Lisa Guedel-Dolle

This ECAL graduate displays a fine understanding of typographic print design alongside a determination to make self-initiated projects a core part of her practice.

How would you describe your work?

With a strong focus on printed matter, I aim to design conceptual and sophisticated projects through an experimental use of typography and image composition.

My working method is to create layouts entirely generated by the content. Every choice has to be logical and legitimate. If I am asked about a design detail, I want to be able to respond with a rationale that makes sense. While following strict typographic rules, I try to create expressive and vibrant publications. Clearness and readability are as important as originality and aesthetic sensibility.

Because I see the graphic designer as a bridge between people, I have developed a strong interest in the social and cultural sectors. I want my work to take part in the life of the city I am living in through its modest contributions to the spread of culture and ideas.

You studied at Ecole cantonale d'art de Lausanne (ECAL), what's the course like there and what have you taken from it?

ECAL seems to be the perfect school for those who want to learn the essence of graphic design – typography, grids, typesetting, etc. It remains a small public art school where you can easily interact with students of all disciplines. During three intense years you learn almost all the basic design rules that allow you to develop your own practice and personal interests.

I believe ECAL owes its reputation to its professors. Besides being renowned professionals, they have always treated us with respect and consideration, which is extremely important in developing self-confidence and a desire for personal success. Ludovic Balland and Gilles Gavillet were the two most important figures in my education at ECAL. They did more than teach design techniques and rules, they taught me how to approach a subject with rigour, accuracy and intelligence.

Thanks to ECAL director Alexis Georgacopoulos, I also had the wonderful experience of moving to Hong Kong last November, where I still am, for a design residency at HKDI (Hong Kong Design Institute) with photographer Anaïs Boileau and product designer Ulysse Martel.

What are you working on now?

My first professional project will be published in one month. It's a publication made in collaboration with Parallel Lab, a Swiss architecture practice based in Hong Kong, about a growing group of hikers and elderly people who have chosen the site of Ducking Hill in Hong Kong as their preferred zone for early morning exercise, gatherings and silent contemplation. The group has gradually implemented a series of informal installations including shelters, stairs and rubbish bins. This project hopes to raise the government’s and public’s awareness of the value of this unique place.

Your portfolio includes some self-initiated projects, is this a direction you would like to continue in?

To me it’s a necessity to initiate my own projects in parallel to designing for other people. I think that creating books from start to finish – being the writer, photographer and graphic designer – is something very important for personal development. One of my career goals is to design some books where my name is not only in the colophon but also on the cover.

What's next?

I recently started two new projects with fellow ECAL graduate graphic designer, Inès Dal Soglio.The first one is a professional project for the Swiss-Dutch Paris-based artist Soizic Stokvis, for whom we’re creating a monograph. The second one is a self-initiated book about the work of Hong Kong photographer Chan Wai Kwong. His dense black and white photographs of Hong Kong daily life portray a unique and truly authentic vision of the city. This great photographer isn't yet known out of Asia, but we hope this book could help bring his work to Europe. I am also currently redesigning a school project Rosie Ruiz Shortcuts to Fame, which should soon be published by Motto Distribution.

In July I will leave Hong Kong to settle in Paris and hopefully continue to work as an independent graphic designer.