DUO: magazine Issue n°1 - Autumn 2016 DUO: magazine is a collaboration between Adrien and Clotilde Heury, brother & sister — both designers.
Concept, design & PUblishing Heury & Heury In conversation with Todd Berger and Lucian Föhr CONTRIBUTORS © ChipKalback.com for the great pictures of the duo Vitsoe at English Wikipedia via Wikimedia Commons ; Wikimassimovignelli via Wikimedia Commons. PRINTED BY Newspaperclub FONT IN USE AvantGarde + Maison Neue MERCI à Ello community, Moo, Indesign, Lilipuce.
CONTACT US firstname.lastname@example.org
Berger & Föhr
Edito Thanks for even reading the editorial. Here is the very first issue of DUO: magazine! We are super thrilled to finally be able to share it with you. For a long time now, we wanted to dabble with publishing, especially a small press magazine but we needed a good excuse to do so; a theme that was dear to us and that we would like to explore. Finally, this theme was standing there, all the time with us. Let's start from the beginning. We two, Adrien and Clotilde, are brother and sister above all; the only two siblings at home. So, our duo has existed since our earliest childwood before eventually becoming a duo of designers. Voilà, that's us. Just to explain briefly why we get very passionate by duos. With DUO:, our idea is to meet and learn from other pairs of all kinds and horizons: those which we adore, who inspire us, surprise us or who make us dream and wonder. Basically, we are super curious about what duos do, how do they collaborate, where do they work, what inspire them and more. We enjoy to dive into the fascinating world of others: it’s a formidable opportunity to appreciate our differences and similarities. Maybe you too. And this is why you still read this. And this is why we wanted to publish this magazine. With DUO:, we go for the simplest approach: an issue = a duo. We want to celebrate creative duos in all their diversity and uniqueness, one at a time. We have been fortunate to be able to dedicate this very first issue to a pair of guys we hold in high regard and who constantly astonish us : The duo Berger & Föhr. Todd Berger and Lucian Föhr are two designers from Colorado (USA), who have worked together for more than 13 years and who have co-founded the most rad social network Ello (ello.co). Not only talented but also super kind to such an extent that they have not hesitate to be the first to answer to our endless flow of questions. Through this conversation, they give us a first meaning of what a duo is: "DUO is ONE". But we let you discover this in greater detail in the following pages. Bref, as we tell you, this is the very first issue of DUO:, the only one thus far: we truly hope that you will enjoy it as much as we do. And if so, just let us know!
Adrien & Clotilde Heury Duo of editors
Berger & Föhr
Lucian Föhr is a contemporary Coloradan. He’s a true modernist, with a humble upbringing based on principles of honesty, transparency, loyalty and hard work. He’s minimalist with a fondness for the outdoors. Lucian’s a true designers designer, always in the details, with a unique affinity for seeing what’s next. He’s what you want in a creative partner.
Could you introduce each other with some words? Todd Berger is the most charismatic person I know. He is a serious force to be reckoned with. But all of his drive comes from a place of passion and authenticity. He is only interested in doing things for all the right reasons. Todd also reads more than anyone I know and retains an insane amount of information.
How did you two meet? We met in the middle of the street. I was dating a woman that had worked at Lucian’s high school and knew of Lucian’s interest in graphic design. One afternoon as Lucian was leaving his father’s house and I was visiting a friend who coincidentally lived across the street, our paths crossed. My girlfriend made the connection and Lucian said he’d come by the studio for a visit. That was the summer of 2003. We’ve byeen working together ever since.
I was, and still am, really into cars. The girl Todd was seeing had a pristine old, white Mercedes. She gave me a ride home once and I will never forget that car. So in a way design was a big part of us meeting in the first place.
At the time my studio was called DogtailDesign. It was a boutique web shop that I’d founded with a partner in late 1997. We were in the midst of transitioning the studio from a predominantly web-only focus to something more holistic. We were very interested in doing more identity, full systems brand work and making more art. I’d recently bought out my original partner (for very little money) to focus on smaller more specialized sorts of design endeavors. He set off to work on larger corporate projects. Both myself and the studio were in a very open place, ready for some new and fresh thinking. Lucian brought that thinking and a healthy dose of youthful vigor. It was clear to us both that we had a special creative connection from day one.
