Ueno

Ueno Design Lead Jenny Johannesson has an amazing story behind her career. She tells us about making the move from studying economics to studying at Hyper Island (yes, it's a real school), we talk about all things internships (and pre-internship internships), that time she designed an ice cream truck, and she ends with some of my favourite advice for students heading towards graduation.

Where did you study and what were some of your first jobs?

I started to study design in high school by taking additional courses besides my core curriculum in economics. My web design teacher Martin Hejdesten was extremely encouraging, and tried to convince me to continue my path in design. However, I didn’t think “Designer” sounded like a real job, and began my university studies in Economics. After a few months I realised what a mistake I made, and I had to sit my parents down to break the news.

“I’m going to Hyper Island. Yes dad, it’s a real school.” I studied at the two year Digital Media program in the south of Sweden, where six months were dedicated to an internship. Miraculously I managed to land an internship at Tribal DDB in Amsterdam – through a phone call! Ah, the good ol’ days. I was so nervous about this internship I decided to do a pre-internship internship at a design studio in my hometown called Dynamic Dog. Both of them worked out great and I ended up getting a job at Tribal DDB, where I stayed for almost six years!

Whats your take on internships?

I strongly recommend everyone to do an internship. It’s a great opportunity to get a foot in the door and learn from all the people you look up to. Don’t be afraid to take up space and ask questions about EVERYTHING! Be a shoulder beast, ask people to show you tips and tricks, create something crazy and ask for feedback, this is your prime time to suck up all that knowledge everyone is sitting on.

We’ve got an intern joining us at Ueno in a few weeks, so we currently don’t have any open internship positions. But you should keep your eyes open on our website!

Design work by Ueno The Design Kids interviews Ueno work-2

Give us the elevator pitch on what you do.

I call myself a digital designer, which mostly means my work lives on different screens. My background is in advertising, but I stretch myself in to many areas of design. I’ve designed everything from traditional billboards, booklets, apps, campaigns and e-commerce sites, to airplane headrest covers. I’ve art directed kids movies and I even designed an ice cream truck. The last half of my career I’ve grown a lot in branding. I enjoy doing a little bit of everything!

What do you look for in a great client?

I enjoy projects that call for something new. Like a company doing a rebrand or launching a new fancy product. For projects like these, I appreciate when the clients are brave and want to create something new. In theory, everyone wants new things, but in practice it can be a challenge to get someone to approve your sketch in order to go in to production. It’s much easier to just show something that already exists. Therefore I value clients who are willing to take that leap of faith.

Design work by Ueno The Design Kids interviews Ueno work-4
Design work by Ueno The Design Kids interviews Ueno work-4

Don’t be an asshole. Your network is going to be the most valuable thing for your career. Your classmate might be the one hiring you one day.

What is the design landscape like in your city and where do you fit in?

Naturally because of Silicon Valley, the design scene in San Francisco is extremely techy. Everything is about apps and how you can make more people push your gradient buttons. I believe this is why I’m standing out in this city specifically. I care mostly about expressing feelings through design or visually telling a story. I don’t want my designs to blend in. With that said, our industry is not limited to where on earth we decided to place our ass. Clients come to us from many corners of the world, and we’re only a web conference away.

What advice would you give students graduating in 2018/19?

Don’t be an asshole. Your network is going to be the most valuable thing for your career. Your classmate might be the one hiring you one day.

Design work by Ueno The Design Kids interviews Ueno work-6
Design work by Ueno The Design Kids interviews Ueno work-6

Where to find Ueno online.

Website: jennyjohannesson.com

Instagram: @chopse

Twitter: @chopse

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