Los Angeles

Can you give us a brief intro on who you are, where you are based, and what you do?
Hi, my name is Wolfgang Ortner and, together with Kira Saskia Schinko, we run a design studio based in Linz (Austria), a small, very liveable (I would say) city containing a huge industrial area, but with a thriving and often radical cultural scene. We work mainly for museums, cultural institutions, brands and magazines.

How did OrtnerSchinko start?
I no longer wanted to work in advertising and design agencies every day during our education at the art university. I often felt totally misunderstood by bosses who were far away from a content-based design scene of which i wanted to be part. Kira and I met randomly, and with Kira’s business and management background we opened the studio 6 years ago, which was maybe the best idea we ever had.

How would you describe your design style?
It took us a long time to understand what we can do best. I am a huge fan of seeing a project and being able to identify the style of a studio behind it. This is often criticised by colleagues in that design bubble, but that’s the only right way for me. I would describe our work as simple, sometimes with disturbing elements. Self-assessment: I would say that our studio has 2 different styles: Design which is radically minimalistic, clear, professional and based on weeks or months of research. And on the other hand Design which does not take itself too seriously sometimes, but still delivers a serious basis in terms of content or vice versa.However, what you can always expect from us is a solid typographic basis – in all our projects. Others often would describe our work as ‘minimalistic but a bit unusual’. In both a positive and negative way – But to be honest: a Yes or No is the best you can get, and that’s how our work should look like: uncompromising.

What is your creative process?
We don’t really have a standardized process. If we would have one it would be easier for us, but in the end our work wouldn’t be special anymore. I am pretty hyperactive and stubborn when it comes to concepts and design. We often start to design or develop ideas during a meeting with the client and they’re always a mix of random things we see and find (abroad from instagram and blogs) mixed with a huge amount of books we collect. Often we simply find something special (an object or also a piece of copy) and think about it how we can connect it with graphic design. When it comes to huge professional projects, we also work as a professional corporate design office. This is no contradiction for us, but rather a staked area which we have defined for ourselves.

What projects have you done that you enjoyed working on the most and why?
At the moment I like the diversity between our projects. And I love working with the Healthy Boy Band. We started something as friends, we’ve been with them as part of installations in huge museums and created a bit of a hype around them. And all because we just do what we want and there are simply no rules. In the end my goal is to enjoy every future project, but this is a long and hard way. And at the moment I really like working together with the current studio team, also my good friend Simon, and Sigi Mayer, one of my all-time favorite designers and artists. I feel like I’ve never learnt so much radical thinking as from him.

Do you have any tips or inspiring words for others trying to do what you do?
I am always a bit ambivalent about routine, however in the end design routine helps us a lot in what we do. We developed our routine from designing for huge, more commercial client-projects. These aren’t the projects you build your ideals on, but the good thing is: you’ll get super fast. The hardest thing is usually to make decisions – we only come up with one proposal when it comes to presentations. This can help you a lot, even if it’s really hard sometimes for clients or people you work with.

Where else can we find you?
Instagram: ortnerschinko