Florian Kowatz & KR8 bureau: What I love about the job is not creating logos, but creating worlds

Meet kr8 bureau & Florian Kowatz!

Florian was born in Munich in 1981 and has worked in Branding and Design for over 20 years. Along the way, he has worked in international agencies and companies in all fields — TV, Print, Production, Development, Fashion. He founded KR8 as a design studio and network in 2016. The home base for the studio is in Vienna, a second base is set up in Tokyo.

This interview is a part of the Austria Design Map  – a project that tells stories of the Austrian Design scene. The project is done by Brainster Alumni as a part of the Brainster learning-by-doing curriculum. Through this hands-on approach, students get real-life experience from working on products that come to life. 

Mihai Delapeta: Designing products that have the users' best interest at heart | UX/UI Design

Hi Florian, thanks for being a guest on our project! First of all, can you tell us a bit about your current focus? What are you and kr8 bureau working on right now? 

Hi! Thanks for having me. Our focus is on design and brand strategy. We help our clients place their products, services, and projects by creating meaningful dialogues through messaging and design. This year brings a lot of new challenges. A huge part of our work, regardless of what we do for clients, is always a reflection of our own working methods. We currently try to break our mental boundaries to create new experiences on many levels. We want to perceive branding and design from an everchanging perspective where we create a happening, instead of static systems. So, some of our current brands don’t even have logos, to begin with. We try to keep it flexible, and fun. Our last jobs were the Identity of an international yoga brand and an adaptogen health drink.

Can you share with us some of the projects you are most proud of, and why?

Over the last two years, we worked on a perfume for one of our main clients. It’s always been his biggest dream to catch his memory of walking the wine hills in spring. We collaborated with Alexander Lauber (Wiener Blut) and Nathalie Feisthauer (LAB Scent Paris) and created a very folktale inspired storyline. Working with this concept a handmade packaging, artworks and even music emerged. I love that we created this dreamlike world around the scent, something you can completely emerge into. This is basically what I love about our job: Not creating logos, but creating worlds with their own set of rules, emotions, sound, and visuals.

Being a designer means constantly seeking inspiration everywhere around you. What hobbies/interests inspire you the most in your work? 

That’s a tough question, and not easily answered. The brain works in so many different ways. I think one inspiration is the level of method-work quality that you set yourself out to. That you will get from your colleagues in the creative world or in the art world. Then, for me, it has always been stories, fantasies, feelings, nostalgia. My brain works it over to colours, shapes, words, and sounds. Then, it’s interaction. It’s the idea of action/reaction: If we do that, will they react this way? To me, those things come together when I go running. My brain picks all impressions and crafts ambitions, visuals, sounds, drama. Almost like a play you would watch at the theatre. 

What are your favorite industries/market segments/brands to design for?

I love working on cultural things. Something that allows you a deep dive. Also, food, which always should have its own culture. I love trying to shape something complex, something people have a hard time wrapping their heads around. It also always is a moral question: If a job would produce waste, unfair work, or pollution, if the outcome is unnecessary or redundant to our world, I wouldn’t take on the commission.

The design world is one big community of interconnected creatives. How has the design community contributed to your agency (knowledge, opportunities) and vice-versa?

A lot really! First, when I started I sorta felt threatened by a lot of awesome creatives. I think working in the creative world you cannot not doubt yourself. It’s always a fight inside you going like “Am I good enough? — How will I ever get there? — Will I be able to live off of what I do?” … when I started to collab and converse with fellow creatives, either type designers, motion artists, or other art directors, I learned that we all have the same thoughts. Through that, I learned that we need to support each other in any way we can. I have created some awesome friendships and a big love for the community.

What is an insight you can share with us from running a creative studio in Austria?

What I learned is that you need to know who you are and what you want to do. Do you want to do design? Advertising? Strategy? A lot of people will understand what advertising is. But when you say “brand strategy” you will mostly get the answer “Oh! Logos!”. As a studio, you should work on developing your style. The best scenario to me is that you can be recognized by your quality of work and style but still individually fulfil your client’s needs. Also: Don’t be too cheap or you will attract the wrong crowd and harm other creatives.




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