Author Archives: The Nordic Graphic Design

INTERVIEW: Four — Karin Idering, Designer and inspirer

Karin Idering

Designer and inspirer

  • Age: 34
  • Job situation: I’m taking a break right now. After working hard for 10 years I felt like a needed a breather, and to stop and think about what I actually want to do instead of doing what’s expected of me. So we’ll see that the future brings…
  • Best memory with design: I saw a poster years ago, around 2013 or 2014, and it was just the most beautiful work I’d seen. It was utter perfection. I tried to find out who’d made it and I finally tracked down this super small design agency called Chiii Design in Macau, which is a Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China. I emailed them in early 2015 and got a reply a couple of months later from this lady, Candy. Candy’s english wasn’t the best and we emailed back and forth for about 6 months, trying to understand each other. Finally, she offered to send me the poster but wanted me to pay for the shipping, which I of course was more than willing to do.Then things went quiet.In mid 2016 I emailed Candy again, asking how things were going and where I should send the payment for the shipping. No reply. Months went by and I emailed her a few more times. In early 2017 I got an reply from this other lady, Tracy, telling me that Candy no longer worked at Chiii Design. I don’t know if Candy had forwarded my emails to her? Anyway. I tried to explain the situation to Tracy and once again asked where I should send the shipment payment.Things went quiet again. And I began to lose faith. 

    In the fall 2017 I all of the sudden got a post notice telling me I had a package to pick up. I’d forgotten about the poster and had no idea what I had ordered. It’s not uncommon that I order things from Amazon and forget about them. When I saw the poster tube I still didn’t understand what it was, until I saw a small message written on the side of it. “Sorry for the lateness! Hope you like it. From Chiii Design.” The excitement! I couldn’t believe it.  I ran home to my apartment. With the tenderness of a mother holding her firstborn, I carefully opened the tube and there it was. The most beautiful poster I’ve ever seen, in my hands. It was exhilarating and I just couldn’t believe it. That it was right there, in my possession, after all these years of trying. The day after I went and got a frame for it and put it next to my bed, so it’d be the first thing I saw waking up in the morning. And it’s still there, on my bedroom wall, and I think it’ll probably be there forever. The most beautiful poster in the world.

  • Favourite font/typeface: Almost impossible to say, but I love Söderhavets type project, So Type. It consists of some really awesome typefaces.

You have chosen to have two different instagram profiles. One with your own work and one with inspirational posts by other designers. How come you wanted to do both? The Inspiration Seed account came alive because I kept on collecting inspiration at a lot of different places; saving images on my work phone/Mac and on my private devices. I just wanted to keep everything at one place and Inspiration Seed was born. It felt like an easy platform to work with. It’s really nice that people appreciate the account, but the purpose was never to get lots of followers, but to create a place for me to put up stuff I think is awesome.  NiceEasy was created when I felt I couldn’t be as artistic as I wanted to be at my day job, and I needed a side project to use as a outlet for my creativity.

When working with a poster, what is your main goal? (Deliver a message, show illustrations, etc.) Sometimes I just want to become better. Do something that doesn’t look like everything else out there. Because I think it’s a huge problem that so many designs look the same nowadays, which is one of the reasons I post so rarely on Inspiration Seed. I just think most of the things I see is uninteresting and I try to be different and find work by other artists that is different. Sometimes I’m just in a mood to create something. I usually don’t post messages or do too much stuff with an intent. Everything I post on Inspiration Seed and NiceEasy is just for me myself and I, never for anyone else.

When posting work from other designers, how do you chose what to post? Do you have a special theme or just posting the ones you like? I just post what I like and/or find interesting and unique.

More inspiration from Karin? Look here! Want to see her portfolio? Click here!

PROCESS POST: Week six — My audience

When creating this blog, I always thought my audience would be female graphic designers. People like me, looking for inspiration and tips, and maybe someone new to contact and learn from. When looking at my blog now and I can still see the same kind of audience being the ones reading my blog, that both makes me very happy but also a bit scared. To have an audience filled with skilled designers creates a lot of pressure on the look, design and functionality of my blog.

