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.