We are karlssonwilker, the New York-based design studio founded by Icelander Hjalti Karlsson and Jan Wilker from Germany. We provide progressive solutions for design-conscious clients, ranging from local cultural institutions to global commercial enterprises. Clients work directly with our founders and benefit from our collaborative, adaptive process, and our commitment to creating advanced design experiences.


Our willingness to develop new processes has propelled our evolution and developed a foundation that enables us to deliver successful results for a variety of projects that include identities, signage & wayfinding, print, motion, web, spatial & more. Through experimentation, extensive international workshops, and our distinct “real-time design” practice, we actively learn and invest in new approaches to working, seeing, and communicating.

karlssonwilker is

Jan Wilker


Jan grew up in Ulm, Germany. He attended Stuttgart University's architecture school, and graduated from the State Academy of Art & Design Stuttgart in communication design. He moved to New York in late 2000 to start karlssonwilker. Jan has taught at Cooper Union, SVA, and Parsons. He frequently lectures and gives sought-after design workshops around the world. He is a member of AGI (Alliance Graphique Internationale) and serves as its US president.



Hjalti Karlsson


Hjalti was born and raised in Reykjavik, Iceland. He graduated from Parsons The New School for Design. In late 2000, he co-founded karlssonwilker. Hjalti gives design lectures across the globe, has served on numerous design juries in the US and abroad, and was chairman of the 2011 CLIO Design Awards. In 2013, Hjalti was awarded the Torsten and Wanja Söderberg Prize, the highest endowed design prize in the world. He is a member of AGI (Alliance Graphique Internationale).



Sandra Shizuka


Sandra was born and raised in Porto, Portugal. She studied sculpture and graphic design at Oporto's Fine Arts Academy and at the Academy of Fine Arts in Wroclaw, Poland. Before moving to New York, Sandra worked with Porto's Architecture School, and was the recipient of the INOV-Art grant in 2010. Sandra is a proponent of voluntaryism and is a member of v-a, a design and architecture collective based in Lisbon, collaborating on interdisciplinary projects. 



Designers & interns who have worked with us in the past:

Alexander Pasenau, Alexander Strube, Aline Stieger, Allejandra Santos, Alli Metall, Anna Kasnyik, Benjamin Lory, Brigitta Bungard, Brigitte Höfler, Catarina Carreiras, Chris Cowans, Connor Muething, Constanze Maier, Dan Covert, Daniella Schachter, Daniel Pepice, David Lisznia, David Voss, Dennis di Bartolomeo, Duoni Wang, Elizabeth Ferraro, Emmi Salonen, Fabienne Hess, Frank de Rose, Fredrik Öst, Holmes, Jakob Lauer, Jai Sandhu, Jean Lee, James Lunn, Cedric Suming, Jeff Walters, Jeremy St. Quentin, Jessica Minn, Joe Hearty, Jonas Beuchert, Julius Terlinden, Kenny Batu, Kevin Chao, Kevin Kan, Klara Arnalds, Linda Meixner, Marcela Albuquerque, Mandy Eberle, Manuel Buerger, Marte Veys Berg, Martin Asbjørnsen, Maximillian Seifert, Megan Elevado, Michael Speichert, Miriam Wilker, Moya Annece, Nadine Ouellet, Nathalie Banger, Nick Cannaerts, Nicole Jacek, Nicole Killian, Nicole Kurily, Nicole Wiedemann, Olga Kotova, Paul Steinman, Philipp Hubert, Piera Wolf, Ryan Riegner, Rob van Berkel, Sabina Hahn, Siggi Eggertson, Simone Caroline Carrier, Stephan Walter, Tal Amiran, Tanja Schuez, Tobias Holzmann, Tracy Song, Victor Clemente, Willie Ip,  Žarko Dumičić.

