Faulhaber Communications

DESIGN INSPIRATION: Behind Creativity With Blok Design

August 18, 2014

At FAULHABER, we take pride in working and collaborating with inspiring and innovative people. Blok, a design studio specializing in brand identities and experiences, exhibit and editorial design have always sparked our creativity and challenged the way we interpret design.

We recently spoke with Founder and Creative Director, Vanessa Eckstein and Partner Marta Cutler on their creative process, their newly published book México Kitsch and their experience with some of FAULHABER’s most exciting projects.

Blok seeks to create surprising and compelling ways to move people with the work that they do. What is your design process when approached to create brand identities and experiences?

Every brand is a story waiting to unfold, through an architecture of meaning delivered through many elements that stand strong individually, but that together form a cohesive, distinctive impression, understanding and feeling. Our role is to uncover the story that is true, authentic and unique to that brand and the people behind it, and then serve it up in a way that reflects its values, philosophy and voice. 

It begins with a strategic questionnaire developed specifically for that project. It's designed to draw out the information, thoughts and ideas that will help define the distinctive story and voice that will form the foundation of the identity or experience. It's really an excuse to get together to talk about and analyze the brand. Often the attitude and the voice of the brand falls quite naturally from the people behind it. The outcome is a very clear brand story and list of adjectives that define the voice of the brand, which guide the development of the identity and the language that's used throughout.

Blok develops their own projects and publishes books, including México Kitsch, a celebration of Mexico’s admiration for culturally mass-produced art or design. In your own words, what makes an object kitsch and why has it played such a key role in Mexican culture?

The word kitsch is rooted in art history itself and has always been presented in opposition to art. Kitsch defies the parameters of good taste and we find in it a sense of awe and intuitive naivety that makes us smile with its irreverent attitude. It can be considered sublime or utterly distasteful but at its core is an honest expression that consistently reinvents new vocabularies and challenges aesthetic preconceptions.

The division between high art and low art has been clearly defined in most cultures. In Mexico, however, it has crossed all boundaries and is intrinsic to the country's identity. Kitsch manifests itself in everyday life and is the essence of this culture. 

Having worked with FAULHABER for some time now, what are some of the projects that Blok and FAULHABER have worked on together that were most inspiring to you, and your team, and why?

The This Is Not A Toy exhibit at Design Exchange was a true pleasure. We created the show’s identity and collaborated with curators John Wee Tom and Sara Nickleson to design the exhibit space. The subject matter was truly inspiring and we are now working on the book that is a compendium to the show with Design Exchange President, Shauna Levy.

Kingston&Co, a new real estate project from TAS, one of the most progressive, innovative developers in Toronto, has been a wonderful collaborative effort. It's a new category for us but then most of our projects are. Whether we've been asked to launch a new Mexican race car, building the brand from its story to the car's graphics and all communications, or to bring to life a creative lab for the Mayor of Mexico City, we thrive on new challenges and spaces.


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