Martina Paukova, Self Portrait
We ask the world’s top designers and illustrators to answer 13 questions.


Martina Paukova is a Berlin-based illustrator whose work delights in awkwardness, often depicting “gangly millennials” and cleverly distilling the universal yet distinctly first-world-problem discomforts of being a person in the 21st century. She’s worked for clients including Converse, WeTransfer, Lexus, Refinery 29, and The Guardian, but here she’s turning her hand to answering our 13 taxing/banal questions. Do yourself a favor and follow her on Instagram @martinapaukova.

Describe what you do in four words or less: Flattened people and realities.

When did you know you wanted to be an illustrator? When I was 26.

If you weren’t a designer, you’d be: A behavioral scientist or baker.

The typeface you love/hate/love to hate: Love Aperçu. Hate Myriad Pro.

Your dream design (or redesign) project is: To design the wall interiors for Google headquarters in Mountain View, California.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received (and who said it)? This isn’t an exact quote, but Trey Parker (co-creator of South Park) said something to effect of: “It’s important to know when to stop. You can’t just keep going. If you do, eventually you start second-guessing yourself, and not only do you spend too much time on one image, you also end up with an image that’s probably only 5% better than the one you started from.”

The quality in others you most admire is: Compassion.

You’re secretly really good at: Dissecting the taste profile of unsalted butter.

The biggest design cliché right now is: The whole low-brow pretty/ ugly movement.

What keeps you awake at night? The future.

What contribution will you make to the creative community in the next 10 years? Piles of faded digital prints and megabytes of images randomly circulating the web at medium resolution.

What question are you dying to answer that we haven’t asked? “What is the book that most influenced your practice?”

What’s the answer? Human Space by Otto Friedrich Bollnow.