We Get to Know: Mireille Burkhardt
- 25th September 2019
In this We Get to Know series, we spoke with the people behind Bob Books, as we reveal our new logo and brand refresh.
Mireille Burkhardt is a Swiss Graphic Designer, co-founder and Creative Director of BOB Design and co-founder of Bob Books. Mireille also guest lectures at Kingston and Central Saint Martins in London.
Thanks for talking to us. So firstly, it would be lovely to have a little bit of background about yourself and how you co-founded both Bob Books and BOB Design.
I’m a graphic designer, and my family business Bubu, in Switzerland, is in book binding. After setting up a graphic design studio in 2002, I had the idea to create a photobook business. At that point there actually wasn’t anything like that in London. As a test, we made a book for John’s wife Claudia and he got really excited about the idea, and thought it sounded like a great business, and he made it happen really.
As a designer, where do you draw inspiration from more generally, film, music or art?
I think from everywhere. Growing up in a book bindery, with that very close to me, I was always surrounded by really beautiful books, so that is still something I find very, very inspiring. I spent a lot of weekends as a child at the bindery, making all sorts of things, so I was always very interested in the craft and in the making. Bubu is always trying to find new ways to make the book relevant in this day and age.
Whenever I go to Switzerland I still go to the book bindery and look through all kinds of books, from art books to cookery books- that’s definitely a source of inspiration, and I think the other thing is living in London and having all this on your doorstep; galleries, food!
And what about BOB Design most excites you?
It’s really been interesting because I think that even though a lot of the designs we did at BOB Design started out as print, I think we are actually getting as many requests now for digital work. It’s interesting to have a design concept and have to produce that in a print format and then in a digital format, as they are two very different mediums both of which are very creative.
We’ve never done as much digital work as we do now, but at the same time we’ve never done as many photo books as we do now, so somehow, they kind of co-exist, and fulfil very different needs. Now if someone wants to do something printed it’s very important how it feels in your hand and the kind of tactile experience you get from it, it’s almost like the printed object gets challenged more.
Going back to the beginning, to 2006, what was the original thought behind the feel of the Bob Books website, the aesthetic and the messaging…
We initially produced everything at Bubu so there was a very clear brief of everything looking Swiss-made. The branding had a very strong link to the Swiss flag, that kind of colour pallet of red and white and in the beginning that was somehow a seal of approval that it was actually very well made, and that we took care of the craft. Which was true, that’s how it started, it was all made in Switzerland.
How has the site evolved, and how do you feel it has developed and modernised?
I think the branding has obviously evolved. With the upcoming site and logo refresh, we wanted to distinguish it from all the competitors, who mostly have books in their icons, so we wanted to give it a mark that was very ownable, and very clearly Bob Books. It’s quite funny that it took over 10 years to see it but we suddenly saw this monogram, the b and b, and we thought wow, that is very ownable.
I love the new logo, and how did you arrive at that?
We cut out the old logo and played with it, the brief was that it remained recognisable as Bob Books, but had a visible evolution from the old logo. So, we kind of cut it up and played around with it and somehow by doing that, turning it around and cropping it…
You arrived at this!
We did a lot of testing with the b itself, in terms of the colour scheme, the red and white, the house font, we tried looking at the form of the b and we looked at a lot of b’s and how some of the b’s made it look like Batman, which wasn’t right! We were looking in detail at the form of the b and making it most book like, so there was almost a little spine between the b’s.
As creative director of BOB Design would you say you have a signature style, or would you say you’re more brief driven, how do you like to work with other clients?
We try to always have two influences in our studio. One is very much the craft- as I said before, growing up in a book bindery inspired a love of making, the craft, the form, all rooted in Swiss graphic design and that’s our intention with every project, trying to combine this very craft driven approach together with a very concept driven approach. This comes from where a lot of the team has studied, Kingston University, which has a very concept driven ethos. So our intention and approach with every project is not so much a style, but trying to combine these two influences together.
Lastly, is there anything you’d like to talk about that’s coming up with BOB Design, any future projects?
We’ve been collaborating with lots of architects, and this year we’ve collaborated on a travelling photography expedition at the Science Museum. There’s also a lot of branding work. And lastly, excitingly, we won the competition for a three year contract to sit on the panel for the Transport for London design team.
Congratulations! Thanks Mireille.