At Berjo they adore all forms of communication that incorporate fine art and minimalistic design to convey compelling messages. Their design process starts with a sharp pencil and a fresh sheet of paper which is enhanced digitally. Here, they tell us more about the brand and the plans for the future…
When did you launch the brand and what was the reason behind it?
We started in late 2013. We love to help companies and individuals to convey their statement or message with beautiful illustration and design. Whether it’s a marketing/ad campaign, online content or editorial, we like to create illustrations that make a statement and help to get a message across. Last year we started making handmade stationery.
What’s your background?
Well, I’m a Czech national and studied scientific illustration at the Secondary School of Arts and Design in Brno, my home city. I then studied graphic design at both undergraduate and postgraduate level at Tomas Bata University in Zlin. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been obsessed with drawing and fine art. When I was a lot younger, I spent some time in Congo (Brazzaville) and recall obsessively drawing Dragon Ball Z characters. I even created my very own comic books with loose leaf papers bound together with whatever I could lay my hands on.
How many people are involved in the company and what are their roles?
We are small at the moment. I run the company with my partner. Essentially, I’m the creative and execute all our illustrations and design. My partner deals with all things related to management, marketing and other activities vital to running the business.
If you could start over with the business, would you do anything differently?
I would probably try to get to know more people in my field, fellow illustrators etc. That being said, I try not to have many regrets as I believe that a common misconception about success is that it happens without mistakes, whereas, it’s the contrary. I’ve learnt so much from experiencing and reflecting on my decisions.
What is the hardest challenge you have faced since you started the company?
Visibility. Getting ourselves out there has been challenging.
Tell us one fact about you that people wouldn’t know?
I can draw with both hands. My right hand is stronger though, I have to admit.
2017 is here, where do you plan on taking the brand?
The year has been good so far but we want greater visibility for our stationery line. We also have several more products that we are working on at the moment. It’s an exciting time and we can’t wait to launch them.
To date, what has been the highlight since launching?
Without a doubt, being selected as one of the twelve winners of the first ever Launchpad competition organised by the London Stationery Show. We had a stand at this year’s show in April. It was a great experience both in terms of meeting other winners as well as leaders in the industry. We’ve also been included in Stationery Magazine’s 30 under 30 list of upcoming stars. Though that reminded me that I’m pushing 30! A third highlight (though you only asked for 1!) was being approached to create illustrations of 33 African innovators for this year’s Quartz African innovators list. It was launched at the World Economic Forum held in Durban South Africa.
Which city do you feel most at home in, London, Paris or New York?
I’ve lived in all three. New York is gritty and edgy. Paris is beautiful and Parisians are very expressive. I also love that I get to speak more French and touch base with the very large Congolese community there. However, London is home. Plus, I started my company here; it’s impossible to find another city like it.
Three beauty products you can’t leave the house without?
Lip salve… no other beauty products leave the house with me. Should they?!
It’s really about what makes me feel comfortable and confident.
Best thing about London to you?
The energy and diversity in this city never lets me down.
Statement shoe or statement bag?
Adidas Campus. I could and most likely will wear that shoe for the rest of my life.
If you had to, what piece of clothing from your wardrobe would you wear every day?
A well-fitting white organic cotton t-shirt with dark blue trousers.
Favourite love song?
Lady in my life. MJ. RIP
Best place for a coffee?
I don’t drink coffee but I’m more of a juice drinker and love cakes. I really like Mughead Coffee house in New Cross, South East London. Look Mum No Hands in East London and The Monocle Kiosk in Paddington, they all have a welcoming, home away from home, bring your laptop, stay for as long as you want, see you next week vibe.
Most memorable piece of advice given to you?
Just do it.
Good food, ripe mangoes, avocados and non-alcoholic white Muscat.
If you could spent 24 hours in anywhere in the world, where would it be?
In the future, how do you plan on expanding the company?
Currently, it’s about consistency in growth, output and visibility. We want organic long-lasting growth. In the immediate future, we plan on creating more beautiful stationery items and placing them in the hands of as many people as possible. Long term, we aim to expand into a lifestyle brand where our illustrations are a distinguishing feature.
Where can people find out more? (website/social media)