What did you want to become when you were a child?
An architect! When I was in primary school I already knew that I really wanted to become an architect. Therefore I went to an art school, similar to my high school, and I studied architecture for 3 years. My models, visuals and drawings were really, really good – I always loved drawing – but my math was really, really bad. It was bad enough that they advised me not to continue with architecture. Luckily I was introduced to graphic design by the mother of a friend of mine who was teaching typography and that is how I started doing graphic design.
What makes you different?
I work very intuitively. Other studios do a lot of research and from time to time I also do that, but mostly it just comes to my mind. What really drives me is intuition. In my work I am always trying to combine illustration and typography. I don’t want to say I am different or better than this or that – I am just who I am. I just want to be free.
What kind of work, or which projects, would you reject? What’s your No-go?
I say “No” to jobs where I feel like a toolbox – if I’m supposed to not give any real input. Even though the client has really good taste, if I get the feeling that the client would limit me in being creative then I don’t do it – this is the only thing actually. It is really important for me to connect to the client, feel that they know me, and that they understand me as a person. If I don’t get that feeling then I would rather not do that job.
What triggered you to start your own studio?
I was working for an agency and I was feeling completely blocked creatively. It was not the right place for me. I was young and I realized at this company I simply couldn’t be myself. Aside from the full-time job at this agency, I was doing a lot of freelance work and side projects. This work grew quite naturally up to a point where I decided to do this full-time.
Stephanie Specht lives and works in Antwerp.