Marin Lorenz has had an amazing career, designing for clients such as ESPN and Nike, teaching at some of Europe’s leading design schools and publishing books, such as Flexible Visual Sytems, documenting his research and approach to design practice.
First of all, could you tell me a bit about yourself, have you always worked in design, what’s your journey in the field?
Yes, I am afraid that I am that privileged. In the first year of my studies, I started working regularly for a small design studio. This must have been 1997. Before that, I worked on commissioned illustration and graffiti work, but it was that sporadic and fun that I do not consider it work.
Do you collect printed matter, is there a key publication that remains in influence in your work?
I love books. My father was a professor for sociology and often bought 10 books a week. Imagine what our flat looked like. My room was a big Fleckhaus rainbow. I do not buy that many books, but our office and home are filled with books too. There are probably around 20 books I keep on revisiting. Especially design books from Gerstner, Wong, Dondis, Hofmann, Brockmann, Bertin, as well sociology books by Bourdieu and Luhmann.
What are your favourite/stand-out pieces from your collection?
I have a copy of publikaties van de en werk van / publikationen der und arbeiten von / publications by and works by edition hansjörg mayer, which I bought for a couple of guilders when studying in The Hague at the end of the last century. I love the design of it and how the production isn’t perfect and that you can see the traces of time. It is a real treasure to me.
Is there a book or set of magazines you are on the hunt for or would love to be in your collection/studio?
I don’t want to collect anything else because moving with all the stuff we have from Barcelona to Hamburg was difficult enough. I would like to move countries again one day and it hurts me too much to give books or magazines away. Having said that, I am a big fan of the Swiss “Typografische Monatsblätter” and Japanese “Idea Magazine“.
Do you lean towards a period/region of design, what’s your favourite, and why?
Now, is my favourite period in design. I think we are really lucky to have such a diverse culture. The design makes advances in all fields of society which augments its relevance and reduces its unrealistic idealism. The only thing that worries me is that younger generations might think that design is what is posted on Instagram. It’s an interesting platform to see formal experiments, but it’s not real. Design does not need to look like design. Design is constructed communication. Design has an effect on real lives.