Studio Information


  • PRESS (selected):
  • Creative Review (UK, cover feature), Creativity (US, cover feature), Print (US, cover feature), X-Funs (Taiwan, cover feature), It's nice that (UK), Inform (Denmark, cover feature), novum (Germany, cover feature), Tekknaren (Sweden, cover feature), Grafik (UK), Grafik.net (UK), IDEA (Japan), Youth Vision (China), O2 (China, cover feature), NewGraphic (China, cover feature), Art & Design (China), Design360 (Hong Kong), Étapes (France), ID Magazine (US), How Magazine (US), The Drama (US), Communication Design (US), Graphis (US), Design Indaba (South Africa, cover feature), Azure (Canada), Form (Germany), Page (Germany), DesignStudio (Latvia, cover feature), Ambijenti (Serbia), ELLE Decor (Serbia), Göteborgs-Posten (Sweden), Morgunbladid (Iceland), Vikan (Iceland), Fréttabladid (Iceland), Addmagazine (Belgium), BGMagazine (Ecuador), Identity (Russia)


  • 15 Projects in 5 Minutes, Oddi, Reykjavik, 2013
  • 20 Projects in 5 Minutes, Oddi, Reykjavik, 2009
  • 12 Days in Serbia, Publikum, Belgrade, 2006
  • tellmewhy—the first 24 months of a New York design company, PAPress, NY, 2003


  • LECTURES & WORKSHOPS (selected):
  • AGI Open São Paulo, Brazil 2014
  • Diseño SLP, Mexico 2014
  • The Israel Museum, Jerusalem 2013
  • OFFF Festival, Barcelona, Spain 2013
  • AGI Open London, UK 2013
  • ADOBE MAX, Los Angeles, USA 2013
  • TYPO San Francisco, USA 2013
  • UDEM, Monterrey, Mexico 2013
  • DesignMarch, Iceland 2012
  • TYPO London, England 2012
  • AGI Open Barcelona, Spain 2011
  • VCU Qatar, Qatar 2011
  • Goethe Institute Jerusalem, Israel 2011
  • SahreVictoreWilker Cape Town 2011
  • Shenkar Tel Aviv, Israel 2011
  • MFA Yale School of Art, USA 2011
  • SahreVictoreWilker New York 2008–2010
  • LYNfabrikken, Aarhus/Copenhagen 2009
  • CAFA Beijing, China, 2009
  • OFFF Festival Lisbon, Portugal, 2008
  • DesignBlast Karlsruhe, Germany, 2008
  • DesignIndaba, South Africa, 2008
  • ADC Latvia, Riga, Latvia, 2007
  • Grafitat, Quito/Guayaquil, Ecuador 2007
  • Spark, New Zealand, 2007
  • CAFA, Beijing, China, 2006
  • Iceland Academy of Art, Reykjavik 2006
  • Inspirational, Rome, Italy, 2006
  • Typo Berlin, Germany 2006
  • Esquina Norte, Tijuana, Mexico 2005
  • DesignEurope, Berlin, Germany 2004
  • AIGA Los Angeles, USA 2003


  • Torsten and Wanja Söderberg Prize 2013
  • DDB Design Stars 2013
  • a!Design Excellence Award 2013
  • NYC Design Commission Design Excellence 2011
  • PUBLISHED WORK (selected):
  • Best Practices for Graphic Designers, RP, 2014
  • Type Plus, Unit Editions, UK, 2014
  • Design Firms, Allworth Press, US, 2013
  • Basic Design 01, AVA, UK, 2012
  • One By One, Hesign, China, 2012
  • Typography Sketchbook, PAPress, US, 2011
  • Making Information Accessible, BIS, NL, 2011
  • If You Could Collaborate, It’s Nice That, UK, 2010
  • Sourcebook of Contemporary GD, Collins, 2009
  • Small Studios, Hesign, China, 2009
  • BandID: Ultimate Book of Band Logos, CB, 2008
  • Los Logos I, II, III, IV, DGV, Germany, 2001–2008
  • Innovation in Poster Design, Rotovision, UK, 2007
  • 100@360: Graphic Design’s New Global Generation, L. King, UK, 2007
  • Inspirability. 40 Top Designers..., HOW, 2005
  • Infiltrate: Front Lines of NY Design..., BIS, 2004
  • All Access: The Making of…, Rockport, US, 2004
  • Area: 100 Designers, 10 Curators, Phaidon, 2003
  • Innovation in CD Packaging, Rotovision, 2003


