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Meet Stefan G. Bucher of 344 Design in Pasadena

Today we’d like to introduce you to Stefan G. Bucher.

Stefan, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I’ve been fascinated with illustration and typography all my life. Working as a freelance illustrator and designer as a teenager, I saved up enough money to travel across the United States at 17. I fell in love with California and used the Art Center College of Design as a respectable excuse for moving to L.A. after I graduated from high school.

Following my studies at Art Center, I worked as an art director for an ad agency in Portland, Oregon for a soggy minute, and then returned to L.A. for good. I’ve been releasing work under the 344 Design banner ever since.

Has it been a smooth road?
There are always challenges when you’ve got perfectionist leanings, but that comes with the territory for the work I do. Overall, it’s been pretty smooth sailing. The real challenge is to keep things interesting and meaningful for myself, for my clients, and for the audience. But again, that’s the nature of the work, and it’s a challenge I love!

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the 344 Design story. Tell us more about the business.
344 propels clients in arts, media, and publishing. We create efficient brand strategies that engage audiences through smart, delightful design solutions. We produce dramatic work without backstage drama.

We do all sorts of interesting work—movie titles, lots of art catalogs, we created a Yeti character for Saks Fifth Avenue who ended up getting animatronic holiday windows at their flagship store in New York. We do a lot of work involving science and space tech, including work for NASA/JPL. If I had to sum it up, I’d say we’re crazy inventors who help other crazy inventors delight their audience.

Personally, I also write books and have an online drawing series called the Daily Monster, where I film myself creating characters based on random ink drops.

Where do you see your industry going over the next 5-10 years?  Any big shifts, changes, trends, etc?
In ten years, the design industry will be three times the size it is now, and employ a third of the people. Artificial intelligence and machine learning are getting better and better at creating “good enough” solutions that are slicing off the bottom tiers of the market.

Market leaders will always respect the value custom work brings to their brand, but increasing automatization will be a boon for lower tier clients — firms who know that they have to look aesthetically presentable, but don’t have the power to invest in custom solutions.

For designers, the only way to have anything approaching job security will be to create work that is iconoclastic, quirky, and emotionally resonant in a way that no template can match. That will become harder and harder to do, but I think it’ll also lead to some spectacular work.

Clients will get more and more sophisticated along with the technology, and when they’re ready to go custom, it’ll give them the freedom to really swing for the fences.

Contact Info:

344 Questions: The Creative Person’s Do-It-Yourself Guide to Insight, Survival, And Artistic Fulfillment, a self-help book written and illustrated by Bucher.

Bucher’s most recent book, LetterHeads: An Eccentric Alphabet, is a fanciful reimagining of the Roman alphabet

Bucher’s rebranding of Los Angeles non-profit Zócalo Public Square


Catalog for the Rogue Wave show of contemporary artists at L.A. Louver gallery in Venice, CA

Branding and gate painting for the educational charity 826LA


Branding and design for 826LA’s location in Mar Vista

The Saks Fifth Avenue Yeti, designed by Bucher

Opening credits for the movie “The Fall” by director Tarsem, with lettering and typography by Bucher.

Design for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory as part of their “Visions of the Future” series of travel posters.

Image Credit:
Linda Abbott —, Stefan G. Bucher, Jeff McLane, Conor Shillen, Jason Ware —

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