Thursday, December 27, 2007

Cream City Conversations with Zita

I'm back again. And, as promised, I've got something a little different this time around.

Over the past 5 years or so, there has been a lot of line blurring between comics, graphic design and animation. Hell... we've even seen prose novelist, television writers and film scripters try their hand at funnybooks and it's worked the other way around as well.

I thought it might be a good idea to include someone from one of these loosely related mediums in my interviews. Lucky, for me, I happen to know some people in advertising/graphic design AND one of them happens to be a woman. So we'll be completing this trilogy of female artists with the inclusion of a graphic designer.

Zita is a very talented designer with a heavy, realist point-of-view. Not much, if any, pretension can be found in her words. In the short time I've known her, I've found her to be nothing if not as humble as she is keen on graphics... and England.

I could go on-and-on but she'd just insist I get on with it so I will...

CCC: For those not in the know, your name and location?

Zita, from Budapest, the far far away land of Hungary

CCC: Describe the art 'scene' in your area?

As my college art teacher said, "we're in the 19th century". For further info, maybe check out the book titled Graphicum. It's a collective book of Hungarian typography and graphic design. It describes the scene like nothing else. It's a huge book, with very tiny letters. It's entirely black... tries to look stylish in a fashionable snobbish way. Its first 12 pages are about the whine of the hardness of this business... the pride and the career of the jury who collected those works.

I think it's a devastating book... exactly like the scene. VIP designers, inner circles of people, wine bottles, serif typefaces, black and dark reds everywhere, tiny white letters on huge black background. That's all really.

CCC: What do you think is lacking in your immediate 'scene'?

Freedom, haha. I mean, mental freedom. Sense of humour please. Where has the famous Hungarian wit disappeared? Colours please. Things are taken way too seriously here. It's exhausting. I'm seeking for a new wave of Dadaism... this is what the scene needs here, haha. I want courageous, provoking people here. W-w-wake up, sh-sh-sh sh-shake up! Hehe.

CCC: For the record, you are not a comics creator. But... you are an artist walking the line between underground and mainstream. Can you explain your career path for the readers?

I have absolutely no idea. Sorry, but I can't answer this question. I don't place myself between underground and mainstream... I don't even know what you mean by that. I'm not too fussed about belonging to any scene. See, I want to move to Britain. Their culture and way of thinking is just simply what I think mine is. I don't aim [for] any certain scene to belong to. I just want to move there. Whatever scene I'll find my right place in, it will be good for me... it will turn out later, anyway. Afterall, I'll be known for my works only. So I might end up as a cleaning lady haha!

*Note: You're eyes are not blurry, kind reader. Nor are your eyes deceiving you. Zita is truly this humble... all the time.

CCC: What led you to pursue a career in the arts?

Well, I'm just awful at anything else haha!

Well the truth is that my brain just can't concentrate on anything... I always make up something else instead. I love playing. I love playing with everything, actually. I love maths, 'cause maths is all about playing and I'm studying to be a designer engineer which gives me the absolute possibility to play with everything, really.

CCC: What is it about design, in particular, which attracts you?

It's all about communication I guess. Not of your own thoughts, I mean, design helps people communicating with each other. It's just a channel and you can shape it.

CCC: What are your immediate and ultimate goals in design?

My immediate aim is, of course, to find my own happiness by doing it. I'm on quite a good way to it actually, haha. As for further purposes... No idea. I just want to make things more understandable. I want to add my bit to this huge global communication buzz, 'cause I believe, if we start reading/listening/looking at each other's opinion, that's already halfway to success (Just to tell some wise-sounding cliche as well, haha).

CCC: Do you have a personal philosophy which informs your work? Is this something you intend your audience to notice?

Erm, my personal philosophy? I want my design to be a helping hand for the brains. As I pointed out earlier, I just want to help communicate. I don't want to spread my own words. That's what the authors should do, it's not my job. And thinking is hard, anyway, haha.

I think, a designer's job is to make the words reach the intended audience. It's not my audience. I don't want them to notice 'my philosophy'. It would be wrong.

You don't know who designed the label on the bottle of water you're drinking right now? Do you? I want the audience to like the things they got. I want them to love the touch of the things they are wearing and the sight of the words they are reading. If they understood those words, then I'll know I've done a successful job. (On that note: I'd like to add that it's a two sided business, though).

In Hungary, most procurers forget their own roles and want the designers to just do things they'd already imagined. A designed work communicates to the audience, though, and not to the procurer. It doesn't have to fit the procurer's taste. It has to tell things about them. So, I believe, that the key thing is to trust each other's abilities.

CCC: Share some of your influences, include links if you have them.

James Goggin, Sara Fanelli, Taxi studio, Bark... and so on! All the leading, young British graphic designers.

CCC: What is it about these creators you find most inspiring?

Their wit. It's something the Brits are the best at... something the Brits do best. And their amazing ability to create an atmosphere. Any work of them has got an entire atmosphere... very well created to the details.

CCC: Are there particular agencies you'd like most to "lure" with your designs?

Haha yeah. Plenty! From the scene mentioned above. Like, Form, Stylorouge, A2, Draught Associates, Iris, Form, Hort, etc, etc. And, like, 15 hard working years later I might achieve it. Haha.

CCC: In the comics industry there are several creators also working in graphic design... Brian Wood immediately springs to mind. Have you noticed any links between the two mediums?

Well, yeah, both are printed on paper and have typefaces and things. Haha. Seriously? Well... yeah, as I said earlier, design is a hand for the brains. Some hands have got some brains so the graphic designers who have got their own thing to tell just put it in a brilliant comic book. Or backwards, some brains have the skills to draw. Someone who's got some original thought might have the skills to put it into their right visual shape. Either way, it works... very well.

CCC: Do you belong to any online or 'real world' art communities? If so, what are they? Include links, if you have them.

Eeh, just several projects. I wouldn't call it a community 'cause we've got 2 members, me and a friend... in most of them, haha.

They are all about science by the way. We are trying to make actually pointless facts interesting. It's all about pointing out that you can't know enough about the world around you so shut up and discover it before you start forming your opinion on it. Sounds a bit harsh but it's all put with the most amount of irony and sense of humour into it. We are doing it on posters and now in a magazine too. It's called Plant. It's available in pdf only.

CCC: Can you name some designers you feel are shaping the future of the industry?

ME. Haha, joking. But it's hard to guess. All the examples I could say, are already shaping it currently. [The] Future depends on so many things. It's so hard to guess who's going to shape it.

CCC: Do you have any parting advice or final words you'd like to share?

Yeah. Always check the expiry date of the milk, guys. Have a look at those typefaces, someone designed them as well. Thank you very much.

CCC: You can see more of Zita's amazing design work at: or

Thanks, Zita!


That rounds-up the female editions of my interviews... for now. I intend to post as many interviews with women creators as I can. It's a completely different voice... and reading/listening to a bunch of guys and opinions you've already formed yourself is fine. But I dig variety.

Call it graphic design, graphic art, graphic novels... call it what you like. Communication is the keyword and common ground. Whether the communication is happening through books, advertisements or blogs is not what's important... the important thing is communication IS happening. Revisit all these interviews, figure out what's being communicated, pass that information on and come back for the next round of posts.