Design Around the World: Croatia

To coincide with this year’s April International Design Annual, we decided to pull back the grid of latitude and longitude even further and hear, firsthand, what designers in these different countries have to say about design—how their location impacts their work, how clients embrace their creativity, what’s inspiring them and what kinds of projects keep them busy.

Here, Ivana Vucic and Orsat Frankovic from Laboratorium talks about design in the Croatian capital.

LABORATORIUM studio for visual communications
Zagreb, Croatia

Where are you located, and why do you enjoy being there?
We are located on 17th floor of one of the Rockets—funny buildings on the edge of city centre—in Zagreb, the capital of Croatia. Being here, 17 floors above things, we have a great view and, as we like to think, a wider perspective!

How would you describe your style?
As reductive rather than elaborate, as concise rather than epic, but, on the other hand, rather emotional than rational.

What kinds of design does your firm specialize in?
We deal with a variety of different projects, from visual or corporate identities, packaging, exhibition catalogues, art magazines, books, CD covers and posters down to postage stamps; both design and photography. As long as they ask for "our design," we are fine.

What’s a favorite project you’ve worked on?
We like to work with the clients we can easily communicate with, who trust us and give enough space in creative process. Regularly, in such cases, it ends with the best results.

Is there any recurring element that usually ends up in your designs?
Apart from endless trust in Helvetica (even before it became so trendy) we can’t think of any.

What things influence your work? Where do you get your inspiration?
Probably everything around us, even in the strangest possible details.

How do you think your community and clients view design?
Sure there are more design-conscious communities, like in Netherlands or Scandinaviabut it is cold over there.

Do you think there’s anything that sets your location’s design aesthetic apart from other places?
Today, it seems really hard to pinpoint any relation whatsoever between design and its place of origin. On the other hand, if studied carefully, everything "belongs" somewhere or to someone, even when it was purposely done in a "not belonging" manner. The local context with all historical, cultural or even climatic differences provides those "fingerprints."

If you were a color, what color would you be?
Tough one. Something in between Pantone 100 and Pantone 8964, differing from day to day, according to occasions and personal moods.

Other interviews in the series
AUTUMN:01: Sydney, Australia
BLOK DESIGN: Mexico City, Mexico
Laboratorium: Zagreb, Croatia
LeBoYe: Jakarta, Indonesia
Steinbranding: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Third World Media: Nairobi, Kenya Barcelona, Spain Hamburg, Germany
Yellow Octopus Pte Ltd: Singapore
Zetalab: Milan, Italy

HOW April 2007