Brand Designer at Dokument
János
Spindler

Designer & Partner at Dokument, a Berlin based studio focused on brand design systems

Berlin, Germany • August 22, 2022

What led you into design?

Honestly – I’m not sure. It’s not a straight or clear path I can trace my way into design back to, but I’ll try to piece together some of the cues I see.

At a very young age, I’ve been drawing a lot. My parents and I took several Europe trips with our camper van, and I spent a lot of time drawing what I saw on these trips, filling sketchbook after sketchbook. This might have been the starting point of becoming a very visual person, that wants to capture what they experience, collect memories and tell stories.

Many years later, in my late teens when I got into punk, hardcore & metal and played in a screamo band for a short time, I was very fascinated with punk and DIY aesthetics that can be found in self-published zines, record artwork and band shirt graphics and started to understand them as a way of self identification.

Fast-forward to 2009, I was at a crossroads, not really knowing what to do with my life and just slipped into a 3-year design program. They taught me the basics of working with illustrator & photoshop, which almost made me stop attending, because I believed I could also teach this to myself.

Only in the second year the assignments became more interesting, when they let us experiment outside very limited briefs. Around this time I became interested in Swiss design, wanted to learn more about its history and started applying these principles to create concert posters, small magazines and logos. Only then I really started to enjoy doing graphic design and was determined to make it my career.

So, perhaps what led me into design was driven by the need to create something to express myself. Today, I help companies do the same through their brand.

What does a typical day look like?

Most days I wake up around 6.30. While having my first coffee, I catch up on news and podcasts, trying to take it slow before the day gets too busy.

My studio, Dokument, is fully remote still, so I have a short commute to my desk where I sit down at around 8.00 to do some light work like catching up on emails, reviewing client feedback we’ve received overnight and take some time to look back and reflect on yesterday’s work.

Around 9.00, my studio partner and I catch up about the day ahead, distribute tasks and responsibilities before jumping into the tools doing some hands-on design or strategy work.

Around 1.00, I’ll make a simple lunch and when the time allows it, grab a coffee from somewhere and go for a walk through my neighbourhood park before getting back into work mindset.

Often parts of my afternoon are spent on client communication, creating presentations or proposals before getting back into design mode for a bit and wrapping up the day around 6.00 with a quick update for our clients.

I really enjoy cooking, so making dinner for me and my partner is a great way to take some time for myself and unwind at the end of the day.

What’s your workstation setup?

It’s very unspectacular and even after 2 years of suddenly switching to home office it’s still very makeshift. My desk is also my dinner table, which I don’t mind and just tell myself it's efficient usage of space. I’m currently using a late 2019 16” Macbook Pro on a matte black Office Stance stand with an external keyboard and magic mouse.

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Where do you go to get inspired?

Travelling and taking time away from the work environment. The further away I get from projects, both mentally and physically, the more it fuels my creativity. By experiencing new places, I start seeing things and thinking thoughts that I feel were once clouded by the day-to-day of running a brand design studio, that often runs on a strict timeline.

Of course, my inspiration often comes from the great work others have done in the fields of design, interior, photography, architecture and can be found on sites like are.na and other places of the internet.

Something I’ve recently been neglecting but enjoy doing as much as I can, is catching local exhibitions and visiting museums and galleries.

What product have you recently seen that made you think this is great design?

Some things I’ve really enjoyed recently:

Houseplant From the actual design of their products, the fact they give you a flower vase with your ashtray, to their branding—this is great all around

Otto for Square I believe design should be about enabling people by giving them the tools to create. This smart little generator does just that by letting everybody create using motion expressions.

Teenage Engineering OP-1 As with everything TE, this feels incredibly unique and well considered, from the surface texture of the knobs and digital interface to the smallest possible icon

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What pieces of work are you most proud of?

I’ve been running Dokument with my studio partner Todd for about a year now, and we had the chance to work on many exciting projects we’re very proud of.

With the world facing so many challenges simultaneously, some of our favourite projects are still to be released to the public.

Something I’m very proud of is the environment and workplace culture we’ve created. We’re committed to become the type of place we always wanted to work at, in our business we put people and health first in everything we do.

What design challenges do you face at your company?

There are many, which is what makes running your own studio so interesting. As a core team of two, you are wearing many hats and are faced with something you’ve never done before, all the time.

On the design side of things, a big one for us is that we’re insanely focused on quality and craft to always create the best solution. This can sometimes be challenging, if you’re working with resource constraints, smaller budgets, a backlog of operational tasks and want to maintain a healthy life.

We also believe that great work can only happen through meaningful relationships. These need to be continuously fostered and strengthened from both sides to create great experiences and the best possible collaboration with our clients. Only this way, we can gain their trust, to do transformative things with their brand. It’s also a challenge, but one we deeply enjoy.

What music do you listen to whilst designing?

Any advice for ambitious designers?

Try to find excitement even in the smallest things & most straight forward projects. Don’t become complacent, but continuously make the most of the opportunities to experiment and push the work further than anybody would have expected you to.

Anything you want to promote or plug?

For companies that are purpose driven, climate, socially conscious and committed to making a positive difference for people and the environment – get in touch if you’re looking for a partner to support you on your brand endeavours. Visit our website here

I’m an avid collector of visual references on are.na, you can find me here

It’s of the highest importance to support women’s rights & access to safe abortions, you can find relevant resources to do so here