INTERVIEWED BY Michaela Stehr
Haven’t heard of Know Your Stuff? It’s the brainchild of local designer Jefferson Loffler. Here he gives us some insight into his quirky infographic-inspired brand.
How did Know Your Stuff come about?
It was definitely an organic process. I started out with a furniture designer friend of mine and we were looking for a way to work together – poster prints seemed like a logical first step. It started out as a purely typographic exercise, but our schedules meant it was difficult to find the time to work together, so the project fell on the back-burner for a while.
When I picked it up again on my own I had been inspired by a lot of Pinterest imagery, and at the time was obsessed with the NATO Phonetic Alphabet for some reason, so I started toying with a visual representation of that. Once I had a version of the Alphabet I started to think about other “collections of things” and the series fell into place after that. Most infographics are related to a specific topic and I felt that making a collection of collections as prints was a strong collectables concept. After the Phonetic Alphabet I added the Beef Cuts and Knives and then added ideas as I went along. Not all my attempts have made it to print but it’s definitely an expanding collection.
What do you love about the infographic style?
I’ve always been fascinated by iconography and the Swiss/international typographic style, so it was a natural progression for me. I love order, geometry and simplicity. I’ve taken quite a minimalist approach so far, which I feel has helped to keep a consistent feel to the project. It’s a great platform to build upon or even take away from. There is a great quote by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (who wrote The Little Prince), which is “Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to remove.”
How do you come up with ideas for your prints?
I tend to focus on themes that resonate with me but as it’s a commercial venture I do focus on creating work that I think people have a strong connection with, like Know Your Coffee and Know Your Bicycles. The collection encompasses a broad array of topics about everyday life, objects and experiences and therefore everyday is a constant source of inspiration. People love to give me ideas too and I definitely want to do some local Cape Town and Mzansi themes and maybe something to do with my cats. I work as a freelance graphic designer/art director, so it’s a bit of a balancing act to find the time for new ideas, but I hope to release some new designs in the new year.
Which print is your favourite, and why?
I go through phases. The Phonetic Alphabet I love, as it was the initial catalyst piece, but my favourite is the Collective Nouns 1 & 2 diptych. I love words and grammar, it’s fun and playful and I think it looks really beautiful. When working on a creative piece, whether it’s music, art or poetry, I find that the one you are working on at that moment is your favourite so far… until the next one of course…
Do you have any exhibitions and collaborations in the pipeline?
No exhibitions yet – the collection literally launched a few weeks ago and I don’t feel there is enough work for an exhibition, but I have been collaborating with a number of my retailers which has resulted in new work. I began with six prints when I started talking to retailers and now have 13, which has been an incredibly rewarding experience.
Where can people get hold of your work?
There’s a list of stockists on the website and selected prints from the art series can be found at Cape Town retailers including Quirky.Me (Constantia Village,The Old Biscuit Mill and V&A’s Watershed), Haas (Buitenkant Street), SAM (Bree Street), Stable (Loop Street) and Nap Living (Cape Quarter).