Duration: Three years.
Location: Ano Petralona, Athens, Greece.
Key creatives: George Chinas, Dimitris Florakis and Maria Karagianni.
Career path: Dimitris cannot remember a time when he wasn’t drawing, and was always interested in logos and packaging. During his teenage years, he became a graffiti artist, which helped him explore the beauty of letters and abstract forms. After finishing his studies as a graphic designer, he worked for ten years in other Athenian design studios before starting his own with the help of George. While previously working at one of those other studios, Dimitris met Maria, who eventually formed the other third of Loonatiks.
Maria had always been involved in art and design. As a child, she would redesign buildings in her mind, so she initially felt called to study architecture. However, she failed the exams for architecture, so her second choice of study—graphic design—became her point of interest. Upon graduation, she worked as a graphic designer in design firms up until the day Dimitris came to her with the idea to join forces.
George started experimenting with photography as a hobby and worked as an assistant at a professional studio in Athens. It was there that he fell in love with studio photography and took it a step further by pursuing video and freelance filmmaking. Throughout the years, he has covered a range of projects from studio photography to music video clips to mini documentaries. In 2017, his neighbor Dimitris was looking for a professional space to start his own studio and George was looking for space of his own. Since their interests aligned, they began searching for a space that covered both of their needs. After a year, Maria joined Loonatiks.
Artistic influences: As a studio, we are deeply influenced by De Stijl, Bauhaus, Russian Constructivism, Brutalism, street art, Swiss type design, fine art photography and the cultural decay of modern Athens.
Most studios don’t mention online platforms and the huge influence they exert on their work and way of thinking. We believe that a “healthy” use of these platforms can be beneficial. There is no reason to be afraid you might produce the same results as other creatives because this is impossible. It’s a matter of personal experiences, style and techniques.
Work environment: Our studio is located in Ano Petralona, a neighborhood in the center of Athens, one metro stop away from the tourist hotspots of Thisio and Monastiraki. Ano Petralona is full of nice restaurants and bars, neoclassical buildings and lots of alley cats! As a physical space, the studio is a ground floor, six-meter-tall (nearly 20 feet-tall), open-space studio that used to be a record store built in the style of a typical Greek ’70s building. It’s also bright, as the whole facade is made from glass.
Approach: Our approach to design is very basic. We find appropriate keywords related to each project, and then we do research on the words’ etymologies and origins; the result of this process dictates our solution.
If you base your concept on a story or meaning that goes back to ancient Greece—or even further—then it can’t be weak or wrong. Eight out of ten times, we use the same typefaces over and over again. We think of these typefaces like an electric guitar: if you give the same guitar to a blues musician and a punk musician, the resulting music will be totally different. The same principles apply when we photoshoot for projects: we use the same lights and camera all the time; the project itself is the catalyst.
Philosophy: We don’t claim to be original rather than authentic. Words such as multitasking, ASAP and mass are unknown to us. Usually, we use the first idea or shot—the rest of them are a waste of time.
Anything else? Since January 1st, 2020, we’ve stopped working on Fridays.