The best quotes from designers in Backstage Talks

by Grace Wang in May 2017
Share on Facebook, Twitter or Copy Link
Art & design

We offer a newly launched magazine every week on Sampler, and Backstage Talks was one that sold out within the first 24 hours. Created out of By Design Conf in Slovakia, it captures the casual conversations with the speakers when they’re off the stage. It’s a wonderful insight into the life of a designer, spread across pages of big pull quotes in lively, engaging language.

The magazine offers lots of really good and practical advice for designers, so we asked editor Zuzana Kvetková to share the best insights from each of these five speakers…


“Creative people can cross over a lot of disciplines. What is possible these days might not have been possible 20 years ago.” — Erik Kessels

While other speakers entertained our audience, Erik Kessels was laying down on the lawn in front of our venue, enjoying the sunshine before his talk. Patrik Garaj joined him to talk about how KesselsKramer ads for a mobile operator did more for integration in the Netherlands than any other governmental campaign and have a laugh about the ridiculous amount of awards in the advertising industry. But that was just the beginning! As the last speaker of By Design 2016, he left our audience crying with laughter.


“Some deadlines are absolutely stupid, like create an illustration in half a day. Nothing good is coming out of that!” — Malika Favre

Malika Favre is as great, energetic and friendly as her work! The Frenchwoman in London is not afraid to say things as they are or admit that the harshest critics teach you the most. When we found out we lived only a few minutes from each other, we talked about how not to get bored of your work and her dream-come-true project of The New Yorker cover series, while waiting out a heavy rain in an East London café.


“You need drive and stubbornness to start a revolution. Today, everybody is content. We say to ourselves that everything is OK, because it is convenient and comfortable. No one is concerned about what life is really about.” — Oliviero Toscani

Ever since Oliviero Toscani told us how he hates it when people call themselves ‘creative directors’, we made sure we introduced all the creative directors within our team as such. He is long bored talking about his most famous work (advertising for Benetton) so in the interview, he shared his strong opinions on social media, the disappointing new generation of creatives, and the exaggerated importance of technology in creative work. His insults are always more inspiring than degrading!


“I think the parallels between typeface design and architecture are modularity, abstraction of form and illusion.” — Zuzana Ličko

Zuzana Ličko couldn’t join us at the conference, as 30 years of intense computer work behind her typefaces made long-haul flights painful, but getting to know the iconic couple behind Émigré Magazine was very exciting via the internet too. We discussed if she would design type if she was starting her career now and how using a typographic software helps her create her ceramic sculptures.


“Design has always been connected to the world of economics. Money and business are exactly what distinguishes design from art.” — Peter Biľak

Peter Biľak had to hurry for his flight back to the Netherlands, so he invited Martin Jenča to do the interview over a barbecue at his cabin during the summer. He doesn’t mind talking openly and sharing his know-how, so they talked about the exciting creative challenge of figuring out how to divide client’s budget to create the best outcome as well as about starting business abroad – Martin’s mind was full of planning the now open Vienna office of Milk Studios.

oliviero-toscani-backstage-talks backstage-talks-tobias-van-schneider debbie-millman-backstage-talks

We love independent magazines. Sign up to our subscription service from £6 to get our favourites delivered to your door

Buy the Magazines
Buy the Magazines
Close Icon

Join our magazine club! Subscribe to Stack and every month we'll pick a different independent title and deliver it to your door. You never know what you'll get next...

Subscribe now