I do believe that you can see in my design that I have tried very hard to create an easy going feeling about all of it, but at the same time very organised. I want it to be easy to find specific posts if you only want to read a specific category, or if you just want to scroll trough it all. I chose early on to mark every post with both category, but also a special image for that special kind of post. If it is a Interview, there is a picture for that, if it a Process post, there is a picture for that. Every picture is also numbered to be even more specific with what the post is about and when it was published. I think why I did this is also because of my imagined audience. Designers always have a lot on their schedule, they always have a lot to do. Therefor I wanted my blog to be a place where they doesn’t have to look and search to find what they want, it should just be super quick and easy.

My blog also work as a kind of gallery, even though there is not a lot of different pictures. But the way my posts show on the first page, is a way to sooth the one reading, I chose a theme of nature pictures to create a calm, but also something more organic than just text in black and white. For me my imagined audience made me do many decisions different than if I hadn’t imagined whom would read my blog, and for me — that is a good thing!

PROCESS POST: Week six — Peer Review #2

Are you listening?

A podcast series

Are you listening are a blog for and about podcasts. Filled with reviews and tips about good podcasts, about many different subjects. The whole blog feels very professional but at the same time very personal. The design is thoughtful and well considered, and every post is well written and interesting. Garner Campbell talks about the function of having a blog as something more than just an assignment, it is a way to learn (The article mentioned can be found here: A Personal Cyberinfrastructure). I do feel that this blog has adapted this thought spot on. The blog itself is not only an assignment but a project filled with engagement and happiness.

In the article Digital Dressing Up by Tara Chittenden up the question about the todays online self. It is mentioned as “mediated interactions are reshaping processes of self-expression, identity-building and sociality“. Even though the article focuses on the face of a blog and not podcasts, I can relate this to that. Today podcasts are something very common to listen too, and therefor does Are you listening?  feel very relevant.

As for the design of the blog, it is very neatly done and with a feel of experience. You can easily find what you look for and the content itself is well organised. It is build up by a theme but customizations has been made to fit the focus of the blog — podcasts — better. The typo is mostly san serifs but also mixed with a header designed with hand scripted typo. It matches the modern theme of the blog and creates a beautiful balance. The layout is well thought of and shows that Sydney, the blogs creator, had a clear plan how she wanted the blog to look like. She have also linked her Instagram which makes the blog even more personal. When searching for different posts is easy to just scroll the feed or use the search function. The whole way the blog is structured makes it very comfortable to use. What I do think would be smart is to use the hand scripted typo in the header as the chosen typo in the headings in the posts — to create unity.

In the article Contents May Have Shifted by Erin Kissane, the different forms of text is mentioned.  She talks about the different changes that must and are taking place to keep websites and papers up to date regarding design. New forms and ideas are flowing and are maybe even here to stay. I feel the same abut the design and form of the blog. It is made with knowledge of design and knowledge of the audience, and that is what makes it a very high functioning website.

 

 

INTERVIEW: Three — Sandra Engström, Art Director at Glossybox Nordics

Sandra Engström

Art Director

  • Age: 29 years
  • Job situation: Art Director at Glossybox Nordics
  • Best memory with design: Seeing my first ad in a magazine was a big milestone!
  • Favourite font/typeface: A font that I love, and keep coming back to, is the serif Playfair Display.

How is it working for a big company like Glossybox?
Even if Glossybox is a global company, with markets in 10 countries, we are just 18 people working for the Nordic market from Stockholm. As the only Art Director and designer working for Sweden and Norway it rather feels like working at a small company. I work with a wide scope of many different kinds of design and have a lot of creative freedom.

What would you say is the best with your job?
The best part of my work is that I get to be creative every day! I love to design the packaging/box, you create a digital flat design on your screen and a few weeks later you have a physical prototype in your hands! And the idea that was once in your head is now a real thing, that over 50 000 customers will get in their mailboxes. That’s a great feeling!

How did you end up with this employment?
A close friend of mine work at the same company and told me they were hiring a designer, so I applied, hoped for the best, and got the job!

Working as an Art Director, what is your work assignments an ordinary work day?
It all starts with creating the concept and design for our boxes. When that is done we go into detail, planning our campaigns. My job is to come up with creative ideas for and directing photo shoots. When the images are done I produce the visuals for our digital campaigns for both internal and external channels. In addition to the campaigns I also support the team with all types of graphics such as magazines, presentations, leaflets, signs for events, invitations, images for our webpage, logos etc.

