the most inspirational designers of all time, described by Picasso as “the new Leonardo”. The book describes some fundamental design concepts. It’s a great book to start.

Cradle to Cradle is another great book. It’s also a very relevant one, considering the present environmental situation. The book invites us to rethink the way we make things to combat design problems threatening life on earth.

For graphic designers, Grid Systems by Josef Müller-Brockmann is an essential book. It’s a great introduction to the fundamentals of visual communication and typographic grids with clear practical examples for solving design problems.

Are you involved in any mentoring/teaching/workshops, and how does it shape your practice?

We had the pleasure of lecturing in design at the Beijing Normal University in China. This was a great experience for us because we got to share our vision and passion for design with a new generation of creatives outside Europe. Intercultural exchange keeps us open to experiment and learn at the same time. We think education is a pure form of freedom creatively, but also for life choices.

As part of our design process, we offer brand workshops for our clients. As we mentioned, we aim to achieve a design with meaning and purpose; therefore, brand strategy is a priority for us when we start a new project. We realised after the first year of our studio that it's difficult to design anything for a user or a client that you don't understand. Therefore, to facilitate the process of understanding, we run an initial workshop that aims to transform an abstract idea of the brand into something concrete.

What is the design landscape like on your city and where do you fit in?

The Berlin design landscape is very vibrant, full of great design studios and professionals. It might seem a bit overcrowded too but that makes it a worthy challenge for us. That’s why it’s important to have a clear idea of what you want to do. For us, at OCIO it’s beautiful brand design with purpose.

Website: ociostudio.com

Instagram: @ocio_studio

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