  • JUDGING (selected):
  • ADAA Adobe Design Achievement Awards 2014
  • TIGDA Taiwan Intl. Graphic Design Awards 2013
  • Red Dot Award 2010–2012
  • Ad Rodeo Canada 2012 
  • SPD Society of Publication Design 2012
  • Clio Awards 2011 (Chairman Design)
  • SGDA Shenzhen, China 2009
  • Clio Awards 2009
  • SPD Society of Publication Design 2008
  • IGDB 5, China 2008
  • ADC Art Directors Club, 2007
  • GDC Canada, 2005


  • EXHIBITIONS (selected):
  • Design Museum Reykjavik, Iceland 2014 (solo)
  • Röhsska Museum, Sweden 2013 (solo)
  • Curious Minds, The Israel Museum, 2012 (group)
  • 1% Water, z33 Gallery, Belgium 2008 (group)
  • Ningbo Design Museum, China 2008 (group)
  • karlssonwilker galore, Riga, Latvia, 2007 (solo)
  • Serbia Remixed, O3one, Belgrade, 2006 (solo)
  • Design Takes On Risk, MoMA, 2005 (group)
  • design.is, Berlin, 2003 (group)



NYTimes Illustrations
May 25, 2016

After a 12 year hiatus, we did 2 more illustrations for the NYTimes, see below, about Snapchat. This brings us up to 3 total. We are back!
See it HERE

Creative Review Article
March 21, 2016

Read our latest interview about The Shizuka Collection here.

Thanks to Patrick Burgoyne at Creative Review.

February 22, 2016

Read Jan and Hjalti's latest interview on designboom HERE. Enjoy!

The 20 Most Influential Designers
February 18, 2016

karlssonwilker was voted one of the top 20 most influential design studios over the past 20 years, according to CA magazine (UK). 

AIA New York, The Center for Architecture
May 14, 2015

Recently, we were selected by The Center for Architecture for their 2015 Graphic Design Shortlist.

2015 Graphic Design Shortlist

The Shizuka Collection
March 12, 2015

The Shizuka Collection, 6 silk and 2 cashmere scarves designed for Saga Kakala, made its debut this week. See them all HERE

Remai Modern
March 2, 2015

We’re excited to have been commissioned for Remai Modern's identity, a new international art museum opening in 2016. Learn more about the museum HERE

Bloomberg Businessweek
December 3, 2014

Here's our cover for this week's Bloomberg Businessweek.

It's Nice That
November 26, 2014

Thanks, It’s Nice That!  Rob Alderson's article highlights our new website, “the game” (yes!), as well as our recent work for GusGus. 

Reykjavík Grapevine
October 3, 2014

Following the release of the “Mexico" video, the Reykjavík Grapevine wrote a cover feature about our collaboration with GusGus. ​Read it HERE!

GusGus “Mexico” Music Video
September 21, 2014

We’re excited for the debut of the video we created for “Mexico,” the title track of GusGus’s new album. Watch it HERE!

Jan at AGI São Paulo
August 18, 2014

In August, Jan ventured to the southern hemisphere to speak at the AGI Open conference in São Paulo.

Grafik Magazine
August 5, 2014

After visiting our studio, Robert Urquhart penned a profile about us for Grafik Magazine, entitled “Aliens Abroad.” Read the article HERE

Iceland Design Museum Exhibition
July 20, 2014

Sweden's Röhsska Museum exhibit, This Is How I Do It, celebrating Hjalti's 2013 Söderberg Prize, arrived in Iceland. More HERE.

A Short Documentary
June 5, 2014

This DOCUMENTARY was filmed in conjunction with Hjalti receiving the 2013 Torsten and Wanja Söderberg Prize.

