Ten questions to Miriam Körösi, Adnan Mujadžic and Magdalena Spatt, the three Information Design students who conceived the Design of Designmonat Graz this year.

Why did you want to design the Designmonat Graz 2017?
We wanted to be responsible for the visual appearance of Graz, to leave creative footprints so to speak. It’s a tremendous opportunity to be given the chance to design the cityscape for a whole month. Additionally, it’s exciting to think about creating print forms and other advertising media that will reach lots of people sharing out interest in design.

Was there a mission or a statement at first?
From the very start, it was clear that we wanted to communicate something positive. We discussed a lot about words that have a positive connotation and noticed that they all have one thing in common: they deal with the topic of being happy. But happiness isn´t something that just falls into your lap. We have to make decisions to feel happy. That’s how we came up with our claim. “Ja” stands for strong and consistent decisions.

Who was in charge of what in the process?
Our working process was a mixture of together and divided. We split the work to be more efficient. While one was working e.g. on the flags, someone else concentrated on the pocket guide. But we constantly looked over each other’s backs, exchanged opinions and gave each other feedback.

How does it feel to see your own design spread throughout the city?
It´s really nice to walk through the city and see how our work blends into the cityscape and we especially enjoy it when we notice people interacting with the design. When we saw people smiling and making selfies with our flags, it felt like the positive message we wanted to send out really reached them.

How long did you work on the project in total?
About six months in total. There were actually two main phases. The first two months were during the competitive pitches at FH JOANNEUM, when we developed and presented the concept. The second phase was the actual realization of the concept with Creative Industries Styria, and took four months.

Were there any strenuous moments you can recall?
Any? Sure, they are part of probably every creative process with a time table. For example, the final stage of the newspaper’s production was quite nerve-wrecking. Adjustments and corrections came in from every possible side, not to mention our own. So overview was sometimes hard to maintain, and one easily ended up dreaming of corrections, layout and other elements.

What was your personal highlight of the Designmonat Graz?
The opening for sure. It was like the initial spark that started the whole wildfire of the Designmonat Graz. It was nice seeing everyone that collaborated on the project, and our close friends and families in the same place. Even though it rained outside, the opening was more than successful, just like the feedback we received.

How was the cooperation with the Creative Industries Styria?
During the four months spent together, we really connected to and appreciated the associates there. We valued their opinions and adopted their reviews to make the design continuous and functional in the wide spectrum of our advertising materials. Creative Industries Styria gave us lots of independence in the project, which led to some problems, but also to solutions. All in all, we had a good time, good laughs and lots of coffee.

What is the most valuable lesson you learned?
To rethink the application of the concept before making a design or layout for it. We had some stumbling blocks with the magazine – if you open it, it has a double A3 format, which is really big. Thereby, we had to find the thin line between an editorial magazine and a broadsheet. It had to have a design of its own, but it also had to be based on traditional journals. And of course, it had to work for all three of us, which was another discussion topic.

If you had the chance, would you do it again?
Designing the look of a whole city for a month is an incredibly awesome experience. If we had the opportunity to do it again, we all would – for sure, with a totally different concept that is as magnetizing as it was this year.

Photography: Miriam Körösi, Simon Baptist