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In focus: “It's always been and always will be about the wow factor”

Updated: Mar 14, 2023

Alexis Zurflüh, an art director well-known for his work on projects such as “Süddeutsche Zeitung” magazine “Stil Leben” and “NZZ am Sonntag” magazine, has been collaborating with Nansen & Piccard to give picturemaxx a complete makeover: new website, new corporate identity. Wow guaranteed – but what exactly does that mean?

Interview with Art Director Alexis Zurflüh

Illustration with quote and picture of Alexis Zurflüh

Alexis, hand on heart, which do you prefer: revamping an existing corporate identity or designing a completely new one, and why?

Alexis Zurflüh: “That’s an easy one: designing a completely new identity is definitely the harder of the two, but way more fun! Although I also enjoy updating existing designs, the result is always based on something someone else has designed, so you don’t get the sense so much that it’s your ‘baby’.”

You’ve designed a new CI for picturemaxx – wow guaranteed. What’s the secret behind the wow effect?

Alexis Zurflüh: “Ultimately, the graphics must first and foremost fulfill a function. If they’re also especially visually appealing, that’s the icing on the cake.

Whether you’re designing a logo or a website, as a graphic designer you should be aiming to achieve that wow factor.”

“Wow” – why are these three letters so important for brands today?

Alexis Zurflüh: “Whether 30 years ago or 30 years from now, it’s always been and always will be about the wow factor. However, I have noticed that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to create unique visuals that stand out. The deluge of new brands and graphics is making it harder for designers to do this. It’s the same with music and photography.”

What do clients need to think about first, right at the start of the CI design process?

Alexis Zurflüh at the Whiteboard
Workshop with picturemaxx

Alexis Zurflüh: “Good question. One thing you need to bear in mind is that CI design is very much a matter of taste. The client might want something loud, quiet, colorful or somber. You can say that something is ‘suitable’ or ‘unsuitable’, but certainly never right or wrong. As a graphic designer you’re a service provider, at best an advisor. But ultimately the client must have an idea of what they want. Diving into the process of redesigning a corporate identity without a plan is not a good idea for either the graphic designer or client. What often helps create a solid basis is to first hold a joint workshop. This means working together to establish what the client wants to achieve before embarking on the actual design journey.

That’s what we did with picturemaxx, and I’m sure that’s partly why we were able to work together so effectively and professionally.”

What special role do images generally play in the design of a CI, and how has this changed? How can a platform like picturemaxx or the my picturemaxx software help you as an agency?

Alexis Zurflüh: “Images are immensely important. After all, we’re all emotional beings. And emotions can be conveyed better with images than letters for example, i.e. typography. picturemaxx has a vast pool of images, which makes it considerably easier to both look for and find the right visual.”

What inspires you and what do you do to keep discovering new things?

Alexis Zurflüh: “There are various sources. Social media, for example, is extremely useful. But exhibitions and museums are also a constant source of new inspiration and ideas. I find, though, that I learn the most from clients. By working closely with them I learn new perspectives, new workflows, and last but not least new visual languages.”

This interview was conducted for picturemaxx by media journalist Julia Gundelach.

Thank you!

More Information

(Team) Alexis Zurflüh:

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About picturemaxx: Contact:

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