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Designer of the Week Jenny Johannesson hails from Sweden and spent six years in Amsterdam’s ad world before heading to San Francisco, where she currently works and resides. As a digital designer with international clients and collaborators she adores, she’s worked mostly on digital campaigns, websites and apps. Read on for some interesting stories from Johannesson’s career.
Name: Jenny Johannesson
Name of Firm: Ueno
Location: San Francisco
Design school attended:
I studied digital media at Hyper Island in Karlskrona, Sweden. I’ve also taken an illustration course at Central Saint Martins in London.
How would you describe your work?
I’m from an advertising background with a focus on websites and mobile design. I’m the happiest during the exploration phase because I like going a bit overboard with concepts. Always working toward making projects as special and bold as possible.
Where do you find inspiration?
From all the smart people I work with and other designers I keep in touch with online. Being an FWA judge also helps me stay on top of what crazy creative things people are making.
Who are some of your favorite designers or artists?
Right now: Brijan Powell, Shane Mielke, Anton Repponen, Robbin Cenijn, Cara To, Ben Mingo, Haraldur Thorleifsson, Rina Miele, Rolf Jensen, Therese Larsson, Bryan James, David Navarro, Meg Robichaud, Pelle Martin, Claudio Guglieri and Ben Cline! (I for sure missed a bunch of people.)
Do you have a favorite among all the projects you’ve worked on?
I don’t want to pick a favorite, but I will always remember my last project at DDB & Tribal in Amsterdam. It was nothing I’ve done before: We made an animated video for kids called Bluey, which was shown on board KLM planes and on social media. I got to art direct everything and come up with crazy little ideas and did tons of sketches for these. We worked with a production agency called Colorbleed, who made everything come to life, and I’m super happy with the result.
Is there a project that stands out to you as having been the biggest challenge of your career so far?
I was required to work with a production company the client picked in India. Only one person in their office sort of spoke English, and they would not speak or reply to women. It made for some really frustrating conference calls, especially since we were mostly women on the team. The end result was of course horrible; everything was broken—however, the client thankfully fired the production company and we never had to work with them on any project again.
What do you hope to accomplish in the future?
I want to do more work that I can be proud of and inspire other people to do great work.
Plus: learn how to snowboard without hurting myself …
What’s your best advice for designers today?
Stand out, be bold and think outside the box – this industry already has enough squares and rectangles. And if you always design according to “best practices”, your designs will be boring.