Immediately after meeting, Lucian began visiting the studio almost daily. He was in high school at the time so, he’d come by after school and work with us through the end of the day. Back then, studio days were long and often ran late into the evening, so there was lots for him to soak up.
How was your collaboration born?
At the time I had just started to collect Kidrobot vinyl. This was way before you could buy the toys in Urban Outfitters or big retailers like that. I only had one toy to start, Huck Gee’s series 2 Dunny. Every night I would put the toy back in its wrapper and back in its box. Long story short, the first day I walked into Todd’s studio he had the whole series, plus many other toys I had only lusted for over the Internet. Like Todd said, I was just in high school and I only had to come on Wed. to fulfill my internship obligations, but I spent every day after school at the studio and many weekends there.
When did you decide to start working together?
Weâ€™re both very intentional people. I think we may have sensed a long term relationship from the very beginning, but it did take some time to fully congeal and become realized. Shortly after Lucian integrated himself into our studio culture (which was rather fledgling at the time) we began planning a studio move, rename and repositioning while we simultaneously sought to open a design shop/gallery/ brand/community blog connected to the studio as a conceptual project conceived and produced by Cypher13. The new studio was to be called Cypher13 and the design shop/gallery/brand/blog would be named JoyEngine. The two would come to share a space, with JoyEngine serving as the entry point into Cypher13. It was to be quite an endeavor and a time of much personal growth.
We share a great deal of interests, particularly aesthetic ones, but we’re also very people different. I think it’s this balance between our similarities and our dissimilarities that makes our partnership powerful and unique. We discovered very quickly that when the two of us were working as one — intimately, focused and very aligned, that the work we produced felt far stronger and much more significant than the work we could produce independently. Our workflow felt good and we were being rewarded by the outcomes of our creativity. The whole process became a bit addictive. In a very healthy way.
It was during our JoyEngine/Cypher13 days (2004 - 2010) that our special chemistry really began to become apparent. It was quite a growth period for us both, as individuals, as designers and as a duo.
Why did you decide to start working together?
What motivated you to start a collaboration as a duo?
Berger & Föhr would be focused around one very simple idea : *Design – practiced with principle, intention, foresight & responsibility will shape the future*. That single focus is supported by a handful of principles that you can read more about on our website.
For me it was never really a decision, it was clearly the way forward.
I have no idea...
There’s a real beauty in having fewer mouths to feed and we foresaw enjoying the ability to grow very selective and to seek out and acquire only the work we most wanted to do. In 2010, after some unraveling we closed down Cypher13 and JoyEngine and opened up Berger & Föhr.
I’m too old to remember, Lucian?
We’d earned work from many of the big corporate clients most young designers seek. The Fortune 100s and 500s, as well lots of smaller independents. We’d learned that our passion was in the smaller more independent work where we could really connect with a founder or artist or another creative and make super strong, special work without the bureaucracy that came with the larger corporate projects.
What was the first project you worked on?
In 2009, our creative interests began to subtly shift. We were looking to simplify, downsize, and to really hone in our practice. We’d come to realize, that our real value was in Lucian and I, the two of us, together, working as one. We no longer sought the scale of the studio (at max it was 12 individuals) and running the shop/gallery/brand/boutique simultaneously had frankly grown a bit exhausting. This is when we began to very consciously un-grow, or in more mainstream terms, downsize and focus.
How has your work evolved since you started? Our work has grown much more focused. Our aesthetic sensibilities have grown more refined. Our knowledge of the field of graphic design has grown immensely alongside our skills. The emphasis we place on communication with one another, our clients and our peers and partners has increased radically. And at the same time, our process has become rather strict. Born of both necessity and of a desire to work and flow through our projects smoothly, consistently and in a reproducible fashion while being most efficient — and having the most fun.
I agree. The overall theme is refinement. I believe the evolution in the work is directly correlated to the evolution of our process. It is a bit of a chicken and egg situation, I’m not sure which is more important. In some ways the refinement in our process was more conscious. We knew how we wanted to work, we set goals and chased them down with serious focus. The work was maybe just a byproduct of that.
