Call for entries: The International Design Awards early-bird deadline is August 14.
Former Sagmeister & Walsh intern and current freelance designer Rikke Elverdam brings handmade type, artful side projects and fresh inspiration to this week’s edition of Designer of the Week.
Name: Rikke Elverdam
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Design school attended: The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts
How would you describe your work?
I’d much rather describe how I aim for it to be. I want to do clever work, and I always try to find a twist of some sort. A lot of the work I do ends up being partly handmade. I like diversity in materials, techniques and tools, and at the beginning of a project everything is up in the air.
Where do you find inspiration?
There is inspiration to be found in everything. I rarely go searching for it; it comes from everything you see and do, if you are curious. However, to listen to people talk about their passions is truly inspiring. Really knowing something makes every subject interesting. Fly fishing, coffee, christmas trees, you name it—the best inspiration comes from outside the world of design.
Who are some of your favorite designers or artists?
A few years back I was fortunate enough to intern at Sagmeister & Walsh; I love their work. I was amazed by how talented Jessica Walsh is. She would take one look and could see exactly what needed to be changed. The team was quite small back then; they all had different approaches to design, and all of them were incredibly talented. Santiago Carrasquilla, Wade Jeffree, Morey Talmor and Zipeng Zhu—I could fill pages with names of people whose work I admire, there’s so much talent anywhere you look.
Do you have a favorite among all the projects you’ve worked on?
I always get fed up with my own projects. But if I had to choose one, it would be a project I did making posters that would change appearance over time. I did a few different ones; most of them changed expression in contact with water—since we have plenty of rain in Denmark. My favorite was this wood veneer poster that looked different between wet and dry.
Is there a project that stands out to you as having been the biggest challenge of your career so far?
A few years back I did a Christmas calendar, revealing one picture each day, made that same day. It was absolutely exhausting! However, I always try to approach projects in new ways—with new tools, new techniques, etc., which means that every project becomes a new challenge.
What do you hope to accomplish in the future?
I hope to be a part of the process to make the graphic design industry stronger in Denmark and to make graphic design in Denmark valued more—not only by the clients, but also within the industry. At the moment it seems designers are not aware of the value of their own work, which makes them undercut each other to a point where it is not profitable. It is difficult to get the clients to understand the value of the work, especially if the designers don’t.
What’s your best advice for designers today?
I feel I should get advice rather than give advice. Do good work! Don’t get comfortable, try new things.
I was once given the advice to always over-deliver; ever since, I been trying to give just a bit more than expected.