Hi Jacob and Steven. Thanks for chatting with us! How are you both?
I’m great. Just went through a super busy period of work and now enjoying a slightly calmer daily routine.
Fabulous! Thanks for asking.
Could you tell us a bit about your creative practice?
I’m an independent graphic designer and creative director based in Berlin, Germany. I’m originally from Copenhagen, Denmark, and know a lot of wonderful people in Scandinavia, so my clients are mostly from that region. I mainly work with fashion, luxury and culture clients, and particularly those who are transforming their businesses into being more aware of the pressures we are putting on our planet.
It’s been a journey. After leaving uni in Barcelona I co-founded La Casa de Carlota, a design studio that specialises in collaborating with neurodiverse designers. La Casa has done an amazing job at challenging the status quo with a different way of thinking – some great work for great brands has come out from this experience.
After moving to London, I spent most of my early years working in big agencies for brands like Nespresso, Ferrari and Adidas. A bit tired of the old “agency” model, I decided to become a freelance creative and focus on smaller clients with bigger ambitions. This is what I’ve been doing for the last couple of years, joining forces with my creative partner Ben Parish.
I’m currently really into photography and art direction, trying to get my teeth stuck into any exciting (and weird) collaborations coming my way. So hit me up!
How has COVID-19, or 2020 in general, impacted your creativity and mental wellbeing?
Not being able to see friends and family or engage in culture like I’m used to, has been a challenge. But the summer was nice and Berlin is great without tourists. I’ve been very lucky work-wise – I’ve had my busiest year this year.
A lot of fashion brands haven’t been able to showcase their work physically this year so they’ve turned to digital presentations, which I’ve done a couple of. I’ve also been fortunate enough to do some very nice visual identity projects for upcoming brands that saw this crisis as a good time for launching their own thing.
The first two weeks of lockdown caused everyone to enter into panic mode, I got a bit nervous about the uncertainty ahead of us. Things did pick up soon after and it has been non-stop ever since. In fact, it’s been my busiest year so far.
Now more than ever, brands realise that there’s an increased need to stay relevant and are looking to establish healthier relationships with their audiences. In many cases, it means readjusting to a new reality and that keeps me creatively challenged and excited!
Extra work means less time for self-care which can be dangerous, especially now that we can’t meet for a beer at the pub. It’s been so easy to fall into unhealthy habits. I’m proactively trying to stay on top of my mental wellbeing – making sure I schedule in breaks from zoom calls, daily walks and deep conversations with my pug Chichi.
What have you changed in your life lately to make it more enjoyable?
I will be taking a full month off from work in December where I will be running much more outside. I also bought a keyboard and will start making music again. Also, the alarm clock will not be active for the next 45 days or so.
I’ve been enjoying the perks of remote work more than ever! I’ve travelled around Europe working from different (sunnier) locations, which has been amazing.
I’m also trying to consciously follow my gut feeling a bit more. As creatives, we can go around in circles trying to find the perfect idea (which sorry to break it to you, doesn’t exist). Sometimes it’s first thought that’s the winner! Or at least…I try to tell myself that every day. Getting rid of those self-created pressures can make the journey so much enjoyable, which in the end is what we’re all here for.
Oh. And being able to sleep more than five hours a day.
As an industry, how do you think we can better support creatives and their mental health? How do we bring about Collective Hope?
Tough question. I think that the constant, superficial pressure of graphic design Instagram is making a lot of talented people a lot less confident and is driving bad, uninteresting trends to over-saturation. Perhaps an Insta detox movement? A hopeful thought: The world will always need creatives in some way or another.
We are the toughest critics. I think that sometimes we forget the pressure we go through as creatives and lack empathy when judging someone else’s work. We’re not performing open-heart surgery, so let’s have fun! Let’s give likes to everyone on Instagram!
Our industry tends to carry overwork and tiredness as a badge of honour, we need to change that and create spaces that encourage a healthier creative process. One based on support instead of competitiveness, I think that Collective Hope is a great example of this.
Lastly, what has working on this project meant to you?
It was great to collaborate with a talented and nice designer, who was not in my immediate proximity. It proved to me that physical space is not necessarily a barrier. This makes me very optimistic about the future, because we must all get used to travelling much less in the coming years.
It took a global pandemic (and Collective Hope) for many of us to understand the power of collaboration. The current reality has “forced” all of us to work in different ways, only to realise it wasn’t that bad and positive things can come out of it. I can collaborate with Jacob from Berlin but maybe next year with someone based in Tokyo. That’s the beauty of the times we live in – we’re now closer than ever! I love that a project like this is celebrating this new reality.