Temperówka has been in business since 2003. The Warsaw-based graphic design studio is run by Maria Bukowska and Justyna Kosińska, both of whom completed their studies in Graphic Arts at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. They received their diplomas from the poster design workshop run by Prof. Mieczysław Wasilewski.
The Warsaw-based graphic design studio is run by Maria Bukowska and Justyna Kosińska.
The name of the studio (lit. pencil sharpener in Polish) was an obvious choice when it came to emphasizing the designers’ feminist worldview. In Polish, the word is grammatically feminine. And it hones things, of course.
A common thread runs through Bukowska and Kosińska’s designs, namely a tendency to emphasize two-dimensionality. They rarely use spatial illusions or 3D techniques. For them, lines and carefully cut-out solid blocks of colour are essential. They hold Swiss and Dutch graphic design as a point of reference, but they also owe a great deal to the Polish school of poster design (e.g. their attitude to discipline). Other members of the Temperówka design team are Marcin Klinger and — until recently (from 2008-2012) — Iza Rogowicz, a graphic artist who graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Poznań. The designers insist that they get a lot more out of working as a team.
Even if one person is working on his or her own design, the others are always able to give advice during any stage of the process, says Justyna Kosińska. When I’m not making any progress, Maria will try to tell me in detail what’s not right, where I’ve gone wrong. The presence of another designer guarantees a fresh way of looking at something. Kosińska compares her work to that of a film editor. She loves to cut things — the more unnecessary elements cut, the better.
The studio was given its first important commissions to design programmes for performances at the National Theatre in Warsaw, and to produce repertorial booklets for the French Institute in Warsaw. Temperówka soon started to receive more and more commissions. To date, the studio’s body of work includes: branding for the Polish-German Year organised by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute; branding for a campaign promoting Gdańsk in its bid to become European City of Culture in 2016; designing a series of books about Polish theatre for the Z. Raszewski Theatrical Institute. The Temperówka design team worked on a commemorative collection of recordings to mark the two-hundredth anniversary of Chopin’s birthday (the collection was released by Agora S.A.). The studio designed the cover for an album released by Nowy Teatr; the album, entitled New Warsaw, features arrangements by Bartek Wąsik and performances by Stanisława Celińska and the Royal String Quartet. Each year the Temperówka studio designs sets for the Kwartesencja festival. The team also produced a set of product labels for Luks Pomada, a company which makes natural luxury preserves. In 2012, in conjunction with WWAA (an architectural company), Temperówka worked on the graphic design for the Warsaw under construction exhibition for the Museum of Contemporary Art.
In 2013 Temperowka won a bronze medal in the KTR competition for CD packaging for Lutosławski, made for the National Audiovisual Institute. Designers enclosed CDs in a cardboard box with a silver ridge Its insides shelter 6 smaller packages for CDs and accompanying books. Each cover is rendered in a different color, yet they act as a coherent whole thanks to abstract cloud-like or sound-like visualized motives decorating all of them. Smaller folders, once opened, reveal two pockets: one for CDs and one for booklets. The project is characterized both by its freshness and effortless elegance. Similar aesthetic code was used for another project of pocket guides, for the Theathre Institute. Combining white with coral and clear typography, they succeeded in creating a functional, readable product. Guides are additionally perforated in halves, one can detach them to create two smaller parts: one treating about Polish theathre history and one focused on theatre festivals.
Bukowska and Kosińska’s work has won a number of awards; in 2008, Temperówka was part of a group of the twelve best Polish graphic designers who were invited to design covers for monthly magazine Architektura. In 2009, the designers took part in an exhibition entitled Babski Dizajn (Women’s Design) at the Centre for Art and Enterprise at Cieszyn Castle. In 2010, Bukowska and Kosińska were invited to participate in an exhibition of contemporary Polish design entitled Eye on Poland which took place in Shanghai and Beijing.
What do the designers feel is their greatest achievement? They believe that it has been their ability to work for cultural institutions, such as Polish Radio (which has commissioned them to design sets for the Nowa Tradycja (New Tradition) festival for several years in a row). In 2013, Temperówka created an image campaign for Polish Radio Two. The designers say they have met many wonderful people who valued their professionalism:
They don’t interfere in our thought process. And that gives us artistic freedom.
Competition wins for their corporate identification projects (for Warsaw’s Ochota Theatre and the Stary Theatre in Lublin) have also given them immense satisfaction.
Bukowska and Kosińska are also active in the field of education. In 2011, Temperówka helped to organise a series of meetings between children and artists, as well as cultural workshops entitled Kulturalna Temperówka at Café Kulturalna in Warsaw. In 2012, they founded the Nie Zawsze Musi Być Chaos (There doesn’t always have to be chaos) Foundation, which worked with the Ochota Theatre to create the Kids vs. Artists series.
Our foundation operates in that space where music and graphic design meet, says Maria Bukowska. Since June 2013, together with Przemek Psikuta, we have been running a club-cum-café and a shop selling vinyl records (located at 19 Marszałkowska St.). We also hold exhibitions and meetings for graphic designers and musicians there. We want it to become a meeting point for the design community, a space which can be their ‘house of culture’.
“Tekstura Designu” (Design Texture), Municipal Gallery Arsenał, Poznan
“Design for freedom, freedom in design”
STGU exhibition, Warsaw
LIFE IN 3D. Art Terrarium”, BWA, Olsztyn
“Eye on Poland”, Shanghai
“Babski Dizajn” , Cieszyn
2 X HELVETICA
Autor: Dorota Jarecka, October 2013. Updated AM, May 2016.
English translation: Garry Malloy