The Netherlands might be below sea level, but it’s pretty high up when it comes to design. Inspired by the 20th-century movements, the designs of graphic designer and illustrator Lucky Dubz Trifonas, combine future elements to revolutionise the design world today. He offers us a sneak peek into his world of design.

LuckyTrifonas, 20th-century
Real Tone Records
LuckyTrifonas, 20th-century
Benji B.

CG: Most of your designs are built around a ‘face’. Any reason why the face is the centre of your design?

LD: Yes, The human face and body (in combination with typography) is one of the biggest challenges for me to work on. It works for me because it enables me to impart my soul into my design. The face in my work represents the human soul. I try to create the face as though staring you in the eye so that a strong connection can be established with the viewer.

LuckyTrifonas, 20th-century
LuckyTrifonas, 20th-century

CG: Your designs seem to be very loud and expressive. Is that your design style? What do you always try and communicate through your designs?

LD: I used to do a lot of graffiti back in the days and the colours I use, especially the complimentary ones, descend from that era. Call it an old habit. It helps me fuse a bit of myself even in my commercial projects where I am always telling the story of the client, or the story I want him to tell. In my free work, for example, Donutboy, I like to visualise social criticism, dark humor, and rebellious yet justified views. But I also like to work with darker colours, depending on what mood I want to communicate.

LuckyTrifonas, 20th-century
Black & White
LuckyTrifonas, 20th-century
Nouvelle Donuts

CG: What local inspirations do you incorporate in your designs? Any foreign inspirations involved?

LD: My designs are inspired by the early 20th-century movements such as Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Bauhaus, futurism, and pop art. As I mentioned above, I used to observe graffiti and street art when I was younger. I always tried not to look very deep at every work as I wanted to avoid possible unconscious rip offs. It’s important to constantly develop and evolve style with every project.

LuckyTrifonas, 20th-century
Dance Release
LuckyTrifonas, 20th-century
Strange Fruit

CG: You seem to make extensive use of bright colours and patterns. Would your designs mean something different in black and white?

LD: Well, the concept and meaning would remain the same. However, if you remove the colour then you are removing the emotional response from it. Not to say that black and white don’t evoke any emotions. Design in black and white enables one to see the pure form without any colourful tricks or deceptions. I have recently started an illustrated black and white type project called AlphaBetty where I illustrate all 26 letters as representing a girl’s name.

LuckyTrifonas, 20th-century
LuckyTrifonas, 20th-century
Got Me Puzzled

CG: How would you describe design culture in Netherlands as compared to the rest of the world?

LD: Holland has a very high design standard. Especially when it comes to typography and graphic design. Nowadays, old fashion and the traditional forms (i.e. 20th-century) are being pushed back to make room for modern beautiful forms and shapes. You could say it’s a design revolution that’s taking place due to the multi cultural society and its diversity. Especially in Rotterdam where my studio is based.

LuckyTrifonas, 20th-century
Donutboy Worldwide. Ain’t no half steppin’
LuckyTrifonas, 20th-century
Footstool for crazy feet

CG: As a designer, are you motivated by the past or inspired by the future? How much study goes into your designs before it actually arrives at a final stage?

LD: I always try to mix my 20th-century inspired designs with future elements to bring an eclectic mix. When creating a design, I always start at the drawing board and sketch for many hours till I find the right shape and form. This is followed by outlining the artwork and scanning it so that I can colour and trace the design on the computer. It’s a good feeling to see a handmade design with a powerful outline, especially with faces and typography.

The colouring of the artwork is the most time consuming and on an average, it takes 2 to 4 days to complete a design. For example, the cover design for this issue took me 4 days. I experimented with syrup on paper to find the right form and shape for the letter ‘g’ and redesigned it in Illustrator. The letter rests on mud and grass, accentuating its shape and representing the floating world. The letter ‘g’, which was coloured using Photoshop and Illustrator, represents the river Ganga, that is a lifeline for millions of Indians who live along its course and depend on it for their daily needs.

