Jeremy Kunze, Yes & No
After a couple of weeks focusing on our ModMag speakers, today we return to a more regular schedule and meet Jeremy Kunze, art director of London-based arts/culture mag Yes & No. Jeremy helped launch the magazine while a designer at Pentagram; he’s since left to start his own studio but still looks after the magazine.
Tell us about your typical Monday journey to work
Usually it starts by being pulled back from the door by my two kids who are still too young to grasp the concept of me going to ‘work’. I pedal, not a big distance from Peckham to the studio in Elephant & Castle.
Describe the state of your desk and what you can see in your office
Organised chaos at the moment. Outside I see some windows, a creeper plant and a Cleanovation van.
Which magazine do you first remember?
I think Mad Magazine, but I think I was a little too young to know what it was about, I just liked the Mad fold-in’s at the back.
The one that really grabbed me though was this cover of Todd Swank for Transworld Skateboarding taken by Grant Brittain in 1987, David Carson was the Art Director at the time (obviously I didn’t know that when I was eight!)
Which magazine matters to you the most right now?
I recently bought Zoetrope: All Story. They have a guest designer each issue and I particularly wanted this one as I liked the photo essay by Nick Cave. Other ones that are usually found lying around the studio and at home are: Bad Day, Luncheon, The Gentlewoman, Kid’s wear, Apartamento, Modern Matter.
Can you describe your magazine in three words?
Individualism, Diversity, Non-conforming.
How have you found the shift from working at Pentagram to going solo with your own studio?
Exciting, hard work, hectic, stressful, challenging and fun. I loved my time at Pentagram, I met some lovely people there and I miss them very much, but it felt like the right time for a change.
Domenic Lippa was very supportive so that helped me on my way. I was then lucky enough to have a few recommendations and things flowed from there. The creative side of things, meetings with clients is what I enjoy. The most difficult part is juggling everything else, but I like to keep busy.
Do you work remotely from the Yes & No editorial team, or more closely?
I work remotely from the team but I’m in contact with editor Cassius Mathias each week. It’s a good relationship where he trusts me, and I trust him.
The design of the magazine is a fascinating combination of bold typography and gentle photography. Is it hard to balance the two?
Thanks! Not really, it’s what I’ve learnt to do, trust my gut type of thing, but I probably don’t know what I’m doing sometimes! What excites me about working on Yes & No are the interesting and varied articles we're working with. For example, in the next issue we have a photographic essay of Crimea shot by Brigitte Lacombe, then there is an interview with the amazing Ryuichi Sakamoto and his relationship with Moog synthesisers and artwork features by Luigi Ghirri and Andrew Grassie. It’s varied so the design (hopefully) supports that.
What other projects are you working on currently?
At the moment I’m working on the exhibition graphics for a photography exhibition at Fotografiska in Stockholm. I also design a lot of the exhibition graphics for Spyscape, which is a new spy museum in New York designed by Adjaye Associates. I’m working on a large book for the Chinese film director Wong Kar-Wai, and another one for the artist Tanya Ling then there is some beauty packaging and branding. Being a new studio, I feel quite fortunate to be working with these people.
What’s going to be the highlight of the week for you?
Moving to Brighton, I’m looking forward to it. Being Australian it’s going to be nice to be near the sea again.
What will you be doing after this chat?
Have a coffee. Then either catch up on emails or start designing depending on how I feel after the coffee.