Pictograms & Other Designs By Viktor Hertz

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Talking graphic design and cinema as art.

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Sahara Shrestha | August 9, 2011

MacDonalds Logo by Viktor Hertz

Viktor Hertz does a lot of pictogram posters but I enjoy his “Honest Logos” best. They're a twist in the text and image of original logos that become social commentary. Most of his works are based on other artworks like music and movies that are perhaps re-represented or objectified. “A teacher told me I’m like a visual DJ, using other people’s stuff to create something new, and I kind of like that description of what I do. I remix stuff and make something new with it, giving it new meaning. So, I guess my tools are other people’s work, digested through my brain and then put into Illustrator.”

He says he loves clarity and simplicity imbued with clever ideas, which probably explains his style but he wants to move on from pictograms, nonetheless. Talking about visual arts and communications, Viktor emphasizes the amount of time people take to get the idea behind it— not too soon but not too late either. “Most of my works are very simple, so they aren’t that complicated to realize. One of my graphic design teachers showed us this chart depicting the amount of time it takes to get the idea on the x-axis, and the “aha-experience” on the y-axis; if it’s too far-fetched, you tip over that mountain and everything is spoiled.”

Hertz has been designing for a couple of years, still in the process of learning and exploring the development of ideas and expression. “I choose my motives quite randomly; almost always out of pure chance. It could be songs or movies I haven’t even heard or seen, but know enough to make a poster out of it. Most of the time, my ideas come from looking at objects and pictograms, and then figuring out how to combine it with something else to turn them into something new, and hopefully, good.”

“The process is usually like this: I sit and stare at stuff and think a lot. Sometimes I get an embryo for an idea, or if I’m lucky, a complete idea, and I do it quite quickly in Illustrator. Then I sit and stare at THAT for a while, ‘til I’m convinced I can’t make it better.”

I see you have a whole section devoted to Kubrick film posters. Do you have a favorite by him?

How do I answer this question in an original way? A part of me wants to say ‘The Seafarers’ just to sound like a true Kubrick nerd. BUT, it really has to be ‘2001: A Space Odyssey.' Just because it’s made in 1968 and still looks A LOT better than most sci-fi films from today. How sick is that?? That alone is a good enough reason. It was also the first movie that got me interested in classical music, which I’m still a big fan of. The cinematography is just amazing; mind-blowing stuff that produces chills down your spine and makes your jaw drop. It’s just such a bold and groundbreaking piece of cinema art. It will last forever just because it didn’t try to be modern and cool (well, maybe some of it), it’s just… (drum-roll) … Timeless. I could talk forever about this film but most of it has probably already been said before so I shall spare you the chit chat.

What aspect most excites you about cinema as art?

I love it when film combines image and sound in a new and cool way that makes your heart pump and forget about everything else. That’s a cliché, I know, but it’s true. I hate it when I get irritated on something and remember that I’m watching a film. So, I guess the excitement lies in escapism, getting totally wound up in a different world, forgetting about time and the space around you. Music can do that alone, too, sometimes, if you listen to it in the dark, for example. I remember doing that when I was younger, but my mom thought I was being weird so I stopped eventually. I should try that again sometime, it’s pretty neat. You get emotionally affected by cinema in a way that doesn’t really happen anywhere else. It’s like a can of emotions and feelings that you absorb for two hours but can feel like it lasts for days or weeks. That’s quite cool, and it differs from all the other art forms. I studied cinema for one year, which was really great. I learned lots of stuff that I didn’t think of before, lots of philosophic and psychological things that makes you watch films in a deeper way. But I don’t analyze films when I see them, only the bad ones, to makes things more bearable…

Few words on something you've learned in terms of graphic design?

Graphic design should be like a nice texture that you like to rest your worn-out and tired eyes on, caressing the lines and shapes with your eyes. It should make you want to look at it again, like the way you want to listen to a song again and again and again. It’s pretty much like music, actually, you can tell instantly if you like it or not. That’s a fact that I really like. It’s very honest. Sometimes you can’t tell why you like or not like something, you just do. When looking at my work, I want people to get a nice feeling in their guts.

A 28-year-old graphic designer from Uppsala, Sweden, Viktor Hertz dreams of releasing an album made completely on his old Casiotone synthesizer some day, “I already have the concept ready for it, I just need some time.” He attedned Beckmans school of design in Stockholm for a year-long evening class in visual communication that ended in May this year. He also dabbles with photography and has been making trailers for Uppsala International Short Film Festival since 2006. “It’s been focusing on stop-motion until this year, which I’m very excited about. I think I’m going to be happy with the result for the very first time.” You can find more of his designs here and hear his electronica music here.

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