“I’m not one of those people who painted from childhood and always knew what they wanted to be,” says Dennis Hoelscher, a Berlin-born, Cologne-based graphic designer. Instead, Dennis came to his medium a bit later after being inspired by his friend who worked as a graphic designer. “I liked what he was doing, so I wanted to try it.”
Graduating from experience to experience, Dennis graduated from a media designer apprenticeship with a portfolio full of football catalogs and advertising brochures. He then got his hands on a book by Neville Brody and realized how vast and varied the industry can be; a flame was creatively lit. As such, he decides to pursue communication design in Düsseldorf and “a new world opens up”. Now, the designer works in a variety of mediums, including motion and graphics, as well as covers and videos for his GiiRL group. This paved the way for a wide range of skills and therefore a multitude of freelance jobs for agencies.
It wasn’t the fastest trip for Dennis, but it was undoubtedly a success. Along the way, Dennis developed a knack for different software and techniques. He tends to draw his shapes and lines in 3D before experimenting with texture and lighting until he lands on a particular perspective. “Sometimes architecture reminds me of a certain form that I love,” he tells us. “I then abstract it to a smaller scale, and one thing leads to another.”
As for the more variable and mobile type, the designer will transform the lettering through animation. “Geometric shapes that interact with each other are first populated with typographic textures in the next step,” he notes. “I decide content from an animation perspective, applying what makes sense. It’s like a sketch. Then I have that technique in my toolbox and I can apply it to other projects if necessary.”
This particular tool is called Shape Keys, an animation technique that allows designers to mix, transform, and modify different elements. Dennis uses it for his object design: “I can model multiple states of an object, say a cube, and save them individually, then switch between them smoothly.” With one look at his portfolio, you can instantly see what a fan Dennis is of curved and distorted visuals. In fact, the tighter it is, the better. “More recently, I’ve also tried working with a fluid simulation. I like to establish some ground rules and then let the program flesh them out randomly. I find hard characters on organic shapes very interesting.”
Above all, Dennis hopes his work will spark an otherworldly experience for the viewer. He strives to create objects and designs that cannot be reproduced by a camera. “The viewer should be amazed and wonder how something like this can be visualized,” he concludes. “With an oil painting, I appreciate the technique but also have an idea of how it all came together. I will continue to work on disguising the journey of my techniques.”