Pol Solsona is a freelance graphic designer, illustrator and photographer who was born in Barcelona but who now works in Helsinki, Finland. His eclectic work varies from art direction, identities and print and web design to illustration and photography, and anything else he finds himself doing in between. We chatted to Pol to find out why he loves working in his neighbourhood in Helsinki, what he does for fun and why he appreciates the accidents that can come with working in a creative industry. Read on!
Where do you work?
At the moment my home is my studio. It is located in Kallio, which is probably the area with the most drunk people per square-metre in Helsinki, but I consider it to be one of the nicest neighbourhoods in the world nevertheless. Kallio has everything I need and it’s easy to disappear – you can ride your bike to a beach and take a swim in the sea without anybody else there.
In general, Helsinki is like a small village, quiet and relaxing. I like the melancholic Finnish mentality that you can’t find anywhere else.
How does your working day start?
The first and last thing I do everyday is choose music that will get me in a perfect mood. Then I make coffee and pa amb tomàquet (a breakfast that reveals that even after more than three years in Finland I’m still Catalan). I eat while I go through my emails, then I take a shower and plan my order of business. After that, I move to my desk and start working.
How do you work and how has that changed?
My work is based on a combination of intuition, experimentation and a set of rules. After finding out the clients needs and considering their target I usually have a clear vision of which elements to use in that project. The best part is playing around with those elements. I appreciate accidents that occur in the process, there’s something unique in them. Sometimes a fluke doesn’t work in that particular project, but I might find a way to use it in another later on.
A while ago I worked in an advertising agency and before that in a few smaller studios. At the time I did freelance work on evenings and weekends. After becoming a full-time freelancer I work just as much. It seems I’ve always been a bit of a workaholic, but I love my work. It gets me excited and most days it makes me feel like a kid.
Where would we find you when you’re not at work?
If I’m not working I accidentally come up with excuses to work a bit more. I book concerts, work on a new zine or play around with apps to find other ways to communicate visually. When I want to disconnect myself from work and the computer I take a walk to my favourite record store or go to the sauna, which is one of the best inventions of humankind. Sometimes my housemate gets me to do something random, like yesterday when I bought my first pair of cross-country skis. Besides these surreal choices, you can find me on the basic city tour with friends visiting exhibitions, gigs and parties.
Would you intern for yourself?
Maybe. As long as there’s coffee.
- "Where’s my community?": Skin Deep and POC on the need for diversity in the film industry
- Jee-ook Choi conveys complex ideas using fine linework and muted colours
- Photographer Mehdi Lacoste on working with Actress
- French designer Victoire Coyon’s understated portfolio
- Unit Editions’ upcoming book on the unparalleled work of Paula Scher
- A creative composite of illustration: ten years of Christoph Ruckhäberle’s Lubok
- A new national identity: Smörgåsbord Studio rebrands Wales
- Graphic design gems: Chicago gang business cards from the 1970s and 80s
- Photographer Dougie Wallace captures the super rich spenders of “Harrodsburg”
- “Romance in a sort-of fantasy world”: photographer Molly Matalon's new work (some NSFW)
- Studio Michael Satter’s sophisticatedly simple graphic design portfolio
- Harry Pearce and Pentagram create a new identity for Pink Floyd’s record label