Design Legends ("DL") had the distinct honour to interview legendary designer Thomas von Kummant ("TVK") for their original perspective and innovative approach to design as well as their creative lifestyle, we are very pleased to share our interview with our distinguished readers.
TVK : After graduating from "Design School Munich" in Munich, I started my professional career as a freelance illustrator in 1998 in the community studio "Die Artillerie" together with 8 other freelance illustrators and graphic designers. I started working for advertising agencies, publishers and film productions and found my love for visual storytelling. In 2012, together with Benjamin von Eckartsberg, I started to develop our own story GUNG HO as a comic series for the Swiss publisher Edition Paquet for the French market. The A'Design Award winning image shows a cover illustration of our series.
TVK : I love the synergy of narrative and aesthetics. This passion took me rather late, but with great force.
TVK : So I decided to become a visual storyteller and create the Design for the stories on my own.
TVK : I´m working on designs for stories told in movies, animation movies, magazines, books, or comic books.
TVK : As a young designer, you have to accept that frustrations are the most precious moments, as they are a sign of your progress.
TVK : A good designer can create great design. A great designer creates great design with ease.
TVK : As a visual storyteller, I would say a good design becomes a really good design when it not only supports a story, but gives it a very unique meaning.
TVK : Good design supports the tone of the story and can add many layers to it visually. If a story has a good design, you only need to see any image out of it and you know immediately that it can only be an image from that very story.
TVK : It's not a question of time, but whether a story fascinates me, the framework and the environment fit.
TVK : How should I know?
TVK : I am constantly trying to evolve and reinvent myself so that I always find fresh approaches in my designs.
TVK : Carter Goodrich, Peter de Seve, Eyvind Earle, Alberto Mielgo, Kazuo Oga, Hans Bacher, Bastien Vives, Mike Mignola, David Prudhomme.... amazing Designers for storytelling, just to name a few.
TVK : I think the design for our story GUNG HO is my most successful so far. It supports the story visually on many levels and when you see a picture from it, you know it must be from GUNG HO. Allerdings arbeite ich gerade an einer neuen Geschichte und denke das Design wird besser.
TVK : They must feel a deep love for design, constantly move and reinvent, but still stop and listen, be open to technology, do their homework on research and never stop learning.
TVK : I would also enjoy being a cameraman or director.
TVK : For me, design is an art form that gives a story its own visual meaning.
TVK : As far as storytelling in comics is concerned, there are early role models like Regis Loisel, Miguelanxo Prado, David Prudhomme, Mike Mignola, to name a few. Interacting with colleagues in my community studio or directors on film projects was an invaluable pool of inspiration and creative-constructive feedback. But my biggest supporters, besides my wife, were my colleague Benjamin von Eckartsberg and my publisher Pierre Paquet.
TVK : I welcomed frustrations as a sign of my evolution. As I continue to experience these frustrations, this process is still ongoing.
TVK : There is no general tip for this, every designer has to find that out for themselves.
TVK : There are several projects coming up. I'm currently working on an international project together with the French author Fabien Vehlmann, which will be very exciting. Benjamin von Eckartsberg and I will definitely design something new. I have also been asked to direct an animated film. If that works out it will be a big new step for me.
TVK : Stories are a way to tap into the human condition. Stories can inform, explain, teach, manipulate, or entertain, triggering feelings and reactions. Making a story visual can help convey it. My main goal is to add an additional layer to it.
TVK : The inclined comic reader probably expects a new story from me drawn in the same style as GUNG HO. But since I want to give each story its own style, it will be different.
TVK : We are currently in contract negotiations for a film adaptation of GUNG HO. I am very excited to be a part of the filming process.
TVK : I worked on GUNG HO for 10 years and created 420 comic pages, 15 cover illustrations and countless advertising layouts.
TVK : The story is always the beginning for me. and the tone of the story. After that, I go looking for inspiration and start researching until a concept is worked out. Then the design process begins.
TVK : Body and soul must be in harmony.
TVK : I work with Photoshop and sometimes with Blender or SketchUp.
TVK : I would like to meet my younger self and give myself some thoughts, however I am not sure I would listen to myself.
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