I was born on the countryside of Denmark—no brothers or sisters and no internet, so I spent endless time by myself drawing and listening to music. Music has always been a big part of my life—then and now. The first time I came across graphic design was by looking at album sleeves for the vinyls I bought... I could look at these for hours... the front, back – the spine – the way the lyrics would be designed on the inner sleeves. I had no idea what graphic design was—did not know anybody doing design or caring about design for that matter. But I loved looking at album covers and knew that this is what I wanted to do one day. One of the first design jobs I did was actually an album cover for a Danish band called Nephew who later would play the Roskilde Festival for around 80,000 people.
I am more or less self taught. The only time I have studied design (in school) was a brief semester at the School of Visual Arts in New York. But that was all it took to get me started—I was so hooked on design, art, illustrations that I just couldn’t stop doing design... got a computer and went crazy. I love working—love designing—if I haven't done any design for a few days I get in a bad mood.
My first jobs as a designer was doing artwork for the local record label, smaller publications for the local museum and look books for different fashion brands.
From an early stage on I decided that I wanted to work with art, music and fashion and that is more or less what I have been doing for 15 years now. The music scene has changed drastically and so has the fashion industry. Nowadays 90% of what I do is related to art. I work for museums, galleries and artists directly. Doing publications, posters, exhibition designs and occasionally identity work for museums.
I have tried out different sizes of the studio... at one point we were 5 people which made me super stressed out... to much administration. The perfect size for me is 3 people—2 designers (myself included) and an intern.
When I hire in younger designers—naturally I look for an interesting portfolio. Work that is new to me, contemporary looking but also good craftsmanship. I like students to have a humble attitude towards the industry—willing to learn and students who are curious by nature.
The way a graduate approaches a studio is very important to me—do they approach your studio because they really want to work with you—or are you just 1 out of 100 studios to receive their application. Most of the young designers who have been working for me have started out as an intern and ended up staying a few years. This is the best way to get your foot in the door in the design world I would say.
It is hard to pin down one or two projects. Often when I am done with a project I have a hard time looking at the result. I only see things I would have done differently. I am never 100% satisfied with my own work (and this is not false modesty). The highlights have always something to do with the process. Meeting interesting people, getting their input on your work – seeing and experiencing their way of working is a great gift to me every time.
Leave your ego behind and be open for whats about to happen. Clients are not your enemies—some of the smartest people I have worked with are my clients.