Clio Hadjigeorgiou: The young, Lausanne-based graphic designer with a powerful portfolio

"Resist the temptation to conform to the prevailing trends and try to create unique and innovative designs," is the message Clio Hadjigeorgiou wants to send to professional graphic designers.

Despite her young age, Clio has a strong range of notable collaborations and projects in her portfolio. She has always had a very strong interest in the creative fields and this led her to study Illustration in the UK as well as Graphic Design in Switzerland.

Now based in Lausanne, Clio Hadjigeorgiou works as a freelance graphic designer. Among other things, she is involved in the design of books and magazines and has designed projects that highlight Cypriot culture, such as CYPRIOT SKETCH, as well as playing an important role in the design of the graphics for the International Festival Cyprus Film Days 2023.

Clio Hadjigeorgiou, in her interview with InBusinessNews, mentions the important milestones in her career and brings to the fore key issues that concern the field of graphic design.

What is your academic background and how did you decide to work in the sector?

I have always harboured a keen interest in the creative fields, including art, design, architecture, and fashion. The interplay between art and design has always fascinated me, prompting me to pursue my first degree in Illustration at the UAL: Camberwell in the UK. During my studies, I discovered a particular passion for book design and felt compelled to delve deeper into this area. This led me to develop a strong fascination with design and an understanding that graphic design encompasses much more than just marketing and advertising, which is a common misconception. Subsequently, I moved to Switzerland and pursued a degree in Graphic Design at the prestigious ECAL/École cantonale d'art de Lausanne. Following my studies, I worked as a teaching assistant for the Graphic Design department while also operating as a freelance graphic designer.

Which cooperations do you consider to be stand-outs in your portfolio so far?

  • CYPRIOT SKETCH is a bilingual book project that aims to bring the Cypriot dialect into contact with a broader and more international audience. Using three Cypriot sketches by Andreas Koukidis, the book employs a graphic and artistic approach to present the key cultural and linguistic elements of the Cypriot dialect. The goal of this project is not only to reveal the complexity of the Cypriot dialect to a global audience but also to promote a new teaching and academic understanding of linguistic analysis. The book was recognized with an award at the EBGE Greek Communication Design Awards in 2022 and was nominated for the Swiss Design Awards in both 2020 and 2021.
  • As co-editorial director designer for NU ICONS, an independent fashion magazine based in Zurich, I played a key role in defining the creative direction of the publication. Responsibilities included using typography, layout, and imagery to shape its visual aesthetic.
  • For the ETAT DE LIEUX project, I co-designed the visual identity for a collective exhibition of independent art spaces in Lausanne, Switzerland. The project was about creating a visual language that conveyed the spirit of the exhibition while maintaining a cohesive identity across various print and digital materials.
  • Finally, International Festival Cyprus Film Days 2023 was a project for which I designed the visual identity, catalogue and graphic elements for communication.

What do you consider to be some of your most significant upcoming cooperations and what are some of the ones you are working on right now?

I am currently involved in several upcoming and collaborative projects, including the rebranding and visual identity communication for the Locarno Film Festival's artist residency program, BASECAMP. In collaboration with another designer, we are working on both print and digital designs.

I am also freelancing for the Zurich-based studio, Atlas Studio, on an editorial book project related to architecture.

Additionally, I am working on the visual identity for SESSIONS "A programme of queer happenings" in both print and digital formats, in anticipation of their new upcoming project.

Finally, I am collaborating with the creative director and founder of Christine Kalia, a design studio that specializes in exploring spatial relationships between architectural, interior, and product design, to rebrand their website. These projects allow me to apply my design skills and experience to a variety of challenging and exciting contexts.

How did your cooperation with Cyprus Film Days come about and what was your precise role? What does this cooperation mean to you / what is its significance to you?

I had the honour of being invited to propose a concept for the new visual identity of a festival, working alongside my collaborator Lisa Rebeca. Our idea was centred around this year's theme, "WHAT NOW?", and aimed to highlight the crucial role of technology in the realm of cinema. Drawing inspiration from elements found in cinema both prior to and during the digital age, such as Eadweard Muybridge, green-screen techniques, and film grain, we used Artificial Intelligence to generate images in response to prompts that evoked historical cinematic references.

