1. ssssttieeenn is the rearranging of the letters of my full name which is 'Stien Stessens'. I'm a graphic designer.

2. (...) One day I said 'graphic designer = writer' because why not: you give meaning to (letter)forms, you communicate by signs and words are just letters are just shapes to begin with. 

3. Books can be brilliantly written and have awful covers + badly spaced typography at the same time. Or the other way around: some things look amazing, but when you think about them, they turn out to be rather dull. What does this mean for our understanding?  Can we judge a book by its cover? The concept that 'form' and 'content' are not at all the same, is deeply ingrained in our language, in the way we read and understand the world. (...) To think outside this divide, proves to be really difficult.

(intermezzo) In beauty I walk / With beauty before me I walk / With beauty behind me I walk / With beauty above me I walk / With beauty around me I walk / It has become beauty again / It has become beauty again / It has become beauty again / It has become beauty again (...)

4. But, what if a designer and a writer worked closely together from the beginning of the book? That's what we did with 'A House for the Mind'. Caroline Voet came to the Grafische Cel with a large stack of research about Dom Hans van der Laan and the wish to explain his ideas to a broad public. I did my best to understand van der Laans vision, mathematical system and the way he cared about the human sensitivity for proportians and spatialty. (...) We arrived at a book that evolves like a mindful walk through all the different aspects of his vision: his writings, his buildings, his sketches, his beliefs and his calculations.

We were proud to receive recognition from the Deutches Architekturmuseum, when the book was selected as one of the 10 best architectural books of 2018. The judges called it "A book that seems to come from a different age" (...), which is such a nice compliment to receive. Special thanks to Inge Ketelers, who helped with the execution of the design. Published by Flanders Architecture Institute with KULeuven and Luca School of Arts.

5. Or take this website: I'm writing, designing and coding simultaneously. Basically I'm trying to say this one thing — in all these different languages.

6. And my graduation project, which was called 'o=ndtiwcehrtpeerr' (...), where I decided that everything I made during that year, was a poem indeed. I ended up with a posterpoem, a partypoem, an ode to the letter s, a diamondpoem, a lot of rejected poems and a thesispoem. You can find it back here.

7. One might ask: doesn't it end up as the same, a poster or a posterpoem, what's really the difference?. And you're right, it's not that the things I (want to) make look so different then other things that are being made. It is possible I just picked this motto 'designer = poet' to amuse myself. It does.

8. Me and Isis Tweepenninckx choose to play as well, our field was the pavement and we called ourselves conveniently 'STOEP'. (...) We went outside and talked about how we could 'do' graphic design without access to the habitual spaces or institutions (a school, a studio, a job, a client…) Can a pizzabox be a billboard for the ants? How to draw with tape on the street? Can a mistake from our side in an important comission become a joke? What does a meeting on the pavement in the summer look like? How many funny wordjokes can we make starting from 'stoep'? (...) We have a lot of fun with this and take it very seriously.

9. Being a graphic designer is just this one part of who I am. I'm also a feminist and I often think about what I can do to make my surroundings better for everyone. In 2015 I made a publication with the subtle title 'Everyone should be feminist' and I have just digitalized part of it: here. I was also very happy to contribute a poster to the 'Furora x Posterwomen' event in Berlin back in December.

10. So when someone asked me to be a part of a publication honoring Patricia de Martelaere, (...) I immediately said yes. I quickly decided I wanted to write an essay and by writing I meant designing. I scanned the text of 'The world is a word' and used the 'translate' function in Illustrator on the pages. Once the text was vectorized I added standard, vector-images to interfere with the words. Now text and image were literally the same, flattened, both 1 px black vector lines. It was a good exercice to put the idea into practice, but of course, it's still only an essay. (...) The other contributions are all very interesting reflections on her work, so I'm very honoured to have been part of this G. edition.

All credits of the original text to Patricia De Martelaere. Original title 'De Wereld is een Woord'

11. Since the summer of 2019, I've been working together with Posture Editions (...), an independent publishing house founded in 2011 by Nikolaas Demoen (artist) and Katrien Daemers (graphic designer). We make books to offer opportunities to artists to present their work and to shed light on their oeuvre in a more unusual way. The book series is recognizable for its A4-format, but within many variations take shape. Read more about Posture Edtions on the website, follow us on instagram or facebook or get in touch via stien(at)posture-edtions.com.

12. I am also working as a freelancer in Ghent, Belgium, so if you have an idea, a project, an opportunity, a question, an answer or just a feeling, let me know.

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