Get our Newsletter!

(It will delight you 2–3 times per year.)

Please call us at +1 (212) 929 8064 or email us at tellmewhy@karlssonwilker.com.
We look forward to hearing from you.

For new business please contact Hjalti.

Our studio is conveniently (policeman or not) located right above the Dunkin’ Donuts on 6th Avenue, right off 14th Street. To visit, you can take the F, L, M, 1, 2, 3, or PATH train, M103 or M100 bus, a cab, a bike, or just walk.

karlssonwilker inc.
682 Woodward Avenue
Ridgewood, NY 11385
US of A
New York City,
Monday, February 19, 2018
11:49:16 PM

Office Hours:
Weekdays, 10am–7pm

karlssonwilker inc.
Studio Photos & Portraits:
Elisabeth Smolarz
Game Development:
Jochen Hartmann

Random Images for Your Perusal

When carefully crafted bios, professional portraits, curated “candids,” and lists of accomplishments simply aren’t enough, we’ve provided some random images to peruse. We will upload more images for your enjoyment in the coming months, albeit infrequently. Some of the images were taken over a decade ago, others just a few weeks ago. Life is strange in that way. Years go by and you realize that you haven't worn that one special t-shirt in a long time, that it must be either lost or buried under piles of other forgotten one-time favorites. So, dear stranger, click away & enjoy yourself.




Online Museum


Welcome to karlssonwilker: we are open for business! This was our holding page, up for about 7 months, with a link to our one studio email address and audio that talked about how excited we were about things to come! It took us few days to write the text for the computer voice to read, since we wanted it to stutter, stumble, pause, and mispronounce words and then correct itself—just like we did.


This Flash fest was our opening mailer brought to life on the web, with lots of animations, sounds and little hidden things to discover. It was also the first time our "Spoken Portfolio”—w/ the soave voice of Mr. Paul Sahre—was featured. If you knew where to look, you could find the link to our 24/7 studio webcam, w/ special webcam performances first Friday of the month, 1pm EST.


For this update, we not only added to the portfolio section, but also destorted the original Flash file. As a facetious commentary on the ever growing obsession with money and wealth back then, we added a prominent announcement that we were for sale for $10 Million, increasing it over the next few months to $30 Million. People still took it seriously pleading for us not to do it—there wasn’t a single buyer of course. From 2009–2011 we made due with a simple holding page.


Trying to let our b/w boxy flowchart style keep up with the ever-changing technology and user experiences, this website revamp ended up with massive amounts of bizarre gifs mostly in the portfolio section, which was layered on top of the landing page. While it definitely was lively and fun, even we had a hard time finding projects in the work and archive sections. Writing captions for the “random images for your perusal” was a favorite activity during the design process.

Back By Popular Demand: THE SPOKEN PORTFOLIO®! Close your eyes & listen to what we designed in our first two years!
Featuring Mr. Paul Sahre himself & his voice of amber—with appearances of design projects like The Vines, Curious Boym book, Doglamp, and Trust Restaurant. Lean back & enjoy.

The Mighty WGDFC

The WGDFC (World Graphic Design Foosball Championship) is the preeminent and only annual foosball tournament amongst the graphic design community. The WGDFC represents the perfect combination of loose talk, competitiveness, and free beverages. It all started in our office back in 2004, with 23 teams attending. Jan, just a boy at the time, had saved up to purchase a foosball table off ebay. Together with Paul Sahre, he would spend his lunch breaks reviving his long lost foosball skills and soon enough announce the first WGDFC. Since then, it grew into a fierce meeting of small balls and big names, with around 70 teams attending. The coveted WGDFC trophy is a challenge cup that is proudly displayed by the winning team until the following year. From the first tournament on, attendees proudly showed up in homemade team uniforms, which lead to the addition of the Triple-S Award (SpecialSuperficialSurface) to the participating team donning the “best” outfit. The WGDFC is a non-commercial event that only exists through passionate volunteers and the support of a few long-term sponsors. Visit WGDFC.ORG