Top 20 Under 30 Visual Artists

Top 20 Under 30 Visual Artists

Print Magazine’s “New Visual Artists”  – portfolio of 20 emerging designers, illustrators, and photographers under 30 has been announced. The New Visual Artists competition has quickly grown into one of Print’s most anticipated issues every year.

Nominations started in July 2009 – from art directors and designers all over the world, invite the nominees to submit their portfolio by September, and make the selections in October. This year, for the first time, they also invited four former winners—Saiman Chow (2002), Rob Giampietro (2004), Joshua Darden (2006), and Julia Hoffmann (2006)—to come to their office and, with the Print design staff, narrowed down the 95 nominees to the 20 winners included here.

The judges showed a predilection for two sometimes contradictory elements of design: illustration and installation.


The 20 designers and artists who make up this year’s class will be on display at the Phaidon Store in New York City, beginning Monday, April 19. The exhibition offers viewers a chance to see work that’s been featured in the magazine in its original format, such as the T-shirt and textile design from Jonathan Calugi, silkscreened posters from Mikey Burton, and interactive work by Aaron Koblin. In some cases, designers have sent in new work: The show displays five out of a 50-poster series based around the letter A, designed by OK-RM, as well as spreads from the brand-new Eames catalog for House Industries that was created by Bondé Prang.

Many of the featured illustrators incorporate textured, craft-based techniques to render good ideas with even better skill, as evident in the deceptively simple images from Jean Jullien, the importance of shadow in the work of Leslie David and Karim Charlebois-Zariffa, the physicality employed by letterpress artisan Mikey Burton, or the pattern “surface library” used by Lotta Nieminen.

Nature actively influences much of the work as well, even if the results vary. Emmanuel Romeuf and the duo Always With Honor draw inspiration from childhoods spent in the mountains, while Sam Weber reimagines the forests of his native Canada. And though none self-identify as type designers, they all nonetheless engage with letters on both a cerebral level—as Jonathan Puckey does in “Typographic Rhythms”—and a visceral one. Oliver Munday’s alphabet of maimed GI Joe soldiers, for example, is a poignant type experiment. Bondé Prang’s collateral for House Industries, meanwhile, features imaginative typographic play.

Installation, or three-dimensional design, asserts itself in both digital and print environments, such as in Aaron Koblin’s information visualizations or Katrin Schacke’s visual metaphors depicting the universe. Taken all together, these designers are showing what they can do when some assembly is required, whether the result is a personal page or a public space.

Learn more about the New Visual Artists competition and see past winners at our competitions page.

Featured Artists

•Always with Honor is a two-person studio in Portland, Oregon, co-founded by Tyler Lang (25) and Elsa Chaves (26). They have created illustrations for Wired, Monocle, Money, and are the regular infographers for Good magazine’s “Transparencies” feature. [read the profile]

•Mikey Burton is a Philadelphia-based illustrator and letterpress artisan who is a designer at 160 over 90. His thesis project, “New Covers for Old Books,” re-envisions covers of classic novels done rock-poster style. [read the profile]

•Jonathan Calugi is an illustrator based in Italy whose work often fixates on intricate, obsessive patterns and eccentric geometric forms that emulate trippy wallpaper motifs. They can be found on products from the fabric purveyor Bon Bon Kakku, and his schematic diagrams are tailor-made for clothing lines like Noodle Park Kid. [read the profile]

•Karim Charlebois-Zariffa is a Montreal-based designer and animator who has produced openers for Canadian television shows such as La Liste, and titles for film directors like Philippe Falardeau. [read the profile]

•Frank Chimero is a Portland, Oregon, based illustrator who has created work for Italian publisher Edizioni Corraini’s Un Sedicesimo magazine, The New York Times, Wired, and has been exhibited in an exhibition at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. [read the profile]

•Leslie David is a Paris-based illustrator and designer who got her start at the fashion-forward French ad agency Petronio Associates. There she had the opportunity to apply her background in design and illustration to the agency’s biannual fashion and culture magazine, Self Service, as well as projects for clients like Colette, Chloe, Pucci, and Miu Miu. [read the profile]

•Jean Jullien is a Nantes-born, London-based illustrator who is best known for creating cheerful characters that he cuts out of paper and captures in photographs. His simple, appealing scenes got a big break on the website Manystuff in 2008 while he was still in art school, and since then his work has appeared in The Guardian and The New York Times, and on a host of design blogs. [read the profile]

