Lately we were fortunate enough to add an Xtian Miller print to our Editions series. He is a graphic designer to be reckoned with: able to churn out beautiful and inspired poster designs with force and elegance. There is seemingly endless creativity radiating from Xtian and an authentic artistic vibrancy runs throughout all of his projects. You can see this energy in the works of Signal A, his commerce project, or his Sonnet and ARC series posters. After talking to him it's clear that he's an all round creative enthusiast, and has the curiosity and thoughtfulness that graphic designers need in order to be fantastic visual translators. Read what he has to say about his life and work, and then check out his beautiful print in our online store here.
What was your introduction to graphic design?
I come from a creative family; my dad was an architect, now a fictional writer, and I’m the youngest of several siblings who are all creative in one way or another—particularly music, so I guess it’s no surprise I ended up pursuing a creative subject. My first major introduction to graphic design was at age 11, and a competition at my school to design graphics for their official merch. Looking back at it now, I doubt I would’ve entered the competition if it was optional, but it was mandatory for the entire grade to enter, and being presented as the winner in front of the entire school definitely left a mark on me! Subsequent involvement in design-related disciplines in my teens, as well as designing the odd posters for friends and bands eventually led me to the decision to study Graphic Design at university, and I haven’t turned back since.
What was the inspiration behind your Doppler-Effekt poster?
It was inspired by the actual phenomena, which I remember learning about a long time ago and thinking it was really interesting. I thought it could be fun to interpret in a visual sense. The best real-world example is the sound waves from a siren on a moving vehicle passing a stationary observer. When I designed the poster (around 2018), I was starting to experiment with combining op art with traditional Swiss layout and typographic styles, and trying to go for something that despite obviously being still, also seemed like it could have a kinetic energy and movement to it. If you look up Doppler Effect on Wikipedia, there’s a great little animation on there that shows what happens to the model when it goes supersonic, and that really became the basis of inspiration for the main visual in the poster. When I learned about Christian Doppler—the Austrian who discovered and coined the term—it seemed appropriate to incorporate an excerpt in German with the original German spelling for the title.
What projects are you working on at the moment?
Last year I launched a self-initiated brand called SIGNAL A, which is essentially an evolving collection of some of my best graphic artworks. The website currently sells a mix of posters and tees, but that could expand in the future. It’s been the result of experimenting with typography, form, and layout for the better part of three years! That is still my main project outside of my day job of interactive design, and I’ve recently taken a break from the project to put some thought into where to take it next, as well as explore some new ideas which I can’t wait to share soon. Aside from that, I’ve also been collaborating with various parties in the industry and I’m hoping to appear in a book or two, and even an exhibition in the near future.
What inspires you?
I get inspired by the simple fact I can wake up everyday and have the opportunity to design something new. It’s a privilege to be able to find time, space, and resources to create something and then share it with the world. As long as you enjoy it, and create what you love, that’s all that matters. It’s a bonus if it appeals to others. I’ve also learned that just getting started might be the best way to inspire yourself and overcome creative block. I’ve rarely been able to dream up a design entirely in my head and then the outcome matched it perfectly. Most of the time you end up surprising yourself with the outcome, and that has granted me enough confidence over the years to just start somewhere and see where it ends up. I also have to add that music has been extremely invaluable and can get me in the right mindset for designing. There is no specific genre that does it for me, as long as it spurs me on in an emotional sense! Maybe it’s just me, and I realize music is a personal thing, but it seems to have the effect of heightening your sense of purpose or dictate how you feel about a given piece as it evolves.