Recent communication design graduate Tobias Faisst may be new to the industry, but he’s already established his own strikingly minimal style informed by his second role as a photographer. After finding his way to design as a graffiti-loving teenager in Berlin, he’s spent the intervening years exploring the relationship between sculpture and photography, which, for Faisst, are complementary disciplines to design. “If you’ve dealt extensively with both professions, there’s the advantage that you tackle projects holistically. Both areas also inspire me and influence me greatly in my work. Through photography I’m more aware of my surroundings, and have also trained my perception, which ultimately benefits me the most as a designer.”
The blending of these abilities is most apparent in his editorial projects, and his portfolio is already bursting with beautifully realized magazines and books–further proof of his ability to seamlessly blend artistic disciplines. The first issue of ACE magazine, which celebrates the “eccentrics and nonconformists,” unites powerful photography with Faisst’s restrained use of type, something he refers to as “a simple structure based on a quiet grid.” It’s this kind of design that’s at the heart of his practice, and Faisst says, “Editorial projects often leave space for your own handwriting and room for experimentation. I find it exciting translating the vision, ideas, and stories of others into a product with which they can identify.”
With so much of his focus on print publications it’s clear that type plays a major role in his process, and he admits it forms the foundation for what he considers good design. Though he’s quick to acknowledge its expressive importance, Faisst isn’t what he’d call “an old school typographer… I enjoy exhausting limits and working with current trends,” he explains.
“Accurate and complete compliance with typography rules is often stiff and boring to me.”
Unsurprisingly, Faisst admits to being a fan of minimalism, and his inclination is especially apparently in his most recent project: art directing and designing the Autumn/Winter 15/16 look book for German street-style brand Ucon Acrobatics. It’s a publication that pairs crisp type and a single-minded use of color with fashion photography, relying on simplicity rather than detail to make its point. “The purpose of a designer is to decide what’s not needed,” Faisst states. “Meaning a conscious decision to exclude things.”
Faisst’s work is, perhaps, a reaction to what he perceives as the gradual diminishing of the written word, something he perceives as “dwindling in the ether of digitization.” Books and magazines are not only a key part of his role as a designer, but also an increasingly significant part of the world he inhabits. “I think it’s important that the written and spoken word retains its importance in analog form, and information and knowledge stays tangible in some way.”