Some results of this are that we work with a limited selection of typefaces at any given time, and in a limited number of sizes and weights. We hold a strong belief in the use of grid systems as an organization and operational framework for all things graphic and most everything designed. Our taste in color is rather restrained, but fluctuates, from subdued to more vibrant, usually in tandem with one another’s changing tastes. Our love of refinement drives us to continually ask, “what can we take away?” I think it’s from some of these approaches that our studio’s style arises.
Looking back, how do you see the first years working together? I look back on our early years fondly. It was an exciting time. Our careers were right in front of us taking shape before our eyes. And life was simple. I was single and wasn’t a father, Lucian was in high school - we had nothing but time and a world of opportunity. Frankly, things aren’t so different now, but our personal lives have grown a bit more complex.
Looking back at our first years really makes me realize how fortunate we were to find each other. I think it is easy to look at where we are now and forget about all the hard work that went into creating this reality. For example no one knows that Todd let me sleep on his couch for a few months after I dropped out of college. I’m not sure that is normal behavior, but little things like that are what created this strong partnership.
What is the youâ€™ve learned
1. Communication is king To conceive, create and then sell through a creative idea to a client requires strong communication skills.
Your clients set the tone for your work and for your studio. They are your best advocates and like minds attract like minds.
2. Select your clients wisely
top 2 lessons starting your duo?
Berger & Föhr
What "duo" means to you? One. B&F is based on the idea of achieving a singularity of sorts, a state, or condition of being singular. We believe that this is where our best work is done, when we’re one - and not so coincidentally, it’s when our process yields the most rewarding results. Todd —Berger
As a duo we do things a little differently. We strive for 100% redundancy. Which is atypical. We don’t specialize. We are constantly teaching each other what we learn individually. We believe this enables us to design as one. Lucian —Föhr
What do you like about co-working? Two good heads are better than one. Always. And I believe that hanging out with cool, forward thinking people is important for personal growth. There’s a real joy in being able to depend on people. Neither of us are dependent types, but being able to rely on one another - for anything and everything, studio-related and otherwise is very empowering.
How do you work together? How do you divide up your work? Historically, we both work on the same thing at the same time with a single point of focus. Given that now we’re working explicitly on Ello, we often divide and conquer then regroup and refine as one. But, for the most part we move through our process together on a project by project basis.
Our process for working together isn’t that different from pair programming. Physically Todd always sits on the left and our monitor are oriented so that we can always see what the other person is doing. Like Todd said, it is a bit different now that we work exclusively on Ello. We’ve already done the legwork of defining the design systems for Ello, so we can tackle individual projects now. But working together is still incredibly important because we are constantly evolving the product and the Ello design language.
How do you decide what project you want to work on?
Whatever we’re most interested in at any give time is what we choose to work on. Right now that’s Ello. We’re actively working on ramping up our art making again, but we’re doing so slowly and steadily. It’s going to take some time.
Face à face What are you better at than the other? It’s hard to say, we share a lot of similar skills. When we do diverge, I’ll often take-off seeking a strategic, holistic views of whatever it is we’re working on while Lucian will hunker down in the details.
Todd is better at fly fishing, I’m better at rock climbing.
What skill do you want to steal from the other? Lucian has as an ability for absolute refinement, that’s often greater than my capability. I use it as inspiration.
I wish I could read as much as Todd. And wake up early like him.
What have you learned from the other? Patience. And the strength of certainty.
Goal setting, vision and belief.
What is the best quality of the other? Lucian is an exceptional filter. He can move from uncertainty to certainty very effectively and efficiently. This applies to both our design work and our art making.
Todd’s charisma and constant drive to move forward.
What is the best default of the other? Certainty, manifest as stubbornness. It’s almost unanimously Lucian’s greatest strength and occasionally a weakness. A weakness of both of ours really.
Todd’s belief in us. The ability to say fuck it, we can do this ourselves.
What are the rules at your studio? While our practice may seem rigid to an outsider there aren’t many hard and fast rules. Most of our design philosophy is shared and held between us and happens without much discussion. But, we do live and die by a few principles — 1. 2. 3. 4.
