Why we design


Graphic | Publication

The book ‘Why we design’ is the outcome of the quest Nikki Gonnissen and Thomas Widdershoven, founders of graphic design studio thonik, went on in order to research their personal motivations for designing. It is a question not often answered in the field of design. Thomas: “We are used to explaining ourselves to clients but contrary to artists we are not used to motivating why it is that we do what we do – which makes it an impossible book to make really!”

Although impossible, Nikki and Thomas decided to start the journey in collaboration with design critic Gert Staal. Nikki: “In this book we research 11 personal reasons why we design. From the need to create impact to a constant search for independence; from the blessings of systems to the urgency of play.”

The 11 chapters are illustrated with some 40 projects by thonik as well as visual quotes from culture, art and design. The book is complemented by contributions of Adrian Shaughnessy and Aaron Betsky.

Thonik, based in Amsterdam, is known for it’s iconic designs for the Dutch Socialist Party, Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, The Holland Festival and the Power Station of Art in Shanghai. As Adrian Shaughnessy puts it: “All thonik’s work is characterised by vibrant execution – they don’t do dull – and as with all the best Dutch graphic design … there is a surefooted fusion of visual aesthetics and intellectual reflection.”

‘Why We Design’
Lars Müller Publishers, Switzerland

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