About

Karlssonwilker is internationally renowned for its deeply original design solutions for clients from the commercial and cultural sectors. The team’s focus on in-depth discovery, coupled with an intuitive sense of place, narrative, and humor, allows them to inject new energy and purpose into projects, and create engaging experiences in complex cultural environments. 

WHAT WE DO

Design-Driven Strategy & Business Consulting

Branding & Visual Identity 

Environmental Identity 

Signage & Wayfinding Systems

Interactive & Digital Products

Editorial & Packaging Design 

Ideation & Naming

Design Process Optimization 

 

SELECTED CLIENTS

Bloomberg

Guggenheim Museum

Mini/BMW

Calder Foundation

New York Stock Exchange (NYSE)

Nintendo

The New York Times

Samsung

Sotheby's

Swatch

TIME Magazine

Vitra

WORDS OF MOUTH

Rolf Fehlbaum
Chairman Emeritus of Vitra
Josh Tyrangiel
(Former) Chief Content Officer at Bloomberg
Anne Pasternak
Director of the Brooklyn Museum
Alexander S. C. Rower
President of the Calder Foundation
Stefan Sagmeister
Designer at Sagmeister, Inc. (& former boss)

PARTNERS

HJALTI KARLSSON Co-Founder/Partner

HJALTI KARLSSON Co-Founder/Partner

Hjalti founded Karlssonwilker with Jan Wilker in 2000 after the two met at Stefan Sagmeister's studio. Hjalti is a frequent design speaker and judge who has served on numerous international design juries, most notably as chairman of the design jury at the Clio Awards and juror at the Red Dot Design Award. Born and raised in Reykjavik, Iceland, Hjalti is an alumnus of Parsons School of Design and the 2013 recipient of the Torsten and Wanja Söderberg Prize, the world's highest endowed design award, for his outstanding achievements in graphic design.

VERA YUAN Partner

VERA YUAN Partner

As Partner and Executive Director, Vera oversees Karlssonwilker's client management and business development. Her two decades plus of creative direction and design leadership includes formative years at the pioneering brand consultancy Landor Associates and helming the creative departments at Anne Klein and Ann Taylor as Vice President, Creative Director. From its start, Vera has been Karlssonwilker's enduring delegate and advisor, working exclusively with the studio since 2020. Vera received her B.A. in Architecture from the University of California at Berkeley.

JAN WILKER Co-Founder/Partner

JAN WILKER Co-Founder/Partner

Jan founded Karlssonwilker with Hjalti Karlsson in 2000. He serves as the President of AGI’s (Alliance Graphique Internationale) US Group and has taught at Cooper Union, the School of Visual Arts, and Parsons. His sought-after lectures and workshops inspire designers on four continents to improve their creative processes, as do his immersive neighborhood workshops in Karlssonwilker's studio. A native of Ulm, Germany, Jan studied architecture at TU Stuttgart and holds a master's degree in communication design from Stuttgart's State Academy of Art and Design.

Press

Print magazine cover

An interactive cover for Print magazine, designed in the early days of Karlssonwilker.

Novum cover story

Karlssonwilker graced a magazine cover for the first time for international design publication Novum.

IDEA 266

Baby Hjalti and Stefan Sagmeister on the cover of IDEA magazine's New York issue.

tellmewhy

tellmewhy—the first 24 months of a New York design studio is the story of our beginnings: two young, wide-eyed designers, one from Iceland and one from Germany, who started up their own studio without any clients, in the midst of a recession, in a city brimming with world-renowned designers.

View full Project

MONOGRAPHS

15 Projects in 15 Minutes, Oddi, Reykjavik, 2021

karlssonwyman, KW, NY, 2020

karlssonwilker On America [Unit 42], Unit Editions, NY, 2018

20 Projects, Live From New York City, It’s..., Oddi, Reykjavik, 2017

15 Projects in 5 Minutes, For Quick Readers, Oddi, Reykjavik, 2013

20 Projects in 5 Minutes, Oddi, Reykjavik, 2009

karlssonwilker’s 12 Days in Serbia, Publikum Publishing, 2006

Ventures

Our restless curiosity leads us to many different areas. These ventures and endeavors bring endless joy and learning. They enrich our knowledge and reference base and make us better project partners, designers, and people. A few examples:

RIDGEWOOD DOORS

In a bid to keep a hyper-local design tradition alive, we teamed up with master woodgraining craftsman Ferdinand Tschinkel, the last standing artisan, who has furnished Ridgewood doors with their signature veneer for more than 30 years. Our collaboration includes a line of Ridgewood Door Jackets that pay homage to the faux wood pattern, a booklet sold in a neighborhood bookshop, and workshops where the artisanally inclined can learn this time-honored skill.

