Design

Craig and Karl x Kiehl's

December 05, 2014

We had a lively interview with creative duo Craig and Karl in our December print issue and were happy to see their work shining in the windows of Kiehl's. They've designed the classiest holiday packaging you'll find this year. The following is an excerpt from our December 2014 interview with the long distance collaborators.

Kristin Farr: Do you consider yourselves artists or designers, or do you prefer no
labels?

Craig Redman: We see ourselves as both. I think there was a stigma for a while, and I suppose it still hangs around, that you need to focus on one or the other, but we aren’t drawn exclusively to one field, so why not play in multiple? Someone like Maurizio Cattelan has an incredible art career while successfully running his Toiletpaper studio, and younger artists like Ryder Ripps and Jonathan Zawada are doing the same. It frees us up to do whatever we want to do—paint, draw, design, or create products—without limitations.

Is it just a coincidence that you both love color?

Karl Maier: We both grew up on the east coast of Australia, albeit different towns, and Australia in the ‘80s was a very bright, very kitschy place, so this probably explains where our obsession with color comes from. We have been playing with color since the beginning of our careers, so we’ve become pretty practiced at what works and what doesn’t. We have a relatively consistent palette, mostly composed of pretty difficult, lurid colors, and we enjoy the challenge of figuring out how to make one sit with another. We are both relatively cynical so maybe our over-the-top use of color is a projection of our secret optimistic side.

How do you describe your visual language?

KM: We aim to create work that is often filled with simple messages executed in thoughtful and humorous ways—to say more with less. We usually try to code our work with a message that perhaps isn’t initially evident but on second look becomes clear. As for patterns, they give us an opportunity to add texture into our work and also allow us to play with a weird sense of scale: a large pattern next to a smaller, fussy pattern can create an interesting dialogue.

Read more about Craig and Karl in the December issue of Jux and visit CraigandKarl.com.