Ghent, the second largest city in Flanders and the Belgian city with the country’s highest concentration of listed buildings, is home to approximately 250,000 people and 23 museums. Having risen to prominence in the Middle Ages thanks to the cloth trade, it now frequently produces new design talents in the fields of fashion, interior design, film, and visual communication, thanks to institutions such as the Royal Academy of Fine Arts (KASK) and the Luca School of Arts (LUCA). We asked four graphically oriented Ghent-based design studios about their work, their influences, and the local places where they find inspiration.
Year of foundation: 2006
Number of employees: 3
Collaboration partners: Case Studyo
Locations of inspiration in Ghent: besides visiting museums like S.M.A.K. or the Museum Dr. Guislain (museum of psychiatry), we enjoy having good food and drinks in Ramen Noedelbar, Publiek or cocktail bar Jigger’s. Another good way to enjoy the city is to walk around in the streets of Ghent at night or sit along the water when the sun is shining.
In your opinion, what is special about the design scene in Ghent?
There’s a lot of talent and lots of different disciplines for such a small area. Belgians are eclectic by nature, which ensures a cross-pollination among creatives. Ghent is a city with the benefits of a city, but also a small village with a lot of emphasis on the traditional. Designers like those of Studio Kan/o are close to the manufacturing of their own products.
How would you characterise your working methods and style?
Our working methods depend on the project. There’s a lot of sketching and visual exploration involved in branding and illustration projects. We also like to give much attention to typography. For projects such as Y-3 or Philipp Plein, we like to combine sketches with 3D techniques and crafting stuff ourselves and then install the result in the bigger scene. It’s fun to bring the imaginary world we have in mind to life – translated into illustrations of wizards, animals, lines, letters or funny characters representing our style.
How did your visual language evolve?
From growing up watching cartoons, to being influenced by the music we’ve been listening to throughout high school we’ve been influenced by the graphics around us and we’ve always been visually oriented. Depending on the project we like to translate these experiences into colourful illustrations or more minimalistic typographies. We never take things too seriously when we’re designing, we like to keep it funny and inspiring for our clients and users in general, too.