• Card
  • Im_very
  • Study_catalogue_1
  • Study_catalogue_2
  • Monsters
  • Monsters_detail
  • Fittest_book
  • Fittest_book2
  • Fittest_book3
  • Thoughts
  • Big_venn
  • Material_works1
  • Material_works_spines
  • Material_works_3
  • Stitch
  • Obama
  • Moleskins
  • Moleskins_detail
Graphic Design

Graduates 2009: Frode Skaren

Posted by Alex Bec,

Diverse doesn’t go far enough when trying to describe Norwegian Frode Skaren’s work. A portfolio packed with as much hand drawn illustration as clean cut graphic design. His dream of setting up on his own in a studio (complete with basketball hoop) is quickly becoming a reality, and long may it continue.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?

A basketball star, I’m a huge basketball fan and also a very active player. Growing up, I played all day everyday, and at night i was drawing the jerseys of my favourite players. I also started the local basketball team at 14, which gave me my first design job, the team logo. It’s awful.

In reflection, how bad was your work in the first year?

I don’t think my work was so bad, but the way it was done and my general knowledge of design was embarrassing. I used Photoshop for editorial design, because I didn’t know InDesign or Illustrator. I had no idea what a sans serif font was, or the difference between RGB and CMYK, and I had never heard of Milton Glaser. So yes, my work has improved. But I think the theoretical part of my work has had the largest improvement. By far.

If you could show a piece of your folio to one person, what piece would you choose, and who would you show it to?

It might sound a bit cliché to choose perhaps the most famous designer today, but I would want Stefan Sagmeister to look at my work. Maybe the Study Catalogue for KHiO. The reason I want to show my work to Stefan, is because I believe he is one of the few designers that could give me not only a good comment, but an honest one. I would love for a comment by an experienced designer like Stefan on any of my work.

If you had your own business, who would you employ and why?

I just started my own business, and I would love to have a partner running the studio with me. The best result I’ve had designing during my education, is when I collaborate with classmates. Not only do we have a lot of fun, but I think I’ve learned more from them than from the school. One of them, Mats Omland, has been an important factor of my improvement and I would love to start a business with him.

A studio as small as mine is depending on hiring the right person for the job, and I would rather hire one I know and can trust, than take a chance on a superstar designer with apparently magic skills. If I there’s no chemistry between us your skills aren’t worth jack.

If you’ve got any left, what will you spend the last of your student loan on?

I’m broke. But if I had any left I would buy myself a delicious beefsteak. Three years of frozen pizza and cheap noodles makes a man appreciate a decent steak.

Where will we find you in 12 months?

Preferably not at my dad’s gas station making hamburgers with fries. Hopefully at my studio, screen-printing and designing. Probably both.

Ab-300

Posted by Alex Bec

Alex is one of the directors of It’s Nice That who now oversees our sister creative agency INT Works. For several years he oversaw the Monday Morning Music Video feature until it came to an end in 2014.

Most Recent: Graphic Design View Archive

  1. Evan-grothjan-spaces-its-nice-that-list

    You know what we’re like, always going all gaga over pretty colours and GIFS like little typing magpies. But we’re not all about a pretty picture over here at It’s Nice That; and neither is designer Evan Grothjan. While we admit we were initially drawn in by his vivid tones and abstract compositions, it turns out there’s a lot more to his Spaces series than crowd-pleasing aesthetics. Instead, the images form an ongoing investigation into the relationship between space and emotion; something Evan’s been interested in since studying animation as part of his Rhode Island School of Design course.

  2. Typesnap-itsnicethat-list-new-3

    Experiments with web-based typography have reached new heights. One minute we were happily reading from books and newspapers, and then before you know it Wieden + Kennedy was testing us to see how many words we could read per minute in a new ad for Honda. Just in case you were getting too comfy, the newest development in this arena comes from graphic designer Masato Nakada who has come up with a new concept designed to expand the capacity of web-based type, through an experimental typography website called Type Snap.

  3. Unfun_itsnicethat_list

    These jazzy posters created by Nuremberg-based studio Unfun for a massive electronic dance club in Germany somehow manage to be both lairy and sophisticated at the same time. Computer generated illustrations leak onto black backgrounds in each poster but the series cleverly draws on different stylistic references from 90s net art to regimented grids and lines.

  4. Steph-roden-adder-stone-its-nice-that-list

    Not only is it refreshing to see a grad project that eschews the debate over whether or not print is dead, but it’s also great to see a young designer so politically engaged. It’s especially good when the work looks like that of Steph Roden, whose Adder Stone project manages to combine considered design with a lively, yet impartial look at the debates around the Scottish referendum for independence. Taking the form of a proposed biannual magazine, Adder Stone examines four questions per issue, each from a different source, and all relating to Scotland. As well as these catalysts for political exploration, there are also four pull-out posters, referencing the Yes and No posters seen everywhere around Scotland in the buildup to the referendum.

