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Designer Spotlight: Corina Koch

Swiss designer Corina Koch contemplates the power of design, what it’s like growing up as a Gen Z creative, and handling lack of inspiration

Tell us about yourself

My name is Corina Koch. I’m a 21-year-old Graphic Designer from Switzerland. This summer I graduated from a Lucerne-based Graphic Design school called Fachklasse Grafik Luzern and since autumn I've been a team member of the small design studio a+o in Aarau (CH).

Which design topics are you most passionate about?

Working in the creative field entirely changed how I observe my environment. Once you start noticing the small details, it’s really fascinating how much we interact with the design each and every day. My current goal as a Designer is to not only think about “form” or “function” but to include both. As a Graphic Designer, I learned (and continue to do so) to communicate in a more profound and professional way. This expertise made me realize how important clear verbal and visual communication is, and how much it can improve our quality of life. It’s amazing how many obstacles and problems in life can be solved, simply with good design. That’s what I genuinely love doing. Solving problems through design.

The process of finding, challenging, and questioning different concepts, sparks my motivation. It’s a very fun but also a challenging playground to work in. I’m always trying to learn new skills and adapt them to different situations, keeping up with new software and challenging my perspective. To me, a good designer doesn’t keep doing what they’re good at or known for. Rather they seek new ways of approaching design – always changing and growing – looking for something unknown to be discovered. That’s something I’m trying to do myself.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I try to spend most of my free time outdoors. I love hiking, swimming, and running to get out of my head and find the calm that comes from activity. It’s a very simple, but beautiful way to connect with yourself, friends, or strangers and enjoy life.

Recently I’ve also picked up the habit of reading on a regular basis. I love to learn more about new topics – from design to architecture, psychology, or health. My current read is Sapiens – a brief history of humankind. It’s a very history- and science-based book, but it helps me understand human nature and where we came from as a species. It’s definitely a book I’d recommend.

What’s the hardest thing about being a designer?

Design is a very broad area with many different expertise, workflows, specifications, skills, and preferences. It can be very overwhelming as a young designer, to figure out where to position yourself, because there are so many different influences and questions to face. Topics like money, success, consumerism, environment, health, politics, pride, gender, and technology.

New technologies, and environmental and social circumstances, all influence our practice and what we produce. New software is making life easier, but we’re also becoming more dependent on it. As a designer from generation Z, I grew up in a world where everyone is connected everywhere, to everyone, all the time. Having all this technology, without understanding it properly, is something I definitely want to work on.

What’s the best thing about being a designer?

I love how designers try to look at the world differently. We’re surrounded by design, everywhere we go. Whether we think it’s good or bad, it’s there. Design is the foundation on which our modern world is built. Our surroundings, social structures, and communication are complex systems designed by humans. Our behaviors and daily habits are the consequence of the small and large design systems we live in. As Designers, we can have a tremendous impact on our surroundings. That’s what I love. Because in the end, design can be used for so much more than creating Nike's newest campaign to increase their sales.

Who would you love to collaborate with?

I love to work with people who are passionate, ambitious, enthusiastic, and want to change something. Inspiring people with a range of expertise, who are already good at their job, but still growing, changing, and questioning the status quo. People who care, have different perspectives, and love to innovate.

I’d be more than happy to cooperate more in the future. Exchanging knowledge and learnings to create fun, valuable, and sustainable projects. I strongly believe in the power of a well-assembled team, working together in an environment that allows growth for individual skills and knowledge. So hit me up!

Share the last photo you took for inspiration and explain why.

It’s a beautifully painted door I saw while strolling through a small city in Switzerland called Brugg. I guess I was fascinated by the simplicity and striking geometric pattern and how the spray paint disrupted the calmness. It was very eye-catching.

What inspired you lately?

I came across a very interesting and beautiful project on the Platform “It’s nice that” from 2015. The article’s name is “Beautiful, bright geometric shapes in a new system to help kids learn to write” and it really inspired me and sparked something.

Here’s a quote from the article to briefly explain the topic.

“The system “Apprendre à écrire” is the result of a research project into how primary school children are taught to write, and uses beautiful, bright geometric-shaped tools that try to utilize the graphic qualities of letterforms to help children learn them.”

This idea and concept made me realize how broad the spectrum of Graphic Design projects can be. Projects like this are a very inspiring example of the power and impact a Graphic Designer’s work can have. I think it’s an amazing way to engage in education and make a contribution to the future of younger generations. And I have to say, I really love the simplicity of the bold shapes and bright colors. I’d quite like one of these character stencils myself, but can’t find them anywhere so far.

What do you do when you feel stuck and low on inspiration?

1. Get angry and disappointed

2. Question everything I do

3. Look for inspiration on Pinterest or Instagram

4. Copy ideas from Pinterest / Instagram / other Designers

5. Ignore the problem and move on

That’s how I used to deal with problems at the beginning of my studies. Not a very sustainable way, right? Sadly it’s something a lot of young designers, especially during their studies, struggle with. It seems to me that not enough people are talking about these insecurities, stresses, and competition mindsets. It took me quite a while to realize how important a good balance and a healthy mindset are for your own creative work.

This process of feeling stuck and uninspired is something I go through every now and then. Not only during a design process but in life in general. Usually, that’s the moment I have to change something, spice it up, prioritize better, or just make a decision. Taking a step back and clearing my mind helps me not get overly sophisticated or exaggerated.

Taking a walk outside, doing sports, listening to music, or writing down my thoughts, helps me calm my mind. With fresh energy and a clear mind, I then approach a design problem either by talking to others (for example a team member) and having a discussion about the design or by speeding up my design process. Copying and pasting canvases then sketching digitally in a fast, dynamic, and intuitive way. It helps me loosen up and create more diverse and interesting, but also ugly design ideas.

Another thing I do is listen to podcasts or read about other designers. It’s a very helpful tool to get a deeper understanding of their way of thinking and approaches to different design problems. Having a wider knowledge of different attitudes, workflows, and design approaches helps me stay updated, challenged, and inspired overall.

Recommend a book/movie/TV series/podcast/playlist to our readers.

I highly recommend the book “Atomic Habits” by James Clear. It’s a book about tiny changes and the remarkable results they can cause. It’s quite a lot to read, or in my case, to listen to (I currently love audiobooks) but it’s really inspiring and kickstarted my motivation to change a few things in my life.


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