Duration: Four years.
Location: We work in Zürich and Berlin while maintaining client relationships in both cities. Our headquarters are in Berlin.
Key creatives: Burrow is a multidisciplinary design studio run by Philipp Koller, Lukas Küng and Giulia Schelm with a strong focus on typographic design solutions.
Career paths: We all have different backgrounds. Some of us took to graphic design through graffiti, others through photography or architecture. Our shared design practice goes back to the time when we were students in Berlin, where our collaborations evolved out of good friendships and mutual respect for each other’s work. Gradually, we collaborated more frequently on university projects and formed a similar visual interest for typographically driven graphic design. A few projects later, our university degrees were set in stone, and our projects became more professional. Then, we founded Burrow.
Process: The content and backstory of each project is our main source of inspiration. Initial discussions and an overall understanding of the subject matter are essential to come up with a sharp visual system. The most influential part of every project is formed through research. As our studio name implies, we like to dig and do research before finding a design solution. Therefore, our work is very content-driven, rather than just coming up with eye-pleasing design.
Favorite projects: The artist book Der Vierte Pol, as it required us to work with three multilingual scripts: Latin, Hebrew and Arabic. We adapted to a variety of different writing systems and typographic rules, while also making them work together conceptually and visually. Additionally, we were able to test print different materials in our silkscreen printing studio to be able to find the most suited book cover for the project.
The visual identity for the Swissness Applied exhibition series enabled us to be experimental and constantly push boundaries. We designed a custom blackletter typeface, referencing the fonts you often find on house facades in the German-speaking alpine regions in Switzerland, South Germany and Austria. Additionally, we designed a series of print products and developed an experimental website documenting the exhibition project, which also functions as a virtual playground for visitors to explore the exhibition in a different context.
Work environment: We work in a large studio space containing a silkscreen printing studio, a photo studio and an object-based, experimental workshop. Our space and the experimental workshops are part of our daily practice. Whether it’s silkscreen printing with different techniques or a momentary green screen set-up in our photo studio, experimentation leads us to new ideas and influences our design concepts. Over the last few years, we continually rebuilt and adapted our work environment to fit the needs of our projects.
Approach: We like to challenge ourselves and explore different frontiers as a possibility for our practice to gain new aspects. For us, design—and especially typography—is an ever-evolving field in which a project’s needs lets us shift our focus. Currently, we are interested in designing project-based typefaces while also adapting to foreign writing systems. One can say that we never lost the energy and the desire to learn new things. The direct access to workshop units, our in-house silkscreen and the constant search for new web technologies—in combination with a typography oriented design approach—make us function as a full-service design agency. Collaboratively, the three of us are able to cover a wide range of aspects in design and this ultimately leads to multidisciplinary project outcomes. We think that the progressive energy between us sets us apart from other design studios.
Anything else? The name Burrow derives from our approach to design but is also a description of our studio space. In our search for a new visual solution, we built a complex system of different ideas and directions which eventually all lead to one final result. This investigative approach to a new design assignment resembles rodents building their burrow. Additionally, burrow also describes our large studio space with all of its different workshop possibilities and different creative disciplines compiled together.