Featured Awards Winner

Stefan Pelikan

April 2018

A big congrats to Stefan Pelikan, one of our 30 TDK Awards’ winners for 2018. A Penn State University graduate from New York, their work was chosen by Verònica from Hey Studio: “In Stefan portfolio there is a high quality in innovation and experimental way. I see a very defined style that I think is good because empower her work. He needs to improve this way and continue going further”. We asked Stefan to answer a few questions for next years TDK Awards’ hopefuls.

What was your plan for graduating and what actually happened? OR What is your plan for graduating?

I’d like to be at a creative studio where I can work on a variety of projects surrounded by great people! So, to me that means: getting to help amplify underrepresented voices, amplifying the voices of organizations with benign presences in the world, generally doing what I can to enrich everyone’s day – like, you know, “making cool stuff” as they say.  On top of that, I’d like to get more and more personally entrepreneurial. Plus, I want to make books with my friends, and to make music. Someday: I would love to teach!

Any passion projects/collabs you would like to share?

I’ve got to shout out Kelli Anderson! Her work as an artist, engineer, teacher, designer is super, and I think she’s just so good for the discipline of design. Check out her books! She was great to intern for as well, we had a really good time working on crazy paper contraptions, like the “auxetic poster zine”, which you can see above. She’s teaching about materiality and computing right now at the School for Poetic Computation, in NYC, which is an awesome place, an incredible presence – back when I was an intern I took a great two-week class there called “code narratives”.

Re: passion projections, I’ve been working on this book about the Linotype machine, and specifically the Mergenthaler Linotype Company, which had many interesting ties to the publishing industry despite really being what we’d today call a “tech company”. I did a lot of cut paper collaging using books with titles like “The Power of Print – And Men” (that’s an old one). Norman Wiener’s notion of Cybernetics has been a big help:  how do we understand both the messages we send and the undergirding infrastructural systems which facilitate them as means of control? What about messages we send machines, or that machines send us? It’s a lot of fun.

What/who are your top five places or people to follow online to get inspiration?

Librivox

Fonts in use

Design Observer

Data & Society

Lubalin Center

"

If we assume healthcare is a necessity, then doctors work for the community. If language and culture are also necessities, then designers also work for the community.

"

Where do you think design is heading in the next five years and how will you adapt?

I see a resurgence of the stone chisel, seriously! Perhaps still images will cease to exist? Abstract logos will become less and less relevant. I’m sure you guys already know this, but type animations are some sort of big deal.

Design executed by non-designers has raised its voice in the political sphere – an encouraging trend I can imagine continuing further! We need to give people lightweight design tools, not lightweight design. If you'll forgive me for quoting Anthony Inciong (printed in Emigre #67): "As we continue to fall into the market's velvet embrace, we leave behind values and concerns that make our work a force for positive change. This is an enormous price to pay for the steady stream of comforts granted us by a market pleased to know we are on its side".

This is an important time to think about how the commercial architecture of social media has changed our discipline.

I will adapt by reading lots of Twitter! Now’s the time to get obsessed with screen typography.

What advice would you give students starting out?

Executing the design is the least of it; broaden your scope. Read as much as possible (tweets count!). Don’t slough off the art history education. Think about the corporate influences on your “personal” “aesthetic”. Drink lots of coffee, and don’t worry – it’s just design, you can always make more of it. One last little thing: If we assume healthcare is a necessity, then doctors work for the community. If language and culture are also necessities, then designers also work for the community.

Website: pelikan.gd

Instagram: @stefanpelikan

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