The winners of the 13th edition of the international Best in Design competition stood out among more than 270 competitors from all over the world. The pair Karla Gondeková and Karolína Matušková impressed the jury with their design for the Listovatel web platform, which includes worksheets for children aged 7-11. We asked Karla and Karolína how they defended their proposal to the jury, how they found working as a pair and what their plans are for the future. So let’s take a look!
What are your plans for the future, projects we can look forward to?
Karolína and Karla: Thanks to our project Listovatel / Open Chess by Karel Placka, we started to cooperate with the Lanškroun City Museum, where we conducted several workshops with children. Now, in cooperation with the Lanškroun Museum, we are preparing worksheets tailored to the museum. Furthermore, we were approached to create a picture part of a book on visual literacy for children. I think that these will be very beneficial projects for us as well and we are looking forward to creating them.
How do you work as a couple? What do you think are the advantages and disadvantages of such collaboration?
Karolína: Karla and I have already collaborated on several projects during our undergraduate studies at FUD UJEP, as well as during our master’s studies at UMPRUM. Thanks to that, we have already found a way to communicate and co-create the concept and visual design. I definitely see this collaboration as more beneficial to the project. We were able to cover a much broader scope and not limit the project. To make it much more comprehensive and complex than if we had worked on it individually. We also worked on Listovateli during a pandemic situation, which was not very conducive to functioning in the school and consulting on the project. Thus, our intense collaboration and mutual consultation was very motivating and empowering.
Karla: We work well as a couple, otherwise we wouldn’t keep coming back to it. The main advantage is that we can consult each other about the project – more heads know more. You also have the feeling that you are not alone, and if the situation does not allow it, the other person takes over. If we can talk about disadvantages, it can be the fact that sometimes you have to find a compromise on which both sides agree. But we have always managed to do that.
Are you personally close to the theme of Zlin Design Week – Universal Design?
Karolína and Karla: Definitely yes. It’s one of the starting points of the Listener. It takes several forms within the project – the possibility of distribution through a web platform allows us to distribute it as easily as possible to the general public. Furthermore, the need to make printing as cheap as possible and to make it accessible even to children and schools without sufficient financial resources led us to create A4 sheets and to adapt the illustrations for plain black and white printing. Last but not least, the content of the sheets, which is designed so that children are not dependent on their knowledge and the different approaches and teaching techniques in each school. Children will learn everything they need to complete the tasks and games within the sheet itself.
Was it difficult to defend the Listovatel project before the jury of the Best in Design competition?
Karolína: Despite the technical problems that occurred on our side, we managed to present everything we needed and thanks to the great organization of Best in Design and the nice and friendly jury, the course was very smooth and pleasant. The presentation was online, quite short and in English, so Karla and I prepared the presentation in advance so we wouldn’t forget anything important. Our project is quite extensive, so it is sometimes difficult to highlight the important things.
Karla:Of course, our nervousness before the defence was unnecessary, but at the same time we prepared well. The jury was nice and helpful. The online presentation turned out to be a bit of a mess in the end and for some unknown reason my microphone stopped working. As the defenses were held over the course of a day, each contestant had a limited amount of time. There was no room for finding a glitch, so in the end Karolína had to present the whole project herself and I just watched silently. But I think she did a great job!
What was the main reason you entered the competition?
Karolína: We wanted to see how good the project was and get new feedback. It motivates us to talk about the project with new people and hear new opinions.
Karla:The main reason was to get the project in front of other people and potential users.
Do you have any plans on what you will do with your winnings?
Karolína and Karla: We are definitely investing in the operation of the website so that it can continue to function.
What areas would you like to learn more about in the future?
Karolína: We would both like to expand our knowledge in the field of education for children. We are still in the early stages of consulting with teachers and theorists and trying out possible avenues based on our own experiences in primary school.
Karla:There are many such areas, and one of them is certainly the education sector, but also free art, painting, etc.
What advice would you give to the contestants for next year’s Best in Design?
Karolína and Karla: To not be afraid to enter the competition and to take all the competition tasks as challenges that will ultimately only make them stronger.