Graphic design with a difference.

Markus Fetz is a graphic designer by passion and passionate about Lech, his home. He has already completed some projects for Rote Wand and these can be discovered in one place or another. In an interview, he talks about the “fear of the first stroke”, the difference between bad and good design and his role models such as Mads Berg and Ray Oranges. We are inspired by his illustrations and the way he combines and expresses tradition, modernity and lightness.

Illustration and design of the post card for Hotel Rote Wand

Markus, how long have you been working as a graphic designer? How did you enter the field of graphic design?

I grew up in Lech – in Stubenbach, to be precise, where my parents ran a guesthouse. After finishing school in Feldkirch and then completing my community service, I first worked as a bank employee – so a completely different field. I was already interested in graphic design before that, but it wasn’t until 2009 that I moved to Vienna to start training in this field. After a short stint in the advertising industry, I finally set up my own business as a graphic designer and illustrator in 2013 – and I’m very happy with the decision.


You lived in Vienna for 10 years and have now returned to the Arlberg. What were your motives?

Vienna is a very beautiful city and I really enjoyed being there. The many people, the hustle and bustle, the opportunities… that was crucial for me. But now, after a few years of city life, I realise how good it feels to return to my roots, to have the mountains at my doorstep and to be able to enjoy the peace and nature. Of course, I miss my friends from Vienna, just as I missed my friends from Lech before. But I can reach the capital quite quickly by train.

Illustration for the cover of Lech/Zürs Magazine ZEITRAUM, edition 2019/20

How do you develop a new design after reading a briefing?

I very rarely get briefings in written form. Often, there is a meeting in-person or at least a phone call in advance which serves the same purpose and sometimes is even better– at least for me.

For illustrations, I create the first drafts without colours or I even just draw a rough sketch. Here, it’s mainly about the structure of the picture and whether it meets the client’s expectations. In this way, there are (mostly) no misunderstandings.

With logos and branding, I go into more detail for the first drafts. This is because I want to show a few examples in the first presentation so that the customer can immediately see how a business card, for example, or the logo on the facade etc. will look. That’s why a colour scheme often already exists here – but they are still drafts and, compared to the final result, still pretty rough. I usually design two versions, one of which is then selected for elaboration by the client. Then there are always intermediate steps, which are agreed with the client so that everything develops in that direction until it all fits and is completed.


What do you think is the most difficult part of creating an illustration?

The start. The well-known “fear of the first stroke”. But then I just have to give myself a jolt and it usually runs by itself.

Picture of a busy scene in Vienna for the project ‘Werkstadt junges Wien’

What do you do when you are not designing?

I enjoy cycling in summer. Especially in Vienna, I could combine this with swimming on the new Danube. Here, I still need to find an alternative to the Danube. In winter, I go skiing, of course.


What distinguishes a bad design from a really good one?

Sure, it often simply depends on your own taste, whether you think something is good or bad. But good design is about more than just the look itself. Branding in particular needs to be more thought through and you should thus always look at the whole picture before judging it. A logo, for example, can look rather unimpressive. But it looks great when combined with colours, fonts, design elements and a well thought-out way of using it. In contrast, there are also designs that appear to have been beautifully made at first glance, but which do not meet the client’s requirements and aesthetics at all.

Markus Fetz | Grafik Design & Illustration

Where do you get the inspiration for your drawings?

For my diploma thesis, I made illustrations based on old tourism posters, whose style I always found very attractive. This turned out to be successful – and not only for the diploma – so I was motivated to continue working on this style, which has developed from then until today … and will continue to develop. And I still like to look at old posters before I start working on some of them. Inspiration also comes from contemporary illustrators such as Mads Berg, Ray Oranges, DKNG Studios, etc. Not only to find inspiration, but also simply to look at beautiful works of other people and to appreciate them.


Thank you, Markus. We are looking forward to further projects with you! | Grafik Design & Illustration

(c) Markus Fetz

Zuger Säge – Corporate Design for the (soon again) water-powered sawmill in Zugertal