The best idea wins Always look to the future Hedge our risk Strive for sustainability
What Todd said.
The studio is a physical manifestation of our process and work. Coming to the studio everyday is a joy.
Untethered free thinking and design in the studio followed by a mountain bike ride with the Wolfpack™ or a few hours in the local stream seeking out secretive trout on the fly.
Our studio is like our sanctuary. Well, part sanctuary, part laboratory. It’s a place to be present and to explore. A special place that’s just ours. It’s also safe. But, the relative safety it provides is oddly enough built on a culture of taking risks. And jumping off. So, it’s really a place of inspiration and looking to the future.
What is your ideal day?
What do you like best about your studio?
A day at the studio
Again, given that we’re working explicitly on Ello and that B&F is on indefinite hold, our studio days are new, different and super interesting. We arrive at the studio a bit before 9 and take coffee and tea together to discuss and review our plan for the day. We use a number of online tools including Slack for cross-team communication (we have Ello offices in Boulder, Colorado, Burlington, Vermont and Denver, Colorado), Pivotal Tracker for story management and engineering workflow, Trello for planning, and Google Hangouts and Docs for video chats, copy management, spreadsheets and the like. All these tools helps us to manage our larger strategy straight down to our daily workflow. A typical day involves a standup 20-30 minutes product/engineering team meeting. From there we check in with the rest of the team in Slack and see if there’s anything that needs our immediate attention. As we lead Product & Design at Ello, we’re central to many activities across our three other departments, Engineering, Marketing and Customer Service & Support. From there we’ll review Tracker to check in on product engineering progress, revisit our projects as organized in Trello and then move into Adobe Illustrator to tackle whatever design challenges lie ahead for the day. The day is often broken up by video conversations with members of engineering, marketing and customer service and support. We do all of our UI/UX design for web and mobile in Illustrator. We then move to Invision for prototyping and testing and eventually reviewing experiences with the team. Anything involving photography or gif making is handled in Adobe Photoshop. We strive to limit the number of tools we use, similarly to how we limit our aesthetic approach to graphic design. This keeps things simple, clear and manageable. We have so much new technology to play with these days, that while amazing, and offering efficiencies never before realized if managed optimally — it can get a little crazy at times. So, we’re constantly trying to keep ourselves in check.
What is your favourite part of your work? The act of creation. Having the opportunity to bring new things into the world puts one in an exciting and potentially powerful situation. We seek to maintain and perpe-tuate this position.
For me it used to be identity design, but now that we work on Ello it has to be waking up in the morning and seeing all the amazing work on Ello.
Berger & Föhr
What drives you to design? We’re driven by a desire to improve the world around us. We seek to make lasting significant work that moves thinking forward. We believe that anything that inspires you and has a potential impact is worth making. Whether it’s an art print that might just bring a smile to someone’s face or a cultural project with the potential to change how people see and interact with the world.
What was your biggest influence in deciding to become designers? I’m a very aesthetically and organizationally focused individual. I’ve always been that way. And I’ve sought creative freedom of expression, in all things. From a young age I viewed design, the big “design”, as an open door with unlimited opportunity for exploration on the other side. I saw design as a sort of transcendental portal begging to be entered. Instinctively, I think it was a combination of these characteristics and feelings coupled with some innate artistic abilities and a worldview that revolves around the question of: “what if?”. There’s very few career paths that offer the breadth and depth of opportunity to impact the world at large that walking the design path offers.
Design as a lifestyle was the biggest influence for me. Realizing that all of my interests were actually a career.
I relearned that open, thoughtful and often difficult conversations lies at the root of all good communication and that good communication is central to success in all things.
Who or what has inspired you lately? My 3 month old son.
I’ve been taking a lot of black and white photos recently. It has been a nice new medium for me.
What is the best advice you ever received? Follow your heart — My Mom Select your clients wisely — Massimo Vignelli
Do what you love. Fuck the rest. — Little Miss Sunshine
What does your work teach you?
I learned to let go, a little bit.
That the world is a big interconnected and not necessarily fair place, but it’s full of opportunity and the future, while uncertain, looks bright.
