Design studio


The Harry Potters of Graphic Design


Dutch designers, Trapped in Suburbia are an experimental design studio working in The Hague, Netherlands. Their designs encourage involvement and an acute sense of play, either to start them or complete them. With involvement comes better understanding, something heartfelt and something special but most importantly something memorable. It is this that transforms graphic design into an experience.

Trapped in Suburbia embrace a playfulness, a willingness to experiment and revel in flaws

Trapped in Suburbia embrace a playfulness, a willingness to experiment and revel in flaws. Their niche then is letting it all hang out, pursuing their curiosity in a refreshing, kids-at-play kind of way. Their mix of design, communication and events makes their work a tactile and thrilling experience — one that will not go unnoticed.

We caught up with Karin to ask her which artists she’s enjoying, which apps she couldn’t live without and what she’s currently listening to.

Can you tell us what an average work day looks like?
Up at 6:45, yoga, shower, breakfast, commute for 1 hour, meditate on the train, arrive at studio, drink tea, chat, reply emails, brainstorming, lunch, designing in the afternoon, more tea, do boring stuff after 15:00. Go home around 17:00, cook, eat, talk, sleep. Rinse, repeat.

The real inspiration is in the not-so-average. Like this morning. I got up, jumped on my bike to go the dunes to meet a client and a forester for a photoshoot of the hidden graves from WWII for an exhibition that we are designing.

What are you listening to at the moment?
Music! I listen to almost everything. From hip hop to classical music, it depends on my mood. Sometimes I need something soothing, sometimes I need some “F**k da Police!”. Last week I went to a concert in the woods by dutch rapper Typhoon, it was raining but still a great vibe. He is a very talented guy. Upcoming weekend it’s Yann Tiersen, a great pianist. The weekend after that; Fun Lovin Criminals at the beach. Party! 🎉

What apps can’t you live without?
None really. Not a big fan of my phone. It is a love-hate relationship. Apps are worse than the average website when it comes to privacy and tracking. You never know who is tracking you and selling your information. It’s a complete black box. (OMG! I sound like I have paranoia! – we’re currently doing a project on privacy, this is what happens when you research a subject too much).

The one I would miss most would be Spotify. I like having a soundtrack accompanying the day.

Favourite piece of equipment in the studio / work space?
Definitely the Wacom! I’ve been using it since uni, it has kept me away from RSI and helps me work more accurate and detailed. Everyone who works at the studio has to use it, it’s just better.

Which designers/artists work are you enjoying at the moment?
I really enjoy the work of the artist Raymond Pettibon, he has a big exhibition at the moment in the Netherlands. His view on the world and how he translates this in his expressive work fascinates me. And one of my favorites is John Körmeling, he is a dutch artist, sculptor and architect and I like his sense of humor. He has made a rotating house on a traffic roundabout and a ferris wheel for cars. Very dutch, very playful.

What’s your favourite place to escape to?
My private atelier. It’s small but all mine! No one to disturb me, I can crank up the volume or just listen to the birds. I draw or paint apples and sometimes pears of garlic. Anything that sits still really. It’s has absolutely no deeper meaning and that is exactly what I need in contrast to all the thinking at the studio. I can shut off my brains for a couple of hours and focus on my hands translating the shapes and colours that my eyes perceive.

If you could choose one artist, dead or alive, to decorate your house, who would it be?
James Turrell. I would like a house where I can rebound from all the input at the studio. I think his art is beautiful, super powerful and peaceful at the same time. Downfall would be that I could get lost in time by just staring at it.