When I met with the makers of Leo and Sag, an Etsy design studio, I found myself sat across from two incredibly dedicated and passionate women. Best friends Katrin and Elsa create printables which are not only covered in beautiful typographies but also carry strong, meaningful messages that radically advocate for social equality.
Their poster embedded with the phrase “Fight like a girl” embodies their beliefs in fighting for equal rights for women. Yet, their work also includes the non-binary community, as they aim to challenge socially constructed restraints on gender identity and expression. They believe in a future where such social constructs are historic notions and everyone is embraced for who they truly are. Their artwork, therefore, aims to reveal the problems with taking for granted what we see as ‘normal’ today – such as gender boundaries or ideas of what an ‘acceptable’ body shape is.
Elsa and Katrin hope that their artwork can serve as a starting point for conversations relating to important issues today that undermine social equality, particularly in relation to feminism and fat-acceptance movements. Elsa mentions how her “ father came over and saw that I had the ‘the future is non-binary’ poster. He didn’t really understand it but it opened up a point of discussion for me to teach him about its meaning”. Although these conversations may seem trivial, they are in fact contributing to a wider societal discourse. By encouraging discussion, Leo and Sag use their artwork to fight for social equality for all.
One of the reasons why Leo and Sag do what they do is because of the impact and inspiration they are able to instill within individuals who may not feel accepted within society. Their recent appearance at the ‘Sexpression’ fair on campus signalled the impact of their artwork when a non-binary student discovered their printables as something they were able to relate to. “It made me so happy to actually see that student’s eyes light up the minute they saw our printables because that is exactly the impact we want to make with our art”, says Katrin. Their genuine desire to create impact in a socially constrained world is truly inspiring.
Their style of art is minimalistic and monochromatic because they want to move away from the overpowering flavour of bright colours and bring attention to the typography within their artwork. Through simplicity, they are able to avoid detracting attention from the message of equality they hope to spread.
Elsa and Katrin admit that a lot of larger companies use similar quotes in their products, but they argue that the difference between themselves and these corporations is the pure dedication behind their artwork. “These bigger companies don’t care about the meanings behind these phrases. To them, this is all just a new trend”, says Katrin. Therefore, while money-making giants adopt these sayings for the purpose of merely “jumping on the bandwagon”, Leo and Sag are truly passionate about the value of their messages. Each of their designs are carefully crafted and stem from a creative process in which both artists find inspiration from their surroundings.
Rather than setting a strict timetable for themselves to complete certain projects or forcing themselves to think of a concept, they allow sources of inspiration to flow naturally. Additionally, Elsa’s background as an artist and Katrin’s love of graphic design complement each other nicely to produce their unique pieces of art. The pair of best friends are so in sync that they often conjure up similar designs themselves.
Despite their success today, the decision to open up an Etsy shop was very much a spur-of-the moment decision. The duo bravely took the first step in establishing Leo and Sag without any set plan, except for their robust beliefs in advocating for feminism, fat-acceptance and overall social equality. Elsa quit her job in pursuit of this and went on a road trip with Katrin which prompted them to start up Leo and Sag. Today, their Etsy shop has evolved into a platform which distributes empowering art made by creators who remain genuinely passionate and resilient in the fight for equality for all. To support Leo and Sag, be sure to head over to their Etsy shop to browse their amazing artwork.
Image: (katrin-lange) via (katrin-lange.de)