What did you learn last year?
Can you tell us about the project you are working on right now? Right now we’re working explicitly on Ello, an online network for creators where ideas, people and connection are valued over algorithms, data collection, ad sales and all that other invasive/abusive shit that most online networks are focused on.
What comes next? Ello. It’s what’s in the forefront of our minds.
We’re trying to better realize all the original promise of the internet.
What areas have you not yet worked in and that you would be interested in? We’d love to do more full systems large scale identity work, with livery and vehicles and building signage and interior graphics - real comprehensive, lasting, big ID work. We’d also like to make more art, bigger art on larger platforms. Some smaller art too. We’re getting ready to move into Android with Ello and that’s exciting. Android’s a platform that’s largely new to us, so it’s fresh and full of potential.
What is your top 2 goals for the future?
Shepherd Ello into the future. Continue to strive for balance.
And produce a lasting legacy of work and ideas.
What do you want to do that you have not done yet? Weâ€™d like to use Ello to help shape a better global culture based on the idea of sharing and discovery and heightened rights to privacy while creating a successful sustainable company.
Lots more art.
Which designers inspire you? Massimo Vignelli(1), Paul Rand, Burton Kramer, Herb Lubalin, Dieter Rams(2), and Wim Crouwel are some of our classic heroes, Tony Brooks and Michael C. Place are two of our contemporary favorites and some of our biggest sources of inspiration.
There’s so much amazing art on Ello that over the past year we’ve began to follow a whole new fleet of super contemporary artists. It’s a group that’s influx and evolving daily. Some of whom include Daniel Triendl (@daniel_triendl), Karan Singh (@madebykaran), James Jean (@jamesjean), James Roper (@jamesroper), Skip Hursh (@skiphursh), Luke Choice (@velvetspectrum), Julien Martin (@julienmartin), Ashleigh Green (@ashleighgreen), Clayton Shonkwiler (@shonk), Scott Listfield (@scottlistfield), Dalek (@dalek), William Nghiem (@williamnghiem), David Arias (@davidarias), Muxi (@muxi), Esthera Preda (@esteepreda), yourselves;) Heury and Heury (@heuryandheury), Logan Kruidenier (@logankruidenier) and so many more…
Prevention is the best medicine. We work hard to keep our communication channels open. Sure we battle it out, but the best idea always wins.
We tend to share very similar interests in art. Sol Lewitt, Lawrence Wiener and Dan Flavin make up some of the older guard, while Friends with You, Geoff Mcfetridge and Dalek round out some of our contemporary favorites.
Concerns or fights
Which artists dazzle your eyes and stir your soul?
The random quiz
Books that change your lives Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude - N. Hill Design is One - Massimo Vignellli Thoughts on Design - Paul Rand Theory and Methodology of Training - Tudor O Bompa Winning Bicycle Races - Jack Simes
Grid Systems - Josef Muller Brockmann Dieter Rams - As Little Design as Possible Snow Crash - Neal Stephenson
Musics for intense work Jay Z, Major Lazer, Led Zeppelin.
Die Antwoord, Diplo, Beastie Boys.
Musics for relax Om chanting by the Dali Llama, Neil Young, Bob Dylan.
LCD Soundsystem, Handsome Boy Modeling School, Common.
The best spots Studio, mountains, forests, rivers & streams - at home.
Pretty much the same with the addition of a classic air-cooled Porsche on a windy road.
Péché-mignon Beer. Big juicy, hoppy, Colorado IPA’s.
I’m not really a foodie…
Top mobile apps Olo.
What the funniest thing happen to you? Lucian?
Watching Todd fall off a mountain on his bike.
Activities to do in pairs We get a lot of good thinking done out in the woods on our single speed mountain bikes. Some of our best really. Moving through the mountains with the dogs on cold snowy days makes for good productive fun too.
Berger & Fรถhr
1. Belief 2. Pussy 3. linewave 4. Mathema 5. Geometry in Suspension 2 6. Fuck Off 7. Convergence more: editions.bergerfohr.com
The best typefaces that work well together Avant Garde x Garamond All time - Helvetica x Helvetica
Todd beat me to Helvetica x Helvetica ;)