The Importance of Thinking Problems Through to the End
My interest in visual communication comes from a basic sense of wonder at letters, signs and symbols. As a child letters were abstract, unintelligible forms to me, so I found it easier to appreciate and understand art and design that used colours and composition to convey messages and feelings visually.
My decision to study design was based on a desire for an academic education with room for contemplation. At Design School Kolding there was space to ask questions, engage in research-based projects, reflect on design through critical design projects and experiment with design systems through service and identity design among others.
Pure aesthetics is always seductive, but it has never been my main interest. I use design as a tool to examine the world, ask questions and find answers.
What have I learnt until now?
As a graphic designer driven by curiosity and restlessness I have travelled widely inside and outside my field of work, being involved in motion graphic and video design, typography and linguistics, spatial design, culture design and branding.
In 2008 I collaborated with Hotel Pro Forma for the first time creating video projections to the Darwin- inspired opera ‘Imorgen om et år’ (Tomorrow in a Year). This is where the director Kirsten Dehlholm taught me what it really means to ‘kill your darling’ and be open to improvements right up until opening night. But more than anything else I learnt that it is possible to deal with the most profound and unfathomable topics through art.
As part of my studies I had an internship with Glen Cummings in New York, the former Vice President of AIGA NY and founder of the bureau MTWTF, where I worked with wayfinding in cultural institutions. It involved both classic graphic design and complex systems. If I was stuck in a task Glen always gave me the following advice: “Try another approach.” That is the best piece of advice I have ever received as a designer and one that I like to pass on.
When I graduated with a Master’s degree from Design School Kolding my graduation project consisted solely of questions and experiments. The assignment did not provide an end result, just more questions. My work was well received and created a debate among those to whom I presented it. It was an eye opener for me to realise that the quality of an assignment is not only defined by how integrated the answer is, but rather how interesting and relevant the question is.
After having worked independently for two years I had the opportunity to collaborate with my former mentor, Mads Quistgaard, and his partner, Christian Pagh, in Urgent.Agency. Here I worked with branding for large corporations, among other things, and I recognised the potential of using branding to sharpen the focus of the business, create value for the end users and also generate culture and identity for groups of citizens. It took me a long time to appreciate branding as a tool to create positive change in the world, but it has now become my most important motivation.
My current position
I am currently living in Amsterdam where I’m the Art Director for ECCO Shoes Innovation Department. I want to help companies that create quality for their end users by effecting design solutions based on an understanding of the world they live in, of the users and of the consequences of these solutions in the long term.