Hugo Puttaert (°1960) is a graphic designer, curator, professor and critical writer, active in Antwerp and Brussels, where his studio is located. During his studies in Fine Arts and Art Education, he immediately became fascinated by the complex relationship between art and design, after which his artistic career gradually evolved into a distinct design practice. Since then, he and his studio visionandfactory have developed comprehensive design solutions amidst a rapidly evolving economic, technological and cultural/artistic market. The studio became known for its atypical approach that combines strategic, conceptual and visual research. Beaten paths are always challenged, often leading to unexpected results and varying collaborations. From a universal and social consciousness, HP organized seven legendary Integrated conferences, from 2007 to 2019 (deSingel, Antwerp), curated exhibitions, published Addmagazine and gave numerous workshops. In doing so, he does not shy away from collaborating with fellow lecturers, students, other designers and studios. Currently, as a professor, HP focuses on a hybrid educational environment in which critical thinking and design are inextricably intertwined. HP also writes essays and has authored or co-authored several books on visual culture and graphic design. In 2014, MER Paper Kunsthalle published the book 'Think in Colour' about 25 years of visionandfactory, written by Steven Cleeren and introduced by Rick Poynor.
HP currently teaches at the St Lucas School of Arts, Antwerp. He supervises master students in two contexts (Autonomous and Applied) and coordinates the graphic design studio. At the same institute he was also active as head of the graphic design department, researcher, founder of YellowPress (a research/publishing platform), co-founder of the research group The Hybrid Designer and responsible for the biannual Integrated Conferences in deSingel, Antwerp. He is also a guest lecturer at the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Visuels de La Cambre, Brussels, Plantin Institute for Typography, Antwerp, and has given master classes and workshops at various art institutes, including OTIS (Los Angeles), Ringling University (Sarasota), Aalto University (Helsinki), Royal Academy of Art (The Hague) and Marmara University (Istanbul).
In 2023, HP launched the educational project "Unfollow the leader," a compilation in which students explore, imagine and comment on the recent history of graphic design. 'Unfollow the leader' reads like the sparring partner of the legendary book 'Obey the Giant' (Rick Poynor, 2001) and critically reflects on dominant thinking and the omnipotence of media, influencers and likes. For this very reason, HP advocates an unbiased view, away from calibrated patterns of thinking, whatever they may be.
Although he has a dual relationship with 'the spotlights,' HP has given many lectures worldwide, including in Amsterdam, Berlin, Helsinki, Istanbul, Lahti, London, Los Angeles, Rotterdam, San Francisco, Sarasota, The Hague, etc. As the organiser and programme director of the Integrated Conferences, which he organised seven times between 2007 and 2019, HP stated the following about the design: "The concept is that there is no concept. In other words, the conference should not have one branding. Therefore, each edition is redefined and redesigned from scratch. We want to show a transition instead of sticking to one brand. In my opinion, our society is 'over-branded'. With my studio, we have contributed to that to a certain extent, but at the same time, we always asked ourselves the same question: Is this really necessary? Should we rebrand? Deciding not to redesign is perhaps the ultimate tribute to existing and strong designs. In this matter, we respect our predecessors. In connection with the so-called 'branding' of Integrated, this may sound contradictory, since we design a new system for each conference, but it is not. It is a kind of mirror we want to hold up to designers worldwide: stay sharp and design when you feel it is appropriate. Innovate, but don't do it if you don't have to. And be deliberate in using mockup tools, because slick design is boring."
Visionandfactory has worked for, among others: Arctic Paper, Arjowiggins, Beursschouwburg, Brussels Airport Company, C-Cure, Contrapunt, Cultuurcentrum Hasselt, Cultuurnet, Design Flanders, Dolmen, Eflavours, Erfgoedwijzer, Fedma, Fonteyn Wouters, FontShop International, Galerie De Ziener, GPG Papier, Graphius, Greenpeace, Ingram Micro, Intensia, KunstenFestivaldesArts, KMSKA Antwerp, Kaaitheater, Kristof De Clercq Gallery, KU Leuven, Lannoo, LCI Technology Group, Literarte, Living Tomorrow, MAP Group, Muxum, NMBS Holding, Paper Chain Forum, Papyrus international, Prevent, Prospekta, Rode Kruis Vlaanderen, Sappi Europe, Soft Cell, SOS Kinderdorpen, Stora Enso International, Swift, Stichting Stad & Architectuur, United Distillers, University of Antwerp, Van Reybrouck Accountants, Vlaams-Nederlands Huis deBuren, Vlaamse Opera, Vlaamse Landmaatschappij, Voka, Vlaams Netwerk van ondernemingen and WWF.
Staff and trainees over the years (in alphabetical order): Stefan Algoet, Sofie Apers, Els Bauwelinck, Imane Benyoussef, Lies Bosman, Christophe Clarijs, Kurt Cornelis, Jelmer Dam, Kris De Bruyne, Gerda De Ceukelaire, Hilde De Ceukelaire, Isabelle De Graeve, Ellen De Jong, Ilka Deltrap, Arne De Schouwer, Tom De Smedt, Stijn Druyts, Michel Elands, Katleen François, Joeri Gielis, Kathrin Gleidner, Nico Goossens, Patrick Hannaert, Tom Hautekiet, Christophe Heylen, Philippe Hulet, Johan Jacobs, Maryvonne Jacobs, Dave Jans, Dimitri Jeannottat, Nathalie Kronal, Jan Lemaire, Marcel Lennartz, Christophe Liekens, Linde Luyten, Katrien Malfroid, Jelle Maréchal, Kim Matthé, Marjeta Morinc, Chiara Mutticelli, Tom Nulens, Camille Oberlé, Lorine Perrin, Nico Potvin, Nico Rein, Ronny Reuman, Elke Scholliers, Thomas Schoofs, Sebastiaan Smets, Sean Loring Smith, Tom Suykens, Winnie Tsjang, Roel Van Bouwel, Joris Van de Perre, Johny Van de Vyver, Bavo Van Hecke, Tom Van Iersel, Mark van Varik, Bart Verbist, Thomas Verlinden, Elise Verstraete, Pieterjan Volckaert & Fenna Zamouri.
This website is the fifth in the history of visionandfactory. The site was designed and developed by Matthias Deckx, who combines thoughtful and functional design with state-of-the-art technology. However, you won't find any digitally orchestrated or spectacular mock-ups here, although all the work since the studio was founded in 1990 has been digitally designed.