Graphic designer Linus Lohoff’s everlasting search for the “smart, inspirational, and minimal”
Barcelona-based Linus Lohoff is a graphic designer, photographer, art director, champion of Bauhaus - but not a perfectionist. "When it feels like an artwork or project is done, it's done," Linus tells Evermade. "I let it go with no regrets." Allowing intuition to guide his process, Linus has been experimenting within the visual world for over eight years, and we couldn't be more thrilled to finally collaborate with the designer.
Linus' design work centres on minimalism. Inspired by German artists like Otl Aicher and Max Bill, today Lohoff has arrived at an aesthetic of hard-won simplicity. "It's hard to express yourself in a minimal aesthetic and still have a certain impact," says the designer. "There is definitely a bunch of work behind every 'simple piece' I make."
The ability to make strikingly 'simple' work is a gift of Lohoff's. Although the designer says that it comes simply from putting in the hours - he makes a habit of experimenting at his desk into the evening, finding more fun in trying out new aesthetics than watching Netflix. The result is artwork full of balance: harsh lines balanced with vibrant gradients, clean compositions with grain, abstract ideas with the personal intention.
After following his work from afar, we've finally got the chance to join forces with the designer for a new series. On a quest to fuse two-dimensional graphics with depth, Linus has created a range simple in style, complex in conception.
Discover more about Linus' practice as we talk proudest moments, his love of fashion, and turning 2D works into 3D objects.
Tell us a little about yourself. What's something we don't know about you?
I am a perfectionist! Haha, not true. I am really aware of details, but I don't stress myself. When it feels like an artwork or project is done, it's done. I let it go with no regrets. Otherwise… I'm lactose intolerant. If you want to kill me, just give me a glass of milk ;p
When did you first know you wanted to be an artist?
The definition of "artist" doesn't suit me, I guess. In my opinion, this word holds a lot that I'm not. I am an Art Director who likes to express himself visually. The moment I knew I wanted to work creatively was during my adolescence. I played drums in a band and was always the one managing the blog, making the poster, making the logo, etc. So at that time, I was really interested in graphic design. Also, I'm that old already that I was collecting CD covers back in the day, which inspired me a lot! One of the first was even a cassette tape of Michael Jackson's 'Dangerous.' I remember putting it in my walkman and looking at the cover all day long.
As an art director and graphic designer, can you talk about the relationship between art, branding, and design?
This is a big question because it's really difficult to define art and design. I think they are two different things, but there is no context that can define a real border between the two. This means they feed into each other by themselves, automatically. In my case, I get a lot of inspiration from art. There are so many artists I admire. Olafur Elliason or Erwin Wurm, for example. But also a bunch of artists of the hard edge movement, constructivism, minimal arts or modernism. In the end, it's the intention of the creative act, I would say.
There are certain paradigms to achieve for a branding, for example. Speaking on a meta level, it has to function at the end. The receiver has to understand the message. An artwork on the other hand, has another intention for me, and that can be that it doesn't want to communicate a specific message. Especially for my artworks, I like when they are open for interpretations.
Which artists inspire you today, and which inspired you to become an artist?
Right now, I'm totally into fashion design. I am obsessed with the collections of Henrik Vibskov, Louisa Parris or Iris Van Herpen. They all have a really graphical approach, I would say. I would really love to design a dress! Maybe one day, this little dream will come true. Otherwise, I'm socialised by German graphic design history & German artists. Otl Aicher, Anton Stankowski & Max Bill are the ones who have shaped my aesthetics most. The spirit of Bauhaus that there should be no border between the artist and the craftsman is an attitude that I totally dig. Here we are speaking and asking again: can design be art?
Throughout your career, what project is your proudest?
Another tough question! I think it might be the strategy report for Uniqlo's Barcelona flagship store launch that I did in the design studio Vasava. It was an editorial project in which I worked closely with a copywriter. I was managing the art direction and was a part of the editorial staff. I transformed the content into a design language: from defining and selecting the photographers' imagery, searching for Barcelonian testimonials, providing photography myself, choosing typography, digging into the history of this beautiful city, defining icons and illustration style. It was a really complete project that required all my art direction skills.
In a word, what's something that you always try to communicate through your work?
How would you describe your new series of prints with Evermade?
The series ‘Dialogue’ is the study between forms. I was trying to create two-dimensional graphics with depth. There is this tension between the form and the line that expresses the togetherness of them, but also the separation. There is a certain story behind these artworks. I can't tell it since it is too personal, but even if my works are mostly abstract many carry emotional intention behind them, or express situations that happen in my everyday life. Bauhaus Love, Depth & Three are formally speaking my everlasting search for the smart, inspirational & minimal in my work.
"I work totally intuitively. I get inspiration from somewhere or something that happened to me, and I just begin to work."
What were you listening to while working on this project?
I think I mostly listened to this playlist by Nice Guys. Amazingly curated!
Walk us through your typical process. Are you a fan of preliminary sketches, or do you work more intuitively?
I work totally intuitively. I get inspiration from somewhere or something that happened to me, and I just begin to work. Yes, there are a lot of sketches before I put out one artwork. Sometimes more, sometimes less. It is also the process of finding that special something that makes an artwork unique. I love when you get these moments of "YES!", when you find the right form, colour balance or/and expression.
People often ask me about the texture I have in my artworks. It's a mixed media texture that I get by scanning different painted A4 sheets and mixing it with digital grain. All in all, I notice that making new artworks relaxes & satisfies me a lot. Usually, I work for clients during the day, and in the evening, I start to do my own stuff. Instead of Netflix or similar, I kinda choose to sit at my desk and experiment, which - saying out loud out now - sounds crazy, but, as I said, it's totally fun to play around and create or reveal new aesthetics and ideas.
What aesthetics have you been leaning towards lately?
As I mentioned, I'm really into fashion design at the moment. I think it comes from a curiosity to transform my 2D works into 3D objects. I would like to make shirts, pillows, a sock collection, sculptures, bags and definitely a dress - or any other fashion piece. But really, at the moment I'm totally into the work of Henrik Vibskov. Form, patterns, silhouette, details, colours…his work is super inspiring for me!
Does a simplistic outcome mean a simple approach?
No. I think it's really hard to express yourself in a minimal aesthetic. There is definitely a bunch of work behind every "simple" piece. It's really hard to get something minimal to look 'right' and have a certain impact.
Browse the full collection from Linus here, now available to purchase exclusively from Evermade.
Check out more of Linus' design work here.
All images courtesy of artist.