Sarah Illenberger: Playtime

Let me start by saying: Sarah Illenberger is a true source of inspiration. She not only strives to be a generalist by combining the art of illustration, graphic design and photography, but also constantly challenges herself in terms of materials and methods.

Sarah Illenberger, Foto © Gerhard Kassner

Her destiny was already decided, the moment she saw the light of day, as the daughter of a restaurant owner and jewelery designer. Little did she know, that the passion for food and design would follow her for her whole life and moreover become a big influence on her career.

Always inspired by people taking unconventional and fun approaches towards storytelling (starting with her dad and later Jacques Tati), she soon found her niche as a designer:

Sarah Illenberger

Sarah Illenberger

Sarah Illenberger is a multi-disciplinary artist based in Berlin working at the intersection of art, graphic design, and photography. With a focus on analog craftwork using everyday items, Sarah is renowned for creating vivid, witty images that open up new perspectives on seemingly familiar subjects. Her ability to transform ordinary materials into complex and unexpected visual experiences has been utilized to develop concepts for clients from the fields of culture and business in several countries. In her aim to explore the fertile overlap between art and design, she’s collaborated with numerous photographers and artists, and filled exhibition spaces with self-initiated projects in Paris, Tokyo, and Berlin.  (Text: Mary Scherpe)

“’Kruschtel Kruschtel’ and it’s magic!” (Kruschtel is a handy german expression meaning the act of rumaging through bric-a-brac)

How this works?

Transforming known objects into something new. Giving them a new meaning while creating beautiful visuals.

Luckily her job played well into Sarah’s passion for shopping. As a self-called nerd shopper, it’s not unlikely to find her exiting a hardware or grocery store with dozens of bags, leaving the store staff exhausted and unnerved. The numerous “Kruschtel” she accquired is then put together into an artwork of detail like you’ve never seen before.

Over the years of working for big and small, commercial and non-commercial projects, she has always managed to stay true to herself. She makes it hard for people to put her in a box and always reminds herself to keep loving the imperfection; even with growing budgets, expectations and popularity.

“Finding a good idea is like an orgasm, you can’t fake it!”

You get a sense of how much thought must have gone into the concept, although her illustrations may appear simple.
Finding that initial spark of inspiration is a common theme with designers, even though Sarah may rarely worry about this, she sums it up perfectly:

Thanks for giving us that spark and a little insight into your life and creative process.

Find more on Sarah Illenberger’s work at

Text — Marlene Schufferth