We treat our projects as if they were our own children, says the team of graphic designers from the purposely named Mamastudio. In the twelve years since the company’s inception, dozens of these children have been born; many of them have achieved renown and won numerous awards.
Mamastudio was established in 2001 on the initiative of three students from the Faculty of Graphic Arts at The Academy of Fine Art in Warsaw: Michał Pawlik, Magda Ponagajbo and Marcin René Wawrzkiewicz. All of them took a gamble: they quit their jobs at advertising agencies and corporations and set up their own studio. They completed their first projects from a basement in Warsaw’s Żoliborz district; today the company is based in the very heart of Warsaw. This location is important, in so far as the members of the Mamastudio team equally consider the city space of Poland’s capital a source of endless inspiration.
The company’s line-up has changed over the years: after a few years, co-founder Marcin René Wawrzkiewicz opted for a career as a freelancer; in 2009, Piotr Ręczajski, a specialist in brand management and a graduate of Warsaw University’s School of Management, took over as strategic director. Despite the changes in personnel (today the company’s core team comprises nine employees), Mamastudio’s approach to design remains the same. They write on their website: "We combine tradition and modernity, native influences and novel ways of thinking about graphic design and visual communication on a wider global level." Good designs should be able to engage emotionally with their audience, they add.
Design is the most accessible, attractive and effective way of communicating with the public sphere. It is the lingua franca of the 21st century. And we enjoy speaking it fluently, the team says of their work at Mamastudio.
The Warsaw studio works on branding strategies and designs corporate identities, logotypes and packaging. It has an impressive track record in working for large companies with diverse profiles, including the Ministry of Finance, banks, radio and television stations, household goods manufacturers, and companies producing beer and salt. The studio creates branding 'from scratch', revives corporate images, designs graphic materials for artists and institutions, and produces visual information systems. Mamastudio’s most renowned project, which garnered a whole host of awards (including the extremely prestigious international Red Dot Award), was the visual information system it created for the capital’s Copernicus Science Centre and the surrounding area. The studio was asked to create a system to facilitate movement through the building, which had to work in harmony with the characteristic architecture of the building… and it had to be cheap. So Mamastudio created site maps, information boards and signposts (often painted directly onto the wall) , all of them based on a system of simple, legible icons in a strictly uniform range of colours. Mamastudio is also responsible for a very successful project showcasing Polish culture — Midi-Midi Varsovie — at the Lille 3000 festival. For this, they transferred an entire milk bar to the French city, in which they served bar meals on tables covered with checked plastic tablecloths. The aim of the enterprise was to present this unique morsel of Polish culture in its sensual entirety: through smell, taste, sound and décor.
Mamastudio has a team that really does work together. Perhaps one proof of this is the company’s tradition of shared meals: each day a different member of the team prepares lunch for the others. Before embarking on a design project, the team analyses the context of the brand and selects the best ideas for further development. Another remarkable tradition, in place since 2002, is the 'family' picnic to celebrate the studio’s birthday. This outdoor event attracts hundreds of people each year, the studio’s friends and clients and ordinary Varsovians alike.
Author: Anna Cymer, August 2013
English translation: Garry Malloy
Read more at: www.mamastudio.pl (Polish and English)
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