“Her work is both intellectually and aesthetically of the highest order”
2018 has been a big year for Astrid Stavro: she’s just joined Pentagram London as a partner – not that she needed one of the biggest names in design to boost her CV, though. Since founding Astrid Stavro Studio, and co-founding Atlas around six years ago alongside her partner Pablo Martín, Stavro has made a name for herself as one of the best, sharpest and smartest designers around.
Stavro studied graphic design at London's Central Saint Martin and The Royal College of Art, where she is currently a visiting lecturer in the School of Visual Communication, as well as being a member of design association Alliance Graphique Internationale (AGI).
“As a designer you have to be like an author, too; you have to imagine yourself in someone else's shoes,” Stavro has said. This idea of narrative and “soul” is crucial to Stavro's design work, and explains why a large portion of Atlas' portfolio has centered around design for books and magazines, alongside corporate identity and packaging work. Stavro was behind a previous redesign of Londonbased arts magazine Elephant, bringing in a variety of experimental approaches to type and layout. She also writes for the publication, among others, and she's planning on writing her own novel too.
Having worked for clients ranging from Phaidon to Camper to The National Portrait Gallery and the Barcelona Design Museum, Stavro's work unites meticulous craft with smart conceptual ideas and imagery that looks to engage the viewer on an emotional level. Her design process always begins away from the screen: “I sketch and draw on bits of paper, napkins or whatever I can find as I'm horrible with sketchbooks and lose them anyway. That's where ideas happen, not at a computer,” she's said.
“Astrid is not only a contemporary and active voice in design, but her work is both intellectually and aesthetically of the highest order,” says Pentagram partner Angus Hyland. “We share the same values around the importance of conceptually led work delivered with minimum fuss. At a time when we are broadening Pentagram's brand with new partners in unfamiliar disciplines — I'm thinking particularly of Yuri Suzuki — Astrid represents a continuity of quality in classic graphic design craft.”
Top right: Elephant magazine design completed by Stavro’s Atlas design consultancy.Below: Identity and print design for Spain’s Teatre Principal in Palma, Mallorca, 2016-17.