KIF Graphics

Yves Krähenbühl, Graphic Designer and founder of Kif, gives us a quirky and super fun interview. We chat about how his interests change as often as his underwear, always being open to inspiration, and the reason behind the short & sexy name 'Kif'.

What's the worst design job you’ve ever had and how does that make you a better designer?

I’m sure you’d like to hear a disaster story. I can’t come up with a real disaster. Lucky me, ha! On the other hand, I’m not that old yet, soo… we will see. There are multiple - let’s call them - “jobs” I’ve worked on or I was involved in which ended – to be diplomatic - not that satisfying. In general, those things for friends where the argumentative “friend” comes up. That’s always fishy and that sh*t just never worked out. Dare to say no. Listen to the big guys in the industry. And also listen to your gut. And let things take their time. If you have to force it, it’ll hurt. Just like when you’re having your daily meeting with the porcelain pot.

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

Well, it’s quite a thing to type in Yves Krähenbühl apparently— with Umlaute—and, yeah.... So long story short, I tried to simplify the whole thing. Let’s reduce this French thing (which isn’t the bigger issue) to it’s pronounced parts, and for the last name, erm… Let’s just keep the first letter. Magic magic, you end up with Kif. Put “graphics” at the end of it, so people know what you’re actually doing and you also got a nice URL. Cool huh? But somehow it confuses them more than it helps, concerning that it’s the domain and they don’t need to type a dotcom somewhere.

Hey, I tried, and in the end, it’s a name. Short and sexy. Or something.

The pale-green guy from Futurama has the same name. If that’s not something, then I really don’t know what is.

Design work by KIF Graphics The Design Kids interviews KIF Graphics work-2

Who are your top five design crushes globally right now?

Right now, I’m really in for surreal contemporary infused things with a slightly humorous touch. These interests are changing like underwear (this means a lot, people, please, take your hygiene seriously).

  1. Emilio Villalba
  2. Clemens Ascher
  3. Braulio Amado
  4. Nick Alm
  5. Chris Labrooy

Any passion projects/collabs you would like to share?

The recent project was the promotion/communication material for the lovely small 2019 B-Sides festival in Lucerne, Switzerland. It was my role to capture the small plaster sculptures that were specifically done to represent each band. I ended up shooting several rolls of film, after improvising a studio with timber battens, aluminum foil, rubber roof covering lanes, and torch lights.

This variety is an absolutely great thing in the creative industry. It’s always enriching to work with people from different fields, on things you don’t know much with stuff you haven’t dealt before. Don’t miss these chances! I ended up making a shelf and bed for myself because what I found I could either not afford or was just, meh. Somehow there’s also a sweater in my portfolio, an unholy birth of U.S. main label sell-outs where you can put Velcro patches onto it.

Why? Well, why not? Don’t forget the fun.

Design work by KIF Graphics The Design Kids interviews KIF Graphics work-4
Design work by KIF Graphics The Design Kids interviews KIF Graphics work-4

Walk around with your eyes open.

What advice would you give students graduating in 2019?

  1. Walk around with your eyes open.
  2. The industry won’t be the same as your studies. That’s not a bad thing. Reach out.
  3. Be proactive.
  4. Again, things take time. Let them take their time.
  5. And please, don’t put more time mocking-up your project than you put into the concept and design.

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

Back to skeuomorphism? No idea, to be honest, I’m not Li Edelkoort. For example, I would have never foreseen that those trashy mid-2000 gloss-effect-graphics would get their comeback in an acid kind of way. But I think that this is quite refreshing, to not certainly know what will be coming up next. It’s really interesting to see how trends change, how styles get re-interpreted, what aspects get established, how markets are reacting, what niches are forming.

I try to make this one really easy for me: I browse around all the things I can get my eyes on like shelves in a supermarket, pick some bits here, some there and make my own Goulash.

And when nobody likes it, I blame the society that it’s not ready for my visual avant-garde haute cuisine. Kind of like that, don't blame someone else. That would be a bit too easy.

Design work by KIF Graphics The Design Kids interviews KIF Graphics work-6
Design work by KIF Graphics The Design Kids interviews KIF Graphics work-6

Where to find KIF Graphics online.


Instagram: @kifgraphics

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