•Aaron Koblin is a 28-year-old technology lead of Google’s experimental marketing department, Creative Lab, a new position. Using the Processing programming language developed by his UCLA thesis adviser, Casey Reas, with Ben Fry, Koblin turns the messiest sets of data into beautiful, if equally complex, images. [read the profile]

•Oliver Munday is a designer and illustrator based in Washington, D.C., who is particularly attuned to his sense of social consciousness–he has produced infographics for Good, a promotional booklet for a women’s rehab center in Baltimore, and a poster for an Angela Davis lecture at MICA. [read the profile]

•Lotta Nieminen is a Helsinki-based designer whose work uses space and color in surprising combinations. But it’s her expansive, multilayered illustrations–commissioned by magazines as diverse as Paste, Plan Sponsor, and Welcome to Finland–that have been quickly gaining a wider audience. [read the profile]

•OK-RM is a two-person, London-based studio consisting of Oliver Knight and Rory McGrath. Working out of their studio in London’s Hackney neighborhood, they’ve created striking and spare designs with a jaunty approach to type and a dramatic use of negative space. [read the profile]

•Bondé Prang is a 25-year-old designer for House Industries. Her work for the studio— she is in charge of all the catalogs featuring the foundry’s typefaces—combines a sophisticated sense of style with a vernacular grooviness, fitting for a type house whose fonts include both Neutra and Tiki Type. [read the profile]

•Jonathan Puckey is a designer based in Amsterdam who doesn’t create images so much as systems. He and his collaborators, an informal group called Conditional Design (including Luna Maurer, Edo Paulus, and Roel Wouters), build systems requiring human interaction that then sets logical systems into motion. [read the profile]

•Janine Rewell is a 23-year-old illustrator based in Helsinki who has produced work for some of the most famous Finnish brands that operate on a global scale, such as Nokia and Marimekko. “Tan Man,” a piece developed with artist James Titterton, places Rewell’s decorative motifs on human skin, an effect achieved with vinyl stickers and a solarium. [read the profile]

•Emmanuel Romeuf is a 28-year-old designer and art director based in Paris. In 2006, with two friends from school, he started a small atelier called Mademoiselle, Messieurs in Lyon, where they worked for a variety of clients. Although he moved from Lyon to Paris almost two years ago, Romeuf is torn between the arts and culture offered by urban life in Paris and the relatively bucolic existence of Lyon. [read the profile]

•Nikolay Saveliev is a Russian-born, New York City-based designer who has applied his “clunkily masculine and aggressive” style to album covers, branding and identity projects, and self-published zines such as The Dramatic Arc, which re-imagines the covers of some of his favorite albums. [read the profile]

•Katrin Schacke is a designer based in Erfurt, Germany, whose work arises via an unusual means: she designs by stacking. Her 2008 thesis project at the Hochschule fuer Gestaltung in Offenbach, Germany, for example, visually represents the seven biggest questions in science, using things like white lamps, umbrellas, rubber boots, and enigmatic spheres. [read the profile]

•Sicksystems is the moniker of the Moscow-based graphic artist who goes by Aske. His geometric work is inspired by Constructivist abstraction, science fiction, and video games and heavily based on letterforms. [read the profile]

•Tomi Um is an illustrator born in Seoul, South Korea, whose universe is awash in wavy noodle lines, pagoda temples, smiling monks, animal characters, and elaborately detailed monastery scenes, all playfully jostling with the visual structure of comics. [read the profile]

•Sam Weber is a Brooklyn-based illustrator who has worked as assistant art director for the New York Times’ Op-Ed page as well as producing dramatic editorial illustration work on behalf of clients such as The New Yorker, the Times Book Review, Toronto’s Soulpepper Theatre Company, and numerous book covers. [read the profile]

This year’s winners:

•Always With Honor

•Mikey Burton

•Jonathan Calugi

•Karim Charlebois-Zariffa

•Frank Chimero

•Leslie David

•Jean Jullien

•Aaron Koblin

•Oliver Munday

•Lotta Nieminen


•Bondé Prang

•Jonathan Puckey

•Janine Rewell

•Emmanuel Romeuf

•Nikolay Saveliev

•Katrin Schacke


•Tomi Um

•Sam Weber

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