Slawek Michalt Studio

We can't decide what we love more — Slawek Michalt's playful poster designs or his elegant editorial designs. We chat with Slawek about his 6 years lecturing in Germany & China, his top three must-read design books, plus he shares the best pieces of advise he's ever received.

Give us an elevator pitch on what you do.

I am a designer running a studio for visual communication in Berlin since 2007. I mainly work on visual identity concepts for clients from various sectors such as art, music and fashion as well as on self-initiated projects. Besides being a designer I also lecture at various art schools in Germany and China.

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

1. ”The Philosophy of Andy Warhol: From A to B and Back Again“. Reading this book you feel like having a conversation with Andy – or at least something very close to a conversation. Amusing and instructive.

2. ”Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers“. Wabi-Sabi is a Japanese philosophy and worldview focusing on the acceptance of imperfection. This book will show you the invisible beauty. An eye-opening experience.

3. Any book on Henryk Tomaszewski’s work. Tomaszewski was a polish graphic designer and poster artist being active some decades ago. I really love the cleverness and recklessness in his drawings. A great intellectual punk.

Design work by Slawek Michalt Studio The Design Kids interviews Slawek Michalt Studio work-2

What do you look for in a great portfolio?

To me, a portfolio is to show a deep and honest interest for an idea or a detail. I see many portfolios just following a certain style which is en vogue at the very moment. I like seeing how much an artist wanted to explore a discipline or to push things forward.

What do you look for in a great client?

I appreciate open-ended dialogues. When a design process turns into something unexpected but necessary after all. I do believe in misunderstandings – they can lead to something surprising.

Design work by Slawek Michalt Studio The Design Kids interviews Slawek Michalt Studio work-4
Design work by Slawek Michalt Studio The Design Kids interviews Slawek Michalt Studio work-4

Whats the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Those are my top 3:

1. ”Two plus two is not always equal four.“ (A friend of mine who is a mathematician)

2. ”You lose a recipient more quickly demanding too little than when overstraining.“ (My teacher at art school)

3. ”Don’t play what’s there, play what’s not there“ (This quote by Miles Davis is actually some years old and it originally refers to music but it is absolutely timeless and very applicable to design)

Are you involved in any mentoring / teaching / workshops and if so how it shapes your practice?

I have lectured at various art schools for 6 years now. Among them are the Berlin University of the Arts and the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou. As a lecturer I try to encourage students to question their own work in order to push it further.

It is natural to protect something you have created yourself – and it is a trap not only students fall into. The intense exchange with students shows me new ways to challenge myself as a designer and to shift my own creative boundaries.

Design work by Slawek Michalt Studio The Design Kids interviews Slawek Michalt Studio work-6
Design work by Slawek Michalt Studio The Design Kids interviews Slawek Michalt Studio work-6

Where to find Slawek Michalt Studio online.

Website: michalt.de

Instagram: @slawekmichalt

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