LuckyTrifonas, 20th-century
LuckyTrifonas, 20th-century
Colour the World

Published in Issue 19

A typography special, made up of not only Indian type designers or designers whose first love is type, but also few very talented international designers who open a totally new playground with sharing their insights and inspirations. This issue has exclusive interviews with Lucky Dubz Trifonas from Netherlands, Indian UI & type designer Sabareesh Ravi and Shiva Nallaperumal, who believes, type designers are the material providers to all the creative professionals. Also, includes a special making of Nirlep rebranding done by Elephant Design and an interaction with the ace product designer Aman Sadana.


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Germany is renowned for its strong hold on history and culture. And amidst this inspirational setting, Martin Grohs, a self-taught Graphic Designer, creates concepts and not artwork. “It’s satiating to create work that encourages viewers to think about the topic.” he says. How you show it is important but what really matters is what you’re showing. He talks to Creative Gaga to throw some light on his dark mysterious designs.

CG. Your designs are dark, mysterious and a great experience. What vision, inspirations and philosophies do you incorporate in your artwork?

MG. Yes, most of my work is partially dark. But a lot of it depends majorly on the mood I’m in. I love dark images because it’s in this darkness where colours can live. I find inspiration every day, whether through friends, other artists, advertising or music. Everything I experience and see inspires me. I always want a good concept, which is the most time consuming stage of the process. Once I’ve arrived at that, I really love to create a lot of detail, so that the viewer can find something new in every detail.


CG. From a talented person to a design professional, how has your journey been? How have your designs and skills transformed to stand out in the crowd?

MG. My design journey started when I was a child. Since then, I’ve constantly experimented. I’ve tried various styles, techniques, programs and tools. This was the best way to evolve as a designer, where I learnt new things and found my own unique way to improve. It’s important to be yourself. One should base their creations on one’s own expressions, feelings, thoughts and opinions and must not be dictated by external factors. This goes on to give birth to untouched ideas and concepts. And of course, with such an approach, not everyone may like what you create. But then again, that’s not the goal.


CG. You make vivid use of effects and transformations in your images and designs. Through your professional services, how do your designs help your viewers/brands?

MG. Because I mainly work in advertising, a lot of skill and talent lies in presenting a good concept in a different, interesting and provocative manner. As a designer, a design is much more than just a good looking image. It’s about creating an image that leaves viewers pondering about the topic. At times, the concept is more important than the implementation.


CG. How has being a designer in Germany benefitted you? What special cultural traits do you work with? With internet bringing the world together, what foreign inspirations have captivated you?

MG. Customers and clients in Germany are usually very rigid and fixed. They are not open to varied and innovative ideas. That’s why, I really love to work for clients in the USA or in Asia; they are always looking for something new, something different. They are not afraid of trying and taking risks. With the usage of internet and connectivity, I believe this hasn’t only changed designers but also clients and people as well as their outlook and understanding of design.


CG. What advice would you give to talented professional out there who seek to invest in their design skills and make a business out of it?

MG. It is really hard today to earn money using graphic design skills. The problem is that there are thousands of graphic designers in the world and to stand out is the most difficult thing. In such a situation, it’s best to love what you do and do what you love. Be yourself and realise yourself. Spend a lot of time to learn techniques and to improve your skills each day. Don’t do what you can but make what you cannot.


Published in Issue 23

The issue explores a topic which is close to every designer, the Business of Design. We try to understand from the experienced ones that when is the right time to open own studio and what more you should get in your toolbox before taking the plunge! We had interactions with many talented studio founders like Rajesh Dahiya, Archan Nair, Ishan Khosla, Prasun Mazumdar and Anupam Tomer. Also featuring some of the best talents around the world such as Martin Grohs from Germany and Avi Sehmi from Canada, this issue not only provide answers to many questions but also initiate many new ones to explore further! We hope you will enjoy exploring the possibility of your studio with this issue.


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