Meet Designer of the Week Roland Radschopf, art director of DEMONSTRATIVE, a small Vienna-based studio specializing in art direction and brand management.
Name: Roland Radschopf
Name of Studio: DEMONSTRATIVE
Design school attended: University of Applied Arts Vienna (Prof. Walter Lürzer and Prof. Matthias Spaetgens)
How would you describe your work?
Every project starts with a personal interview, where I get to know the client and the brand. There, I understand whether we match or not, as for me mutual appreciation and understanding is the basis for every collaboration.
Once the scope of the project is roughly defined, I continue analyzing what the client needs—not what he wants.
[Therefore], asking the right questions is crucial. It is very important that the questions do not only scratch the surface. Every single detail, which first might seem irrelevant, could evolve into the major idea of the entire concept. I am not a big fan of design trends; I believe that every project has its unique characteristics that make it special in its own way.
Finding this unique idea is essential in order to create a successful project. As a designer, you have to be able to identify a “good“ idea. A “good“ idea in my opinion needs to be clear and precise, possible to be explained within one sentence and recognized by third parties. If this is not the case, the idea is too complex.
Based on the starting idea, I develop the entire concept for the project. Design without an underlying concept is a pure beautification and won’t help the client.
However, in some cases, it can happen that in the course of the conceptualization phase it turns that the idea does not fit optimally. Therefore, as a designer you have to be ready to also “kill your babies“ and let some ideas go if necessary.
After the conceptualization phase, I realize the project with experts from various fields. Depending on the required expertise, I have access to a pool of highly qualified people, like copywriters, architects, photographers, printing companies, etc. that I collaborate with.
Where do you find inspiration?
I get inspired by the works of other designers, under the shower, while sleeping. I find inspiration everywhere.
Who are some of your favorite designers or artists?
Götz Gramlich. Via Grafik. Studio Feed. Sagmeister & Walsh. Banksy. Neo Rauch.
[Editor’s Note: Are you, too, a fan of Sagmeister & Walsh? Read this Q+A with Jessica Walsh on one of their recent projects.]
Do you have a favorite among all the projects you’ve worked on / Is there a project that stands out to you as having been the biggest challenge of your career so far?
The biggest challenge amongst all my projects was the branding for the Café-Restaurant Klammhöhe, as coordinating various disciplines (photography, design, architecture, etc.) has been a very complex task.
Furthermore, the realization of the visit cards for Salzerbau has been way more difficult than expected. Who would have thought that printing companies reach the limits of their capacities when they are asked to print two thin, punched lines?
What do you hope to accomplish in the future?
My goal is to have the freedom to choose my clients and focus on projects that are fun.
What’s your best advice for designers today?
Rule 1: Focus on your strengths, not your weaknesses! There are too many allrounders, that are able to work in every field a bit, but are no experts in a single one. Therefore, my advice is to become an expert in the discipline [in which] you are best and collaborate with experts from other fields to realize amazing projects.
Rule 2: Passion is the key for every successful work.
Rule 3: Never rely on former successes. With every project you start from zero.
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