  5. Acacio-ortas-itsnicethat-list-2

    Scrolling through Acacio Ortas’ portfolio feels like stepping into a world that has been frozen in time since the late 90s. Picture it: Windows 95 still reigns supreme, you’re renowned throughout Year Nine at school for being the local champion of Minesweeper, and you can’t so much as compose a letter to your pen-pal in Microsoft Word without that blasted paperclip popping up to “help.” Dabbling in that grey area between illustration and design, Acacio’s work is pure internet age gold – all gentle gradients, bar-charts and word-art, determinedly retro but weirdly new-feeling, too. It’s tongue in cheek but also unlike anything else, and we can’t resist an awkward comic strip.

  6. Tokyo-olympic-logo-its-nice-that-lost

    The Kenjio Sano-designed 2020 Tokyo Olympics logos have been unveiled. The Japanese graphic designer and founder of Tokyo-based studio MR_DESIGN created both the Olympics and Paralympics logos, using a red circle in each to reference the Japanese flag. These form a pattern with blocks of grey and gold. Elements of the pattern are isolated to form a letter T for the Olympic logo – said to represent “Tokyo, Tomorrow and Team” – while the Paralympic logo uses those shapes to form a vertical equals sign.

  7. Field-glyph-index-int-list

    Digital studio FIELD is something of an anomaly in the realms of both design and technology. Known for its striking audio-visual installations and pioneering artwork for digital platforms, the London-based duo Marcus Wendt and Vera-Maria Glahn’s creations are always as beautiful as they are cutting-edge. We waxed lyrical about its video storytelling application Energy Flow back in 2012, which brought together ten films that could be viewed in endless sequences and from any angle. Most recently, FIELD teamed up with typeface library Monotype to explore the future of typography with three installations, asking how type can become responsive, or even emotional, and still be communicative.

  8. Herburg_weiland_itsnicethat_list

    Munich-based agency Herburg Weiland’s portfolio of editorial design and branding is sophisticated, refined and cooly bold. This is reflected perfectly in the posters, identities and covers they’ve created for numerous galleries and magazines.

  9. Made-by-sawdust-itsnicethat-list-2

    When Nike Jordan approaches you with NBA champion Kobe Bryant’s name and existing brand identity, and asks you to create a fully functioning bespoke typeface to accompany it, the pressure is on you to deliver something good. Fortunately, Sawdust, AKA Jonathan Quainton and Rob Gonzalez, is more or less au fait with work of this calibre, having worked on typography and identity projects for clients like The New York Times and Coca-Cola. 

  10. Timeline_promo_2geographical-north-its-nice-that-list

    We regularly harp on about the union of great music and great design, but when projects like Geographic North come into our vision so regularly, who can blame us. The label is about graphic design as much as it is about music, founded by design graduate Farbod Kokabi and radio music director Farzad Moghaddam back in 2008. They were later joined by pals Bobby Power and Lee Summers, who formed the formidable team that now releases records with beautifully abstract, clean and bright sleeves and covers.

  11. Dalziel-_-pow-rebrand-its-nice-that-list

    Surely the toughest client there could be is yourself. So it’s always rather intriguing to hear about design agencies rebranding themselves, and imagining the endless wranglings such a project must entail. We reckon London-based design agency Dalziel&Pow hasn’t done too bad though, launching a newly playful identity to bring it firmly up to date. According to the consultancy, the previous logo “just didn’t feel like us anymore – not all that surprising considering it was created over 15 years ago.”

  12. List

    The Bank of England has revealed the visual art stars that could be gracing the new £20 note. In a rather long shortlist of 592, the names shown are all those nominated by the public that fit the criteria that the artists must be dead and have worked within the field of visual arts. Among those nominated are graphic designers Barney Bubbles and Alan Fletcher; photographer Tim Hetherington; performance artist Leigh Bowery; inventor and artist William Heath Robinson; illustrator Aubrey Beardsley; artist Eduardo Paolozzi and filmmakers Alfred Hitchcock and Derek Jarman. The Bank has said that “a number of names have been included whose eligibility will be considered more carefully by the Banknote Character Advisory Committee before it starts to shortlist the characters in September,” and a final decision will be announced next year.

  13. Sb-studio-itsnicethat-gif

    Remember The Brutalist Playground, the Assemble and Simon Terrill-created project we were harping on about a few weeks back? Built out of reconstituted foam in the narrow halls of the Royal Institute of British Architecture’s housing archives, it sees the Turner Prize-nominated design collective turn our attention to what editorial assistant Alex calls “these relics of post-war play.”