You can read more about the project in an article on New York magazine's Curbed (link below). The story features Ferdinand Tschinkel talking about faux wood painting history and giving a detailed how-to of the technique.  

WORKSHOPS & EVENTS

Our studio also serves as a space where designers and not-yet professionals can gather to discuss, inquire, listen, and get their hands dirty in learning intensives and workshops. We invite participants to improve and reflect on their processes in an environment freed of the usual restraints or expectations.

THE ICE CREAM WINDOW

On summer weekends, our studio does double duty as an ice cream shop, bringing neighborhood-inspired custom flavors and unbridled delight to our neighbors since 2020.

KWOTUS RACER JACKET

Moving our studio to Ridgewood, formerly the center of New York's knitting industry, inspired Jan to revive his first foray into design: making and selling clothing. This jacket is made of super-light TYVEK and cut in one of Karlssonwilker's favorite styles. Hjalti wears it so often that it has basically become his uniform. 

THE DOG LAMP

Originally created for Worldstudio Foundation’s annual charity auction, our dog lamp is a perennial favorite. Every once in a while, we produce a small batch and offer them for purchase. The current batch already sold out. 

AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST, WELCOME TO KARLSSONWILKER’S SPOKEN PORTFOLIO

featuring the voice of Paul Sahre
SpokenPortfolio® 1 (2002)
SpokenPortfolio® 2 (2019)

SELECTED AWARDS & DISTINCTIONS

Shortlisted for Dezeen's Designer of the Year, London, 2023

The History of Graphic Design. Vol. 2, Taschen, Köln, 2018

Architizer A+ Award 2017 for Wolf Gordon’s OfficeExcavate, New York, 2017

Nominated for Design Museum’s Design of the Year, London, 2017

Voted Top 20 most influential design studio of the past 20 years, by CA Magazine, UK, 2016

Torsten & Wanja Söderberg Prize, Sweden, 2013

DDB Design Stars, New York, 2013

a!Design Award, San Luis Potosi, Mexico, 2013

New York City Public Design Commission, Award for Excellence in Design, 2011

SELECTED WORKSHOPS & LECTURES

AIGA Design Conference, USA, 2021

Domestika Workshop, 2021

ZHK, Zurich,  Switzerland, 2021

Art Center, Pasadena, California, 2020

AGI Open Rotterdam, Netherlands, 2019

Typographische Gesellschaft, Munich, 2019

DeTao Shanghai, China, 2019

AGI Open Mexico, Mexico City, 2018

RAM, Reykjavik, Iceland, 2017

AGI Open Paris, France, 2017

UDEM, Monterrey, Mexico, 2017

AGI Open Biel, Switzerland, 2015

One Design Week, Bulgaria, 2015

Here, itsnicethat, London, 2015

AGI Open São Paulo, Brazil, 2014

Diseño SLP, Mexico, 2014

The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, 2013

OFFF Festival, Barcelona, 2013

AGI Open London, 2013

ADOBE MAX, Los Angeles, USA, 2013

TYPO London, England, 2012

AGI Open Barcelona, 2011

VCU Qatar, Doha, 2011

MFA Yale School of Art, USA, 2011

SahreVictoreWilker Summer School, NY 2008–2010

LYNfabrikken, Denmark, 2009

CAFA Beijing, China, 2009

OFFF Festival Lisbon, Portugal, 2008

DesignIndaba, South Africa, 2008

ADC Latvia, Riga, 2007

Grafitat, Ecuador, 2007

Spark, New Zealand, 2007

Typo Berlin, Germany, 2006

SELECTED JUDGING

365: AIGA Year in Design, USA

ADAA Adobe Design Achievement Awards, USA

ADC Art Directors Club, USA

CLIO Awards (Chairman Design), USA CLIO Awards, USA

FÍT, Icelandic Graphic Design Competition, Iceland

Golden Pin Design Award, Taiwan

IGDB Ningbo International Poster Biennial, China

RED DOT Design Award, Europe (2019–today)

SGDA Shenzhen Graphic Design Association, China

Society of Publication Designers Annual Award, USA

Taipei International Design Awards, Taiwan

Young Guns 20, USA

© karlssonwilker 2024