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Constantin Demner, art director & designer at studioelastik

Constantin Demner, art director & designer at studioelastik

Published by Leonardo Calcagno

Who are you :

My name is Constantin Demner, I run a small design studio named I work internationally and have done so since 2001. When I decided to do my own thing I knew I didn’t want to be constrained to a specific place so I decided to package this into the name of my practice and ended up with the name studioelastik. It carries exactly what I want it to stand for — flexibility — in size and location. I also own a building in Vienna where artists and travelers live and work. We have two small extra apartments there that we sometimes let to artists in residence.

Your current job :

art director, designer, university lecturer & house owner.

In which city are you located?

My HQ is in Vienna. I like to be on the road a lot though.

A word to define what kind of worker you are :

I am pedantic about details but always end up incorporating a slight element of weird or wonky which makes the final outcome personal, honest and slightly different.

What tools are essential to your life (app, software, etc..)

Technology constantly changes and so do software and apps. I search for what I need in the moment and then stick to it till I find something better or drop it. Obviously, Adobe CC plays an important part – I have tried all sorts of alternatives but there is still nothing that can replace Photoshop or InDesign in my opinion, they remain industry standards. A sketch is a fun alternative for vector work but I still always end up using Illustrator.

What does your office space look like?

I have had all sorts of studios in the past but after taking over my grandparents house just outside the center of Vienna and spending a lot of time and energy turning it into a really special space, I figured that I don’t have the energy to look after yet another external space so I put my studio in my house and whenever in need for some fresh air and input I either go to a library, a co-working space or a good cafe or bar, or simply go traveling and take my work with me.

What kind of music do you listen when you are working?

Often client or print deadlines are on Mondays, so I really got used to working on Sundays. I have developed a ritual to listen to Gilles Peterson’s syndicated radio show Worldwide on local radio station FM4 which has been airing for the past 15 or so years each Sunday from 5-7pm. The timing of the show really suits me: I usually go for walks in the forest on Sundays and come back home to the show, hang around and clean my space for an hour or so and then start work till everything is done. I love the idea to get work done when everyone else rests and prepare for the week to come.

Do you have a way to organize your day to maximize your work?

In summer I try to wake up early, hang around in my garden, get organizational things like emails, phone calls, and general admin done and look after the things the house needs. Then when the weather is good I go swimming and come back to work in the afternoon. Whenever there are deadlines it can get late — in those cases, I try to get some rest outside at the river or lakes to not waste precious daylight. I used to function really well at night but this seems to fade now and I prefer to get up early, sometimes before sunrise — when I do that I often end up having achieved all I had to do before lunchtime.

What tips would you give to improve productivity?

Let go and switch to a different task when you are stuck. Write lists, keep a notebook. Schedule stuff into a calendar, it’s the only way to really get things done. Walks in nature at least once a week if not daily is gold. For me, everything has the right time and it’s a matter of realizing when the right time is for a specific task. Certain things go so much faster super early in the morning, others late at night when its dark and there are no distractions.

You’re better than your colleagues to :

Pretend to be a character from a Wes Anderson movie What is the best advice anyone has given you?

My mom once told me that it’s your right to sleep over a big decision. I couldn’t agree more.

What is your best tip for saving time?

I only ever lose time when I am not clear. So doing things that invoke clarity would be my tip to save time.

What is your routine start and end of the day?

I like to just look — at the horizon, the sky, the grass or even at a wall of books. I get ideas that way, find focus and reset my brain.

Aside from your computer and your phone, what gadget can you not you go without?

Gear in general. I like stuff that can be attached to other stuff or that I can use to attach things to each other. Tape, rope, glue, pins, ties. Oh and I love bags. In all shapes and sizes. My entire studio fits in a bag. I suck for gear and considering I move a lot I can’t really do without my backpack, my laptop, charger, a windproof lighter, a wind- and waterproof jacket, a hoody, a notebook and a good pen. I love pens, I think I have a pen fetish. Good thing that pens are work expenses for me.