Every company needs its design // DesignLab 1

DesignLab by CIKE x MILK workshops with mentor Martin “Žltý” Jenča are in full swing. Their goal is to get local design production to a higher level and thus contribute to the overall promotion of the creative industry in Slovakia. We present you the first four of eleven young talented designers who have a unique chance to learn from a person with 20 years of experience. Meet Silvia, Samo, Ana, and Katka, with whom you might work in the future.

Silvia Vargová // print design

She works as a freelancer and specialises mainly in book design – especially children’s books – but also on visual identity and prints. Silvia is part of the team that stands behind the creation of the Egreš magazine (now a publishing house). In her professional life, she greatly appreciates the contacts and co-operation she has established so far. What she likes the best about working in design is the moment when a project is transferred from the computer to reality and she can feel her work in her own hands.

In her spare time, she loves travelling and she got inspiration for further projects while staying in Australia. However, she often gets inspired by visuals of old books and things outside the design world. According to her, Slovak designers work on a good level, but she would like them to start working together more often, build a community and also promote themselves abroad. At DesignLab, she wants to acquire new knowledge which she could then apply in practice. She likes the idea of having an expert who has years of experience and who does not guard his know-how, but on the contrary, shares it with others to consult her work with.

“People know what they want, but they often don’t know how to do it. The designer is to become their friend and advise them.”


Anna Hájková // product design

Product designer Aňa likes her work best when she sees successful results and she appreciates her client’s creative freedom. She is a co-founder of Citrón, an artistic pact in Košice, which helps young illustrators, graphic designers and graphic designers with presenting their work. She has applied for DesignLab to improve her work and today she is happy to try doing things she would not normally get to do only a few years from now.

In the future, she would like to own a small studio in which the old and the new would meet. The connecting element would be the production of new things using old graphics techniques such as screen printing and linocut. She considers them the best way of getting a sense of the composition. She says herself that the best things she ever created were based on what she had previously drawn manually. For her best project, she considers the illustrated book by Etgar Keret – The Seven Good Years, which was her term assignment. She has never illustrated a book before, nor has she worked in an illustration studio, but in the end, the experience is not everything. Sometimes you just really want to do it.

“Analogue work leads to a better result.”


Samuel Kušnír // print design

He comes from under the Tatras, and in his professional life, he would like to make the region more attractive to prevent young people from leaving. After working with advertising agencies, he established his own design studio in Poprad which focuses on print communication. This summer, you can buy Tatra holiday cards created by him because he actively works on the development of the region. The thing he likes most about this work is that he can reach a large number of people, because as a designer he is the one who, together with the organising team, defines and visualises what people should keep in mind.

In addition to developing his own business, he wants to teach high school students in the future and bring them to understand the value of design. In addition to his work, he likes activities where he can show who he is, whether it be furnishing his own apartment or cooking. It is during those activities that he gets inspired. He applied for DesignLab because he felt the need for more professional guidance. He is very pleased with the mentoring he is receiving because he is taught how to sort out his own business. Particularly positive is the fact that participants are at different levels, which can motivate, inspire and push him forward.

“The designer is the one who looks for a way to understand each other.”


Katarína Jančovičová // print design

Katka sa vo voľnom čase zapája do kultúrnych aktivít, rada cestuje, no baví ju aj bizarná kultúra a bežná ľudová tvorivosť.

She became a designer because she enjoyed solving problems, analysing and helping with achieving a good result. Among several projects, she has created materials for an eye clinic. In the end, she unified visual materials and at the same time made the information available to the patients in a graphical way to better understand the interventions that await them. In her free time, Katka participates in cultural activities, likes travelling and enjoys bizarre culture and ordinary folk creativity.

She thinks that Slovak designers often lack healthy self-confidence and the ability to sell their work. She joined DesignLab in order to improve herself not only as a designer but also as a business woman for whom efficient planning and communication with clients and suppliers is important. She especially appreciates Žltý’s transparency and willingness to share the information which is elsewhere considered as a corporate secret.

“It is important that the client understands the value of what designer produces.”


How do you like our choice of designers? We will introduce you to another four designers in a week. Would you like to work with one of them? Write to us at super@cike.sk and we will put you in touch.

Photos: Viktória Janov, designer archive