Would you say that the design branch is man dominated or neutral? Why do you think that? I have no personal experience of the design role being dominated by men. I know and have worked with both male and female designers. However when studying my bachelor in graphic design it was 75 % women and 25 % men in my class so even if it has been male dominated in the past it might be a shift coming!

Want more inspiration? Sandra recommends this!

PROCESS POST: Week Five — A website

A website that I frequently visit is kind of a hard question to answer. I am not that big of a fan of specific websites or blogs in that matter. But a website I do visit quite often is the website of my student organisation back home in Sweden. But this is mainly because I want to know what happens there and if there is something I need to know. Therefor, this will be the website I will look closer at, regarding design elements and what works and what doesn’t.

Helsingkrona Nation — Website 

The website itself is build to be a site filled with information. Information that is relevant and good to have in the student life in Lund. The website is created and updated by the student organisation Helsingkrona Nation, that want to spread out their message of welcomeness and to attract as many students as possible.

 

Even though I can see that the website do what it is meant to do — give information and attract students — there is  a few design misstakes I see quite fast. The website is consistent with its colors and use both images and text to give out its message, that is a really good thing. But in many places the placements of different components feels wrong and even a bit messy: The calendar, the illustrations with a message attach and the event calendar as well. I would like to see more structure and balance between different parts of the website, and smarter use of the white spaces.

I like the use of a big header with different pictures filled with life and happiness, that sends out the message that the place is somewhere you want to be a part of. But to actually find information about what the place itself is about, is quite hard. That makes me wonder if the website itself is only a fasade and that the place is not as good as they try to look like. But as a website built by students trying to get others to be a part of their student organisation, it is pretty good. I like the website itself, it is good looking and functions to its means. There is a few things that could be better, but what website is a hundred percent perfect anyways?

Want to visit the website? Click here!

INTERVIEW: Two — Louise Henning, Designer and creator

Louise Henning

Designer and creator

  • Age: 30
  • Job situation: Art Director student & freelance Illustrator and graphic designer
  • Best memory with design: The first time I understood designing makes me happy. I remember drawing on my drawing pad and everything around me just went away for a moment, like mindfulness.
  • Favourite font/typeface: I must say I love a good old Futura.

What is your first priority when taking jobs? What is your favourite job to do? I make sure I understand the client, I think that the most important thing when working for someone else. I’d rather have too much info about their brand than to little. I love to work with branding. One of my favourite things to do is to organize and when working with branding you go all the way down to the core and clean it up – make it clear.

What is the most important thing to have in your portfolio to get jobs? Do you have different portfolios for different work? I have one portfolio to show when I’m looking for jobs. Of course I choose the cases most relevant for the job but I don’t hide the other stuff, for me it’s important that they see the whole me. I think the most important thing in my portfolio is that it is cohesive. No matter what case or job I made – you could get the sense that I’m the designer.

Would you say that the design branch is man dominated or neutral? Why do you think that? I have more experience of the advertising branch and I have the perception of it being man dominated – lot of the good old guys still hanging in there. I think there just needs to be a shift, we have to get out of the old way of thinking and just embrace the right way. Women are taking place and it makes me so proud and happy.

More inspiration from Louise? Of course: Just click here!

PROCESS POST: Week four— Peer Review #1

Train, Eat, Sleep, Repeat

 An Exploration of the Fitness Lifestyle

The blog is not only about training and the daily routine of Chris Pham, but focuses on inspire others to take action and start their journey to a more healthier lifestyle. The blog has an easy going design which make it easy to follow the different blog post and also to chose what in the blog you want to read. The posts are both text and pictures, the picture usually an inspirational meme. The blogs main theme is to inspire and give a lot of tips, which I do think it really does. Me as a person is not the one that visit the gym as a daily routine or think a second time about what I eat, but reading the different posts make me wonder if I should try to change my daily lifestyle. If the blog can even make me think a second time about my daily routine, that is a big compliment. Regarding the design of the blog I do see some things that can be improved. Maybe some more color — in both pictures and text — can make the blog more interesting and inspiring for readers visiting the blog for the first time. I do think that the posts are well written and I can see that there has been a lot of thought put in all of them.

