Jan grew up 300km away from Biel, in Ulm, Germany. He attended Stuttgart University's architecture school, and graduated from the State Academy of Art & Design Stuttgart in communication design in 2001. He moved to New York in late 2000 to start karlssonwilker, a design studio he co-founded together with Icelander Hjalti Karlsson. They work on a wide variety of projects for an eclectic mix of cultural and commercial clients, from local non-profits to global corporations. Jan has taught at Cooper Union, School of Visual Arts, and Parsons, and he frequently lectures and holds workshops around the world.