For four issues of this newsletter, we’re introducing the people behind Village One – one person at a time, in no particular order, giving you a little glimpse into who we are and why we founded this cooperative.
Apr 13, 2023; updated on Apr 14, 2023
This week, we asked Christoph our questions, and here is what he said:
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself. Who are you, and what did you do before joining Village One?
When I was a teenager, my dad gave me a book called “Making websites with HTML.” I was not aware at the time, but I guess that book really played a significant role in who I am today, ha! School was not my strong suit back then; I preferred drawing and spending time at my computer. At age 15 I got into blogging and web design, and I’ve been writing a personal blog since 2006. Things turned out as they had to, and eventually, I moved to Berlin to study something called “interaction design”—my perfect blend of visual design and computer stuff. One of my professors at university once described me as “thoughtful and quiet, yet open-minded.” I think that description still fits me very well.
In 2010 I got into the tech and design scene in Berlin. It still felt very indie back then; lots of free meetups and friendly people all around. As I’ve always worked on the intersection between editorial and interface design, I landed my first job at Edenspiekermann, where I met Harry and Fei. I worked with many editorial clients, especially Zeit Online, which I later on joined as their in-house design director. In 2018, I finished my M.A. studies in design and media theory, and in 2020, I focused on my freelance career full-time.
I’ve always enjoyed a mix of creative work: I love illustration, designing books, writing, and, obviously: making websites! I think it’s very interesting how the role of design changes in all these areas, and how we as designers adapt to it.
2. What motivated you to join the Village One Co-op?
When I left my last full-time employment, it was clear to me that I didn’t want to take on a classical agency job in the near future. I’ve always had great employers and teammates, but I didn’t like that I wasn’t entirely in control of my time and rhythm, and that in the end, it wasn’t really up to me who I worked for.
Village One really is a utopian idea: Working remotely, async, with a very clear set of values, and maybe most importanly: with truly distributed power among all team members, is something very progressive. To me, it’s actually a mystery how the cooperative as a company form has such a dusty image. It definitely is the most inclusive, future-forward format for a small company!
3. How does your work day usually look like?
I am a morning person, but I am a very slow morning person. I like to get up early, have coffee and enjoy a long breakfast, listening to podcasts, writing, or doing my personal correspondence. I really do not like being rushed. Usually, I have two focused sets of work during the day: one during the morning, and one in the afternoon or later in the evening, depending on my plans. I recently started to work with timers, which allow me to carve our focused slots more easily, and fight all those modern-day distractions. Usually, my work day ends by doing 30 minutes of emails, messaging and, most importantly, desk cleaning—it helps my brain to unwind.
4. What do you do when you're not sitting in front of a computer screen?
In summer, I spend a lot of time cycling through the city, meeting friends and enjoying the German tradition of “Kaffeekränzchen”. Besides that, I do spend too much time in front of screens also outside of work; I’m trying to cut that time by getting rid of social media and (algorithmic) timelines in general. I think they’re just a horrible format for consuming stuff. I enjoy reading blogs and magazines, novels and short stories. I occasionally participate in creative writing and portrait drawing groups, and I sometimes also teach writing, for example the Writing = Design workshop at the University of the Arts. Working with students and curious people always makes me learn something new, too.