As Garner Campbell writes in his article A Personal Cyberinfrastructure, to create and manage the blog is not only an assignment but a way to learn. Campbell writes “Students with this kind of digital fluency will be well-prepared for creative and responsible leadership in the post-Gutenberg age”, which in this case describes the blog perfectly. Even if Train, Eat, Sleep, Repeat is created by a student for a school course, and its writer Chris can not — as he mentions — claim the title of a personal trainer, this is his chans to inspire others and to make his name recognisable in the blog community of fitness. Like Debbie Chachra discuss in the article Why I Am Not a Maker, the act as an educator does not make you a maker, but something else. I would say that this blog is just that: a way to inspire and be something else. To go outside your comfort zone and create something bigger, but in the same way with a very clear path and with something the author is comfortable with — fitness.  Chris consider his online persona a lot different than his offline one, and I can see a interesting development of the online one already. From the first post to the last, they have become more personal and also more confident. Just as Craig Mod says in his article How I Got My Attention Back the now daily routine is a very online one. To actually take a step back and chose the offline way must be an active choice. As Chris mentions this is something that is difficult: it is today hard to not be online. I wonder if his online persona might think differently since the blog is abut fitness and actually doing something else than just constantly being online. I look forward to follow the blog and get more active, since I do believe that is something that most likely will happen.

Interested in reading Chris blog? Just click here!

 

 

INTERVIEW — Denise Kalonji, Creator and illustrator

Denise Kalonji

Creator and illustrator

  • Age: 25 years
  • Job situation: Ex student, jobb applicant
  • Best memory with design: I’m not sure I have a ‘’best’’ one yet? There was this one time in upper-secondary-high school we had to design and create our own art pieces over a year based upon the course on politics and socioeconomics we’ve had, it resulted in a big artshow when we were done so that was a lot of fun.
  • Favourite font/typeface: Trebuchet/Arial

What would you say that you illustrations look like (happy, sad, etc.)? Do you have a special theme or is every illustration different from the other?  A lot of people tell me that my illustrations make them feel happy and since I try to work with colors and expression a lot I would say that is the feeling I’m trying to convey in most of my pictures. Though, usually I have some sort of story behind my drawings, even if it’s just a sketch so ultimately I would say that it depends. People often says my style is reminiscent of the ‘’anime’’ style, which I fully understand as I grew up watching a lot of anime and a lot of my favourite artists use that style, I myself wouldn’t describe it as ‘’anime’’ only but a combination of many different styles as well, like western and realism. 

When working with an illustration; Do you have a plan what you want to do with the character, or do you just get an idea and create one? Since I’ve attended animation school twice I have a bit of a habit to at least start thumb nailing whatever I want to start with first, that way I have an easier time visualising multiple ideas next to each other physically (as I usually start on a piece of paper). When it comes to characters it depends a bit more on what I’m designing them for, if I’m designing them for one of my stories I might want to plan out their personalities and then name search a fitting name in that order and then design their physical appearance after all of that together – but if it’s a one-shot character for kicks I’ll usually just go with something I’ve seen that’s inspired me (usually fashion-wise) prior and draw my favourite parts of it.

Working with illustrations, what is you main goal to achieve? (Get published, make a book, etc.) My main goal has always to successfully pitch one of my stories to an animation studio and work with them as a key-animator or a story boarder, character designer or producer – I’ve always liked drawing and telling stories so this path in life has more or less always felt natural to me – I’ve been thinking of making books, doing comics, which is still something I’m trying to pursue, but to me animation is so much closer to movies where you can tell a story simply by using movement and sound – you can’t really do that with pictures alone, well unless you put it together and edit it in a video editing program of course. Right now I’m however trying to focus on my temporary goals, which is to extend my portfolio and get hired for my skills in a studio where my art style is wanted.

 

Want to see more? Highly recommend it!

MINI ASSIGNMENT — Two

Hi all my kitties, Selina talking.

I hope you are all doing well, I am just doing fantastic. Last night I visited a small party downtown, filled with rich guys all trying to find a lady for the night. Unfortunately for them, many of them tried to “find” me. Wow gals, there was a lot of expensive things for me to take over. The men didn’t even know what hit them, as soon as they were getting closer to figure me out, I disappeared. When leaving the party it didn’t just leave a lot richer and filled with expensive champagne, but also ready for the next adventure. The next adventure you ask? No my dear, that’s not my secret to tell. But it does include both pretty cars and handsome men — and maybe, a bat.

I tell you more about it next time.

 

Xoxo,

Catwoman