Ljudje Design Studio
The name of the studio, which translates as "People", is an indication of the social concerns that much of their work addresses. Perhaps unusually for a design studio, they draw on collaborators from the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences, engaging them around the design team in accordance with the requirements of each project. This is a reflection of two of the core beliefs of the company: that design is a tool for solving problems and not a final product, and that being seen simply as designers places limits on what they can do.
Selected key projects
This is not to say that the team do not also engage in more or less straight-up graphic or packaging design, as their work for the 2020 Ljubljana Festival, the GoOpti shuttle company and the Destilarna Zima spirits producer shows. However, their most resonant work, at least in part, engages with contemporary political and social concerns, both domestic and global. Three such projects stand out. In 2018 they designed a visual identity for Kamnik hip-hop trio Matter, which took Slovenia's national symbols (flag, colours, Mt Triglav) as a starting point for an abstraction of a new republic, and attempted to raise questions about the place of symbols in national mythmaking. The Reši RŠ campaign (2013) used branding and marketing tools to help raise money to save Radio Študent from the existential threat of closure. The stanovanjska-kriza.je project (2019), for which Ljudje provided web and conceptual design, was carried out in collaboration with "Kje bomo pa jutri spali?" (Where will we sleep tomorrow?), an initiative to draw attention to Slovenia's acute lack of affordable housing.
Two further projects perhaps deserve particular mention, with both displaying the same curiosity about how people work and think. "Seen", a project developed by Kozole as part of his Master's degree at Central Saint Martins in London, stems from the designer's fascination with digital surveillance. It is a downloadable custom-made font that blacks out any word you type that is classed as a "hot" or "spook" word by the US and UK intelligence services. As Kozole says: "The idea isn't to make a terrorist tool but a conversation starter, so people will see and ask themselves why some of the words are on the list and why some aren't."
Ljudje received a major commission for the 26th edition of the Biennial of Design (BIO 26, 2019–20), which addressed the ways in which design might highlight and resolve the information crisis and begin to address questions of post-truth and infobesity. The company designed the visual identity for the event, which combined striking classic poster design elements with infographics, and netted the company a Brumen Grand Prix and two Brumen Awards in 2019.
Brumen Grand Prix
- BIO 26 (Identity and infographics), 2019
- Flaviar app (Flavour Spiral), 2015
- BIO 26 (Identity and infographics), 2019 (two awards, in addition to the Grand Prix)
- Troljo, 2017
- Reši RŠ, 2015
- Seen, 2015
- Flaviar app, 2015
- Flavour Spiral, 2015
- Miha Artnak's website
- Emil Kozole's website
- Seen website
- Design for Troglav I–III, Matter
- BIO 26 website
Ljudje in the press