Since 2009 Swiss graphic designer Felix Pfäffli has worked slavishly to create an international reputation as one of the world’s most respected poster designers, using a combination of pared-back illustration and experimental typography. Until early 2016 he did all of this alone, but last year Pfäffli invited long-term collaborators Raphael Leutenegger and Daniel Peter to join him under the moniker Studio Feixen, and since then—if it’s even possible—the studio’s output has only improved. Here, the studio explains five of its best poster projects from the first year of that partnership. If this doesn’t sate your appetite, there’s more to be found on its Instagram.
Nike, Bring Your Game
“Work with Nike is a highly professional ‘ping-pong’ process. Nike provides us with an emotion to be expressed, and leaves it to us to find out how that manifests itself visually. This allows us to explore and focus at our own will, without worrying about a greater concept. For this reason we find working with Nike to be extremely refreshing and enjoyable.
“Over the last two years, we have had the pleasure to work for Nike Basketball on a variety of projects. We designed T-shirts for world stars such as Lebron James and Kevin Durant, and created posters and typography concepts for Hyperdunk as well as the Bring Your Game campaign.
“Our aim for this campaign was to create designs that conveyed the right feeling. We played and messed around, we collaged, we cut and glued. It wasn’t about big concepts—it was about uncovering a visual language that sported the same energy and excitement as a great basketball game.”
The Luzerner Theater
“The Luzerner Theater is the only theater in Central Switzerland which presents three different sectors of the performing arts: opera, plays, and dance. Benedikt von Peter, the new director, brought a pure and fresh artistic vision into the theater. The people, the program, as well as the corporate identity have changed.
“The new program deals with the subject of new spaces, new perspectives, and new feelings. We had to make art noticeable again! This meant the theater should take place not only in the building itself but also in churches, in factories, or in the open street. The idea is to move away from ornamentation and bring the focus back to the art of the performance.
“Through intensive discussions and close cooperation with the director and his team, we created a visual language which is greatly reduced, yet playful. We were committed to the overall art direction of the building, so despite the immense scope of design applications it was especially important to us that everything came from a single source. Over the last year we turned the house upside down creatively. We rethought everything from furniture to poster systems, trailers, publications, letters, books, flyers, stickers, signage, photographic language, website and umbrellas. Even the tickets were redesigned.”
“Nuits Sonores is a French festival dedicated to electronic, independent, visual, and interactive cultures. It takes place every year around [religious holiday] Ascension for five days and five nights. Its goal is to highlight emblematic places of the city of Lyon, including streets, museums, industrial sites, and more.
“The streets of the entire city are transformed—they are vibrant and full of music, with projections on the facades of buildings, and young people everywhere enjoying life. We see our work as a game, and ask ourselves how the rules of the game affect the rules of our design. For the Nuits Sonores Festival designs, we created our own Lego game of patterns and letters. With those we could build Lyon the way we envision it, just as the festival visitors shape Lyon the way they envision it: a city that is constantly changing and adapting along the rhythms and melodies of the music.”
“Swiss Films Foundation is an agency of cinematographers promoting Swiss filmmaking. It aims to strengthen the visibility and positive perception of the Swiss film culture abroad and in Switzerland, through the core tasks of dissemination, cultural mediation, and networking. The team wanted a new beginning and asked us to propose a redesign for their image. The design proposal we developed utilizes film symbolism in a playful and adaptive manner, providing Swiss Films with a bolder, fresher, and more creative image.”
“Vlow! is an international festival for education and networking in design and architecture, dealing with communication strategies in space, innovative work, and cooperation processes. Participants are graphic designers and architects, scenographers, photographers, audio or video designers, and managers from the areas of branding, marketing and advertising.
“Ten minutes after Hans-Joachim Gögl, the director of the festival, entered our studio it was clear that we would work together. We liked his ambition to create a festival that breaks boundaries—a festival in which the speakers work together with the audience. Just a few weeks later we visited him in Bregenz. During a three day workshop we closely collaborated with the curator and elaborated on a visual presentation for the festival. The only requirement we needed to meet was that the design language should follow on from previous years. In line with the name Vlow! we decided on a concept that is in continuous motion: we designed an animated poster, a modular poster system, and lastly an animation that’s displayed across the facade of the nearby Casino Bregenz.”