This project was truly a stimulating experience for me, one that has left me contemplating the possibility of returning to the island in the near future. It afforded me the opportunity to work alongside talented professionals in the Cypriot creative industry, collaborate on a significant cultural endeavor, and gain a deeper understanding of the mechanics of the local creative sphere.

What is your view of the industry in Cyprus compared to the rest of Europe (or indeed in Switzerland where you are based)?

It would be remiss to make direct comparisons between the Cypriot design industry and those of other countries, given the unique approaches and cultures that shape each. However, I can share my experience working abroad in places like Switzerland, where graphic design plays a significant role in the culture and there are ample opportunities for designers to work with an artistic approach. The industry there is much larger, with more opportunities for both print and digital design. That being said, I do see positive developments in the art and design culture in Cyprus, and more people are beginning to appreciate the field. Although I would love to return to Cyprus at some point, I do have a concern about the potential pressure to conform to mainstream Cypriot trends rather than prioritising originality in my work.

What inspires you and, generally, where do your ideas come from?

I find inspiration in almost everything, from taking long walks around the city, and museum visits, to browsing old bookstores and having conversations over coffee. In my work, I adhere to the philosophy that a strong concept is essential and that such concepts emerge through thorough research and observation. I believe that discussions are crucial to the creative process, and I draw much of my inspiration and ideas from engaging in meaningful conversations. Collaboration is key to my process, and I enjoy working with other artists and designers who bring a diverse range of perspectives to the table. To me, clients are not just business partners, but collaborators with whom I build lasting relationships founded on trust and mutual respect. Together, we create designs that have a deeper sense of purpose and meaning.

What is a dream project you would like to undertake in the future?

At present, I do not have a specific dream project in mind. However, I am enthusiastic about dedicating some of my time to locating a publisher based in Cyprus for my CYPRIOT SKETCH book.

My current goal is to explore opportunities to work between Cyprus and Switzerland. Both countries possess qualities that complement and enhance my professional pursuits, and I am convinced that working between them would provide a stimulating and productive environment for me.

Nowadays, there are a plethora of apps and design tools for processing photos and images. A lot of jobs now demand a command of Photoshop and similar programmes. Do you believe that these in some way ‘threaten’ the role of the graphic designer and the industry in general?

New technologies aim to improve the user experience and increase accessibility, making tools and technologies more widely available. As a professional designer, you can use new technologies to enhance your work and expand your skillset. While these technologies have made design tools more accessible to non-professionals, it's important to remember that professional designers possess unique skills, experience, and expertise that set them apart. By demonstrating their value, professional designers can establish themselves as essential partners in creating effective design solutions. Ultimately, the goal is to create a more inclusive society where everyone has access to the tools they need to thrive, and professional designers play a critical role in achieving this goal.

More generally, how do you see the future of the sector, especially in Cyprus, and what message would you like to convey?

As digital technology continues to evolve and permeate every aspect of our lives, the role of graphic design is also shifting in response. While traditional print media, such as books and magazines, are still important, the rise of digital media and the demand for websites and other online platforms has become increasingly prominent. As a designer, I recognise the importance of adapting to these changes. Whether it's designing a website, or a digital campaign, I believe that the future of graphic design lies in our ability to adapt to these emerging trends and technologies. This is especially relevant in Cyprus, where the design industry is still in its infancy and there is a growing need for skilled professionals who are able to harness the power of digital media to create engaging and effective visual experiences.

As a designer, I strongly believe that originality is essential in our work. It is crucial to resist the temptation to conform to mainstream trends and instead strive to create unique and innovative designs. It is important for designers to assert the value of their work and not let others underestimate it. In a world where technology and automation are becoming increasingly prevalent, it is vital for designers to maintain their creative spirit and continually push the boundaries of their craft. My message to the design community in Cyprus is to embrace their creativity, take risks, and be proud of their originality in their work. By doing so, we can create a vibrant and dynamic design culture on the island, and contribute to the global design community.

(Source: InBusinessNews. Click here to view the Greek-language version of this interview)

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