Melancholic simplicity

Simplicity and sensuality, two factors always present in her work; Maria Klimko talks about her journey into editorial design as an illustrator and Graphic designer.

How have you developed your illustrative style during the past few years? (how has it changed?/ Do you think it has changed?)

I love sensual things. I found it sad that it is not that much of them out there nowadays. The evening is so fast and striking. Sometimes it is really nice to take a little break and soak all of these wonderful things around. That’s exactly the reason that my drawing skills never stop developing. These are the perfect moments of falling into everything that happening with yourself or the outside world. And as a hopeless dreamer I have plenty of those moments, which gives me lots of practise. Illustration is all about practise the use of your hands to reflect on what you feel and think, practise to see things around and practice to filter unnecessary details. My style is developing with all of the mentioned points. I learn to choose more important themes to discuss and research a lot of contemporary illustrators to see the direction where the industry goes.

I find studying graphic design very useful for developing my illustration skills. I learn how to reduce the amount of unnecessary distracting details and replace them with my creative voice. The last few years have helped me to approach the beloved ‘less is more’ concept.


Why did you decide to focus on publishing, choosing the press pass studio? Is your work mainly illustrative?

Publishing industry defines the best collaboration of many creative elements together to summarise the contemporary culture.

It is a rich cocktail bringing together photography, illustration, writing ,typography and other creative ingredients into one perfect outcome. I was always fascinated by all of them. I think for a designer or illustrator it is really important to know all of them. Every skill is like another language you use to express yourself better, depending on your location, or in terms of graphic design, helping the practitioner involve relevance to the issue at hand.

What was your favourite project during your year at the press pass studio? Can you briefly talk about it?

My favourite was the Grafik Takeover brief, led by Angharad Lewis. We had to crate a publication featuring a selection of articles from Grafik magazine. My magazine, ‘no 5’, about logo designs particularly explored the way in which shapes can be manipulated in positive and negative space. The manipulation of such shapes often portray variations of unique beauty, depending on each other. Its intent is to break down logo designs to create a story behind its creation.

I have always had a fascination with logo design as it portrays context of its use with compact meaning and depiction, with a complicated process of branding, and yet delivers its message with minimalistic appearance. The logo is what truly expresses the concept of ‘less is more’.

img_8299From a simple accident of inverting an image of a wall paper, I received an entirely new creation of a recreation of our universe. This issue has 5 double-page spreads, one for each logo, which portrays incredible investigations, with separate and unique potentials. As we receive individual complications of textures, patterns and use of space, these logos therefore create dependant stories, driving a progressing journey across the universe and further.

How do you incorporate your illustrative style into your publishing studio work making it your own?

Illustration doesn’t necessarily involve drawing skills. It is the way of approaching the technique of approach to the subject. In my case it is always hidden in details as a choice of textured backgrounds, ‘speaking’ typefaces and little changes I bring to letterforms used in a particular project. The Illustrative approach brings more depth into designs.


As for every other project, research is key. How do you research and develop initial ideas into your final pieces? what are the stages you go through? Do you enjoy the process? is it collaborative?

The research aspect can be difficult for me. I am the one who is definitely learning from my own mistakes. However, the creating process is something really intimate and passionate for me. Quite often I find myself having an endless amount of ideas in my head, usually they develop even too quickly to catch them. So research is a great tool to learn patience and reach a calmer approach to my work.

The first stage of research for me is always collaborative. Good conversation is probably the best way to start any project, sometimes I’ll find my reflection in another person and sometimes our opinions will be completely opposite, but it’s always something to learn from.

In the work process itself I am a loner. I always treat my projects as a plot for a film. Creating a story behind of what’s shown in a final play, choose the right background music and set up imaginary stage lights to reach a perfection for every character involved.

See more at 


Final hand-in check list

Silvia Liano

Graphic Design (Level 5)

Studio: Empathy and Enterprise

Blog link:


  • Project 1: Look mum no hands
  • Sketchbook
  • Photos research
  • Book trials
  • Final book
  • Project 2: Brand Flip
  • Sketchbook
  • Selected text photocopy + trials
  • Final A3 typography piece + small version
  • Project 3: Breakfast Unscrambled
  • Sketchbook
  • Presentation (printed)
  • Logo trails + final logo
  • Project 4: Brand theatre
  • Sketchbook
  • Photography record from 3D piece
  • Project 5: Brand that Can
  • Sketchbook
  • Collage
  • Brand application
  • Logo
  • Pattern experimentation
  • Trials on business cards
  • Package and notebook trials
  • Promotional cards
  • Brand book


  • The art of ping pong/Paper to paddle
  • Sketches design
  • Paddle templates
  • Photography design
  • Exhibition photos
  • Duke of Uke
  • Designs presented to client
  • Beyond limits
  • Photography research
  • Photography 3D sculptures
  • The shadows
  • Booklet photography


  • Secret 7
  • Designs sent
  • Winning design
  • Exhibition pamphlet
  • Typography workshop
  • Final photoshop and after effects print
  • Bookbinding workshop
  • Workshop photographs
  • Final bounded book

Secret 7 competition

I’m quite exited about the idea of creating a vinyl sleeve for aa song without using the lyrics of the song or your name, giving the opportunity to express through design a song in many different ways.

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“Secret 7” takes 7 tracks from 7 of the best-known musicians around and presses each one 100 times to 7” vinyl. We then invite creatives from around the world to interpret the tracks in their own style for every 7”. 700 sleeves are exhibited and then sold for £50 apiece. You don’t know who created the sleeve, or even which song it’s for, until you have parted with your cash – the secret lies within.”

There’s 7 songs to choose from, I choose “Clearest blue- churches”.

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Getting ready for submission 

First step, making a list of what I need to submit , Then highlight all I have completly finish and it’s ready for submission, and then start to finish everything that it’s not finished.

If there’s time left, think of how to improve the projects I’m not completly happy with, in my case, my brand flip and part of my breakfast unscrambled.

Time to work!