interview with illustrator and designer jackkrit anantakul



jackkrit anantakul is a bangkok-based graphic designer and illustrator, known for his colorful and humorous illustrations and experimental typography. after establishing the studio design reform council, he went on to become a senior art director at youworkforthem a multi-awarded company based in the USA and bangkok. now with a studio of his own, jackkrit produces work for clients including wallpaper*, uniqlo, desktop magazine and monocle among others.



designboom: what originally made you want to become an graphic designer?


jackkrit anantakul: when I was young, I enjoyed listening to music and collected a lot of tape cassettes. I always loved the artwork on them – but I didn’t know that it was called graphic design. I initially studied interior design, but lost interest and changed my major to communication design. I worked for a graphic studio in thailand after I graduated, designing album covers for various musical artists. I fell in love with typography and graphic design. gradually I learned more about typography and developed my thinking process and illustration skills too.



 black rebel motorcycle club baby81 – reinterpreted



DB: how would you describe your approach to design?


JA: for me, the first step is to try and understand the brief given to me. then I would try and approach the problem from different angles, and choose the most interesting solution to convey the message.



DB: who or what has been the biggest single influence on your way of thinking?


JA: a famous stand-up comedian in thailand called udom taepanich. he talks about normal everyday subjects, but makes it so interesting that it gets me thinking about it. I think his shows are a form of communication design. sometimes we have the same story, but it comes down to who can make that communication the most interesting.


here here – collateral for an exhibition


font for here here



DB: what would you say is your strongest skill and how have you honed that skill over the years?


JA: I am good at processing and understanding what messages need to be said, teaching classes on information design at university helps me with this a great deal. I am approached with situations where I need to understand what my students are trying to say, in order to help them with their designs. apart from that, I also work hard on developing my skills and ideas everyday.



DB: what type of brief or project do you enjoy working on the most and why?


JA: projects that deal with things that I have never worked on before. that take me out of my comfort zone. when you are presented with something new, it makes you afraid and eager to do more research. it challenges me and also makes me grow as a designer.


for slanted magazine’s first special issue about non-latin typefaces: BABYLON



DB: what are your thoughts on specialisation vs generalisation?


JA: they are both important in different ways. if you are too specialised at something, it might be hard for you to change your ways – you start building a wall of thoughts and ideas around you. then again, if you are too generalised there is no aim and development will never happen. so, it’s a balancing act!



DB: how do you think online design resources have influenced the graphic design being produced today?


JA: I think it’s great – I use them frequently; to develop my own work even further and share it with people. in turn, I am really grateful for all the other people out there who share and the platforms that enable it.


MARK magazine cover proposal



DB: what are you currently fascinated by and how is it feeding into your work?


JA: I am currently interested in animation. I want to develop my illustration and animation skills, so that I can experiment in a new form of medium.


animal logotype



DB: what are you passionate about besides your work?


JA: how to live a well balanced life with happiness and flexibility. I am also interested in human behaviour and how we carry ourselves in society.


jackkrit’s business cards



DB: do you have any superstitious beliefs or rules that you live by?


JA: I am not superstitious at all. in the bible it says ‘a man reaps what he sows.’ – galatain 6:7


illustration for boat magazine



DB: what’s the best piece of advice you have heard and repeat to others?


JA: imagine as a child would. like pablo picasso said ‘every child is an artist. the problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.’


cover illustration for computer arts magazine



DB: what’s your personal motto?

JA: don’t worry, just to be free.