Studio Last’s Matthias Last on the importance of visual identity and the pursuit of individuality

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Elliott Moody
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Studio Last’s Matthias Last on the importance of visual identity and the pursuit of individuality

Studio Last is a multidisciplinary Berlin-based creative studio that was founded in 2012 by Matthias Last. Their work fuses form and function to deliver holistic visual identities, publications, websites and more for clients in the arts and culture scene. Together with Sarah Bernauer, Matthias is also the founder of Blake & Vargas – a Kreuzberg-based space that hosts artistic residencies and publishes limited editions alongside an exhibition programme of screenings, performances, talks and readings.

EM Hi Matthias. Can you give us an introduction to Studio Last?

ML Studio Last is a multidisciplinary design studio located in Berlin, Kreuzberg. We are working primarily in the fields of media, art, culture and lifestyle. Our work focuses on the development and redesign of print and online media.

EM Why did you decide to rebrand the studio in late 2020?

ML In all studios, there is always a shift in content – especially during the pandemic. Since our founding, we have regularly relaunched our CI/website every two to three years. The appearance and content of a website should always be scrutinised, because future clients and interested parties see us in the way we present ourselves. So it is all the more important to always be up-to-date. It’s also exciting to reinvent yourself a little every now and then, to recapitulate the past and adapt to the new.

Studio Last’s Matthias Last on the importance of visual identity and the pursuit of individuality

The design should capture the zeitgeist and adapt to the target group.

EM What do you think is important for a studio’s identity to communicate?

ML As the studio’s self-image, the visual identity should arouse curiosity about the studio, it should convey its values and goals and clearly position itself. Ideally, it captures the aesthetics of the work, has a high recognition value and clearly differentiates itself from competitors with a consistent and recognisable identity as a unique selling point. The design should capture the zeitgeist and adapt to the target group. One question must always be asked: who do I want to reach with the design?

EM How has the studio evolved since you began in 2012?

ML In the very beginning, Studio Last consisted of just me, but now I work with changing teams on a project-by-project basis. We never wanted to become bigger than we are now: we are a small main team, supported by interns and a programmer. We used to focus on graphic and editorial design in music and fashion, magazines were our biggest topic. While now we extended our work into the art and culture sector. Meanwhile, another very important angle for us is creating visual identities. We try to keep the balance and work with print and web simultaneously.

EM Have you had to adapt your approach and process now that you do more digital work?

ML The creative approach is the same, but the process is different. Digital design consists of more layers, involving different techniques and ways of thinking.

EM How would you define the aesthetic of the studio’s work?

ML Keep it simple and to the point: content plays a very important role for us. The level beneath the surface. Clear, content-based design with a cutting edge, sleek elegance, and a hint of the unexpected. Modern and at the same time timeless.

Studio Last’s Matthias Last on the importance of visual identity and the pursuit of individuality
Studio Last’s Matthias Last on the importance of visual identity and the pursuit of individuality
Studio Last’s Matthias Last on the importance of visual identity and the pursuit of individuality

EM If you could only show one piece of work, what would it be and why?

ML I always put my heart and soul into all my projects. So I guess it’s always the one I’m working on at the moment that’s most important to me.

EM Do you have a dream client?

ML Of course, we are happy about any new collaboration that gives us artistic and creative freedom, where we can sometimes depart from familiar practices and consider new approaches. We would love to work with a large cultural institute. We value the work in the field of art and culture very much. 

We value the work in the field of art and culture very much. 

EM What is the relationship between Studio Last and Blake & Vargas, and how do you balance running the two alongside each other?

ML Definitely a symbiotic relationship between art and design. While we work more commercially with Studio Last, Blake & Vargas is also a vessel for experimentation and collaboration. It gives us the opportunity to develop our design language and content interests independently of commissioned work. In this way, we can draw on both potentials and broaden our horizons in our daily work.

Studio Last’s Matthias Last on the importance of visual identity and the pursuit of individuality

EM Can it be challenging to give time to Blake & Vargas, considering the time needed to run the studio?

ML Blake & Vargas is a joint project between myself and my partner Sarah Bernauer. It can be very demanding, but it is also our passion and therefore a very rewarding challenge.

EM Lastly, what would you like to see more and less of in the design industry?

ML I would like to see less copy/paste, less blind following of trends and more individuality and seeking and pursuing your own vision of design.

Graphic Design

Studio Last

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