Our 10 Favourite Polish Creatives

At Shillington, we love to celebrate great design and share inspiring projects from creatives around the world. So far we’ve covered the work of studios from Japan, Ireland, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Brazil, Colombia and Mexico. Who’s up next? For this feature, we share the work of 10 creatives from Poland.

Polish culture is often overlooked compared to other countries in Europe but its wide-ranging influences—from the bright, highly patterned national folk art to the 44-year Soviet occupation—create a visual culture with a wonderful palette and an impressive variety. Keep reading to discover everything from weird and wonderful illustrations from Gosia Herba to some sleek branding from Mama Studio.

1. Syfon Studio

Founded by poster designers Urszula Janowska and Filip Tofil, Syfon is a Warsaw-based studio that aims to mix traditional techniques and a contemporary approach to develop cutting edge graphic concepts. These posters were designed for an exhibition at the Institute of Design in Kielce—which explored how contemporary critics harshly judge posters. They created a peculiar comic book of three-coloured posters which used slogans associated with Polish poster culture.

2. Patryk Mogilnicki

Also hailing from Warsaw is Illustrator and Designer Patryk Mogilnicki, who says his work is inspired by everything from overheard conversations and the bus stop to Bret Easton Ellis novels. We fell particularly for these two different but striking designs—one for an Ikea poster about family cooking and the other for a jubilee performance of Poland’s national epic Pan Tadeusz at the National Theatre, Warsaw.

3. Acapulco Studio

Founded in 2012 by Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts graphics graduates, Małgorzata Nowak and Agata Dudek, Acapulco is a multidisciplinary studio with a particular focus on book design. Alfabet Polski is a book published in 2016 of 54 illustrations depicting stories, people and traditions for the country’s history through the 32 letters (yes, you heard that right!) of the Polish alphabet.

4. Gosia Herba

An illustrator from Wrocław, a city in Western Poland, Gosia Herba has illustrated children’s books and graphic novels, as well as working for publishers, magazines, music labels and ad agencies. We’ve chosen one of her personal projects though—a meaty number from her series Crying People that reflects on the phenomenon of crying.

5. Robert Czajka

Robert Czajka is a Warsaw-based graphic artist, painter and illustrator, who also sidelines as a toymaker under the alias Ringo. This typeface he designed for Warsaw’s Lalka Theatre, in the imposing Palace of Science and Culture, is inspired by production designer, Zofia Stanisławska-Howurkowa, and graphic artist, Adam Kilian. He took particular inspiration from their own designs for the theatre in the post-war era.

6. Marta Gawin/Gawin Studio

Katowice-native Marta Gawin is a freelance multidisciplinary Art Director and Graphic Designer. She views her design work as a form of visual research and formal experiments. Bookworms is Marta’s visual identity, in both English and Arabic, for an exhibition of insects in Polish children’s illustrations. The exhibition was part of 2018’s Abu Dhabi International Book Fair, where Poland was the honorary guest.

7. Mama Studio

Founded in 2013, Mama Studio works from their base in Warsaw creating designs for both print and digital media. Autor Rooms, their collaboration with Design Hotels, saw the studio transform a historic residence in their home city into a boutique hotel with their creative friends and colleagues—but handling the branding themselves. Both Mama’s and Autor Rooms’ logos contain keys, supposedly to unlock secrets of a vibrant city full of rich culture and ideas.

8. Ola Niepsuj

After studying in Łódź in Poland and Matosinhos and Porto in Portugal, Ola Niepsuj moved Poland’s capital city, Warsaw, to work as an illustrator and graphic designer. She primarily designs posters, visual identities and infographic and has worked with Apple, Nike, Converse and HBO. Her illustrations have been featured in various publications all over the world—including The New York Times, Harper’s Bazaar Poland and the independent food zine, Put a Egg On It.

9. Jakub de Barbaro

A graduate of Krakow Academy of Fine Arts, Jakub de Barbaro works out of Warsaw designing identities, publications and information and way finding systems for the arts and culture sectors. As well as designing for some of Polish biggest cultural institutions, he has also worked with the Arnolfini in Bristol and The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts in New York. His designs for Krakow Film Festival 2015 caught our attention with their striking colours and mix of different languages and typefaces.

10. Michalina Rolnik

Michalina Rolnik is the founder of Studio O in Krakow. Having studied Design at Jan Matejko Academy of Fine Arts in her home city, she has designed logos for House of Donuts, Farma Zdrowia and Centrum Pomocy Dzieciom and posters for bars, spas, films, festivals and the Warsaw Museum of Modern Art. She’s also dabbled in packaging design and illustrated the childrens’ book ‘Who Lives Here’.

Feeling inspired? Check out our #ILoveTheseGuys series to discover more creative studios from around the world! Or become a graphic designer yourself—you can do in three months full-time or nine months part-time in London, Manchester, New York, Sydney, Brisbane or Melbourne with Shillington —> www.shillingtoneducation.com

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