Job no:81378-5 Title : RP_All Access (New PB Verdions) Client : Pro-vision
175 Size : 203.2(w)254(h)mm Co : M6 (mac J)
Dept : DTP D/O : 22.10.05 (Job no:000000 D/O : 00.00.04 Co: CM0)
ARLSSON Hjalti Karlsson came first. Born in Reykjavik, Iceland, in 1967, he was
raised by his father, an executive with the National Icelandic Bank, and his
mother, a painter. “She always encouraged me to draw and take life drawing
classes, but I was never good at either.”
After spending his first year in college studying physics, he soon transferred to the
Reykjavik School of Visual Arts. Upon graduation he took time off from art and worked
as a driver, distributing candy. At one drop-off, he bought an instant lottery ticket and
suddenly found himself with an extra $13,000 (US) to spend. He decided to use this seed
money to apply to the Parsons School of Design in New York. He made the move
in 1989, and completed his bachelors of fine arts degree three years later.
ILKER Jan Wilker, born in 1972, grew up in Ulm, Germany, home of the
storied Hochschule für Gestaltung [the Ulm School of Design], founded
in 1953 as a school for radical modernism. By the time it closed in 1968, it had
already infused the city with its energy, providing an early but lasting influence on Wilker.
Following high school, Wilker joined forces with a friend to start the Büro für Alles
Kreative und Verrrückte—the Office for All Things Creative and Crazy. “We had all these
ideas, so we rented a very cheap place, bought a phone, a fax, and a Xerox machine,
and started going there every day. We did it to have a room and an address for our
ideas.” Wilker had created a prototype for his later collaboration with Karlsson. “We
represented musicians, took part in architecture competitions, organized events, and
designed a movable bar and a fitness obstacle course. We eventually designed logos,
posters, and CD covers as well as many, many more things.” Two years later, he decided
to get a serious education and enrolled in the architecture program at the Technical
University of Stuttgart. “I thought architecture would combine all the design fields, but it
didn’t.” He transferred to the State Academy of Fine Arts, majoring in graphic design.
AGMEISTER Meanwhile, Karlsson had wrapped up his degree at Parsons and
entered the work force, first as a designer at the mature-women’s magazine
Longevity, then as a freelancer. In 1996, he landed his dream job: He went to work
for Stefan Sagmeister [p. 42], who quickly became a mentor to Karlsson. They would
be a team for the next four years, riding the growing wave of Sagmeistermania together.
One coming from Iceland, the other from Germany, Hjalti Karlsson and Jan Wilker
met in New York.and decided to start a company together. Relying on clean
yet quirky designs and on the power.of English as a second language, they are
making.the world a little safer for designers with a sense of humor.
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