In our series, YKRA Faces, we introduce some Budapest-based creatives, who tell us stories about their daily routines and working methods and also give us a glimpse of what they keep in their YKRA backpacks. Our sixth guest is Eszter Laki, graphic designer.
Could you please introduce yourself?
My name is Eszter Laki, I’m a graphic designer and the founder of Studio NUR. My primary field of design is branding, book design and package design, I work with clients both in Hungary and abroad. I’m also a co-founder of Dobrumba restaurant.
What are you working on these days?
There are some bigger projects, one of them is actually finishing these days: a new hotel in Tirol is opening soon after two years of preparation. I worked together with POSITION Collective, they were responsible for interior design, and I worked on branding. I was onsite recently, it’s opening around Christmas, this is very exciting!
How does a day look like for you?
I arrive at the office around 10-11 and I work until about 6 pm. My time there is often distracted by meetings. For 2 years now I have a partner at Studio NUR, Réka Imre. We really like working together and we try to come up with an adult-like schedule but our personalities are drawn to more rhapsodic working routines.
What do you do in your free time?
I love meeting with friends and on weekends, we always go out in nature to hike or to do some mountain climbing. My favourite hiking destination is the Rila mountain range of Bulgaria. Whenever I can, I leave the city behind.
When do you usually use your backpack?
I usually have it with me when I travel or hike. It accompanied me on many trips, for example on multiple occasions when I was in India. I always have a smaller bag with me I can bring with me during the day or what I can carry with me on the plane. I have this YKRA for a while, I think since 2016.
And what do you keep in it?
Laptop: this is a graphic designer’s best friend, I don’t leave the house without it.
Notebook: I still like taking analogue notes, so I bring this with me to my meetings. I usually write about 3-4 pages that help me remember later what we discussed.
Paper catalogue: production often comes up when I talk to my clients, so I always bring a paper catalogue with me so they can imagine what the end result would look like.
Camera: I started to take photos with analogue techniques again, so I recently bought this little Contax.
Kindle: Even though I believe print is not dead, and I personally love designing and reading print books, I had to optimise the weight of my backpack. So when someone wants to read just a couple of pages throughout the day, they don’t want to carry a heavy book with them. I’m currently reading the second book of the super depressing Norwegian author, Karl Ove Knausgård.
Mobile holder: I recently bought it at the Turkish market in Berlin, and I find it very useful. My phone is the other essential thing in my work, and I’m unfortunately quite addicted to it, I organize all my work relations via Slack or other productivity apps, so it’s very useful that I don’t have to search for my phone underneath everything in my backpack, but it’s right there.
Business card: I spent 10 years of my professional life without having my own business card, even though I designed plenty of them for a lot of people. We finally decided to design a business card for Studio NUR, the wonderful Inkredible Letter Press was our partner in it. So nowadays I try to pay attention to always have one with me on my meetings. It’s a bit like in American Psycho where they try to figure out how thick the other person’s business card is. It is really important how this little piece of paper is designed and fabricated.
Wallet: there’s eternal chaos in it, I recently threw out plenty of unnecessary coins and loyalty cards of specialty coffee shops so at least it wouldn’t be so thick.
Black Muji pen: this pen literally defines my life. I created illustrations with it that later became branding elements. I really love taking notes with it, and when we released Menü cookbook with Balázs Glódi and Kamilla Mihály, we used it to sign the books, so we are really thankful for this product. I also love drawing with it so I always keep one or two with me, and whenever someone travels to the West, I ask them to bring me one, like I used to ask for Ritter Sport in my childhood.
Dobrumba zine: We built the concept of Dobrumba restaurant around our travels in the Caucasus, the Middle-East or Southern European countries. We decided that we would release a zine from time to time that would focus on the given region: local recipes or recommendations to the city. This one is about Yerevan. Armenia really inspires me, but it’s quite unknown so we wanted this zine to be educational and to show how special Yerevan is.
It was created with screen printing, each page was printed out of two colours, except for the cover because it has three colours, inspired by the Armenian flag. Inkredible Letter Press was our partner in this project, as well. For a graphic designer, it is a real treat to work on something like this.
New Yorker magazine: I recently subscribed to it and it feels really good to find a magazine like this in your mailbox. I got interested because of its typography, the inside pages and the letters are so beautiful, and it’s a statement from New Yorker to always use a drawn cover. I just picked it up from my mailbox and it made me so happy.
Check out the other guests of the YKRA FACES series HERE!