Marina Willer is a Graphic Designer, filmmaker, Partner at Pentagram Design, and Branding Jury President at the 2017 D&AD Awards. In other words, one very busy creative. She shares an insight into her world by telling us about her typical day – if there is such a thing.
No stranger to multi-tasking and to wearing multiple hats every day, Marina Willer shares with us an intimate vignette of her life. People always ask what it’s like to be a partner at Pentagram, and of course I always tell them it’s great. But add to that being a mother of nine-year-old twin boys and making a feature film… Well, let’s just say things can get pretty crazy.
I wake up around 7am and my head is exploding. Today the twins are fighting about underpants. Yesterday, the twins were fighting about socks. After some rudimentary conflict resolution, I realise that I don’t actually know what day it is.
I worked very late last night, which is becoming quite a regular occurrence lately.
I make the twins’ packed lunch and listen to their crazy poetry over breakfast, which is usually toast, fruit, yogurt – whatever’s going. My husband Stu is looking cool in his cycle gear, ready to set off to his design studio, Nomad. We survive this mad house together.
For reasons unbeknown to anyone, including myself, I decide to vacuum the living room while one of the boys, Alfie, explains how black holes and white holes in space are like friends. Stu walks in and kindly informs me that vacuum cleaners need to be turned on in order to work properly. I must be tired…
Cycling is usually my favourite part of the day. Most mornings, I tend to leave our home in Dalston at around 8am to ride the 18km to the office in Notting Hill. Most of the journey is along the canal paths. It’s so calm, and a beautiful privilege of living in London.
Today, though, the nanny is running late, so I drive instead. I pick up coffee at Allpress Espresso Bar, put it on top of the car – then drive off, forgetting all about it until later. On the way, I run through a presentation I’m giving for The Design Museum. My team and I are designing their Ferrari exhibition.
Then I switch to making a mental list of the credits for my feature film, Red Trees. It’s my debut feature and not far from being finished. The first screening will be at the Cannes Film Festival in May.
It’s a documentary exploring the current refugee crisis by telling the story of my own family, who were one of only 12 Jewish families to survive the Nazi occupation of Prague. It follows their journey from the Czech Republic to starting a new life in Brazil.
It means a lot to me and it also terrifies me. Although I’ve been directing short films for many years, doing a full-length feature feels like running naked on the streets.
By the time I arrive at Pentagram, around 9.30am, I’m already mentally exhausted. Then I notice I have stains on my shirt from the twins’ toothpaste. Ideal for a Ferrari presentation…
I spend the day working with my team (there are six of us currently) on many wonderful projects that are all happening at the same time – it feels like synchronised swimming. Beautiful, but hard work.
At the moment we’re working on an amazing fruit and culture market in Miami, an exhibition about Manga for the Barbican, a film for Richard Rogers, a visual identity for a phenomenal lighting company in Spain, an exhibition of Adrián Villar Rojas in Athens, a campaign for Second Home, and ongoing work for Maggie’s identity, which is about to launch.
We all go downstairs to the canteen and eat lunch together at exactly 1pm for an hour. That’s Pentagram.
I leave at around 7pm and catch the tube home. Later that evening, I remember that I drove to work. Just one of those days.