1. How did you begin working in the wonderful world of design?

Well, it’s kind of a long story. But a nice one. I guess I was always “working” in design. None of my old teachers would be surprised if they found out that I ended up in the design world. I was a creative kid, always sewing or building most of my toys… and the process of doing this was the actual play. For many years I thought I would be an architect or tattooist. But I failed trying to get into the Danish school of architecture (it’s still one of the things I’ll never understand, in a non-bitter way).

Broken but determined, this brought me to the people’s college Krabbesholm, a school that prepares you for any creative education. When I wasn’t working with clay and inventing concepts for bikes, I was in the darkroom to develop photos. Halfway through the course, this guy Mikal Halstrup (CEO of Designit) came to the school to give a talk about the design.

I was in the front row, and I had never heard anything as amazing as this. The way he talked about design was breathtaking. Before he was done talking I decided to scrap all plans of becoming an architect, I just wanted to work at his place; Designit. When the 6-month course was over I moved to a city called Aarhus and got a job at a cinema, while stalking Designit of course :) Two months later they put up a job description for an office assistant (you know picking up the phone, preparing the lunch).

I applied for the job and after the first interview, I was among the final two. I then had a talk with David Fellah, one of the other partners at Designit. At the end, he said: “I think you will make a terrible office assistant, isn’t there something else you can do?” Quickly without thinking I answered: “Well I’m good a drawing” — everyone that knows me and knows about drawing also knows that this is a lie.

I’m bad at drawing, I’m just not afraid of drawing and sometimes, especially in the world of design, that’s enough. He then set up a talk with their Creative Director and an Art Director, to this day it’s still a great mystery how everyone agreed to not only take me on as an intern but also give me a new G4 iMac, one month before I started. I never owned a computer in my life and that G4 was love at first click.

I slept little that month, but taught myself Macromedia Freehand, the program for Design we were using back then. I was an intern for two years before they gave me a brick with a sticker on it saying “Jo is now a Graphic designer”. Designit still has a sweet spot in my heart. I was employee number 25. I Guess they are around 2000 now.

Image for post

2. What is the purpose of design?

The purpose of design is simple. Design is problem-solving. The level of humor, aesthetic or the size of the problem in design varies, but if it’s not problem-solving in any way, it’s not really design.

Image for post

3. How does Hello Monday approach design? What core problems are you trying to solve? What experiences are you trying to create?

The answer to this question is why I have one of the most awesome jobs in the world. We don’t have “an approach”.

We approach every new assignment with a curious mind and a hunger to solve problems. We use common sense a lot and always strive to set teams that are passionate about whatever topic the problem is about.

We don’t have a strategist doing our fieldwork. All our copywriters, designers, developers and producers are all doing the thinking and the strategy together. And it’s never easy, but it’s always worth the effort.

The projects we get span from very concrete problem solving like “Virunga park in DR Congo is struggling to preserve some of the world’s last gorillas, can you make a digital home for them that makes people care?” to more abstract problems like: “No one wants to pay for digital newspapers, what do we do?”

Hello Monday’s overarching goal is always to make Monday’s better, not just for us, but for all and to make the world a better place one pixel at the time.

Image for post

4. What’s one thing you believe about design that most others don’t?

First of all, I believe that the world can be changed for the better through design. Just like doctors, teachers and lawyers need to believe that what they’re doing is important and that they make a difference. I also believe that being in the creative industry whether you’re a designer or an architect comes with a responsibility. You need to not produce “crap” … you know better, and that means sometimes saying: “No way” to what a client is asking. You have a great responsibility and you need to take that seriously.

5. What key problems are often overlooked by design?

How important it is to put the right people together for the right projects.

Image for post

6. What is the most difficult thing about design?

Hmmm. Maybe solve problems in new and better ways. The good thing is that you can train your brain to do many things. And the more you think about solutions, concepts, and opportunities the better your brain gets at it.

Image for post

The most difficult part is probably to not stop asking stupid questions. It’s important to stay curious and be okay with the possibility that your design might fail, someone is gonna hate it, someone had a better idea, someone launched three days before you with the same idea…. things like that.

7. When is design “done”?

Never. Design is a process, and things should and could always be improved. We are of course as human beings fascinated by things that come close to perfection. But the perfect designed sneaker of today can be improved tomorrow. And maybe that’s what drives mankind… or at least designers :-)

Image for post

8. What does the future of design look like to you?

I truly believe that design will be one of the cornerstones of our future. If we use our talent the right way, we can design a better and more sustainable planet for all living beings.

Image for post

If I can give any advice to kids and young people it will be to forget about fitting into old boxes and forget about good grades. Problem-solving and thinking beyond standards is what will matter in the future.

Image for post
Thanks for reading ❤
If you enjoyed this interview, please say hello on:
LinkedIn & Twitter

This series was designed by Vasjen Katro, Visual Designer of Baugasm

Oct 29, 2020

More about 


View All

Join Our Newsletter and Get the Latest
Posts to Your Inbox

No spam ever. Read our Privacy Policy
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.