Graphic designer Johanna Lundberg has a fascinating practice. It sees her truly straddling the digital and analogue worlds and developing ongoing relationships with clients who eventually become her collaborators. When asked what keeps her engaged with her medium, the toss up between digital and publication design is a difficult one.
Digital design is a medium she finds “very generous and rewarding,” she explains. “It’s fun to design when the final result remains in an active state sensitive to interaction.” It’s also, she continues, “a medium which lends itself to introducing elements of surprise and I have always had a penchant for provoking the user by implementing odd elements or interactions when a project allows for it. Another plus when it comes to working digitally is that you can prototype the work to a greater extent which leads to taking greater risks.” Having said all of this, most of Johanna’s time is taken up designing printed publication, “which is another favourite object of mine to tackle because of the required preciseness and finite format.”
Johanna, who is currently based in Stockholm and originally from the Åland Islands, first became interested in graphic design while studying illustration at London College of Communication. “[I] came to realise throughout the years that image-making was neither my strongest pursuit or biggest interest,” she recalls. Now, with a wealth of experience behind her (she studied and work in London for a total of 12 years, and then in Helsinki for a further two), she’s developed a strong tone of voice as a designer.
“I try to avoid certain styles or current trends,” she tells us. “If I succeed I am not sure. What is important for my practice and for every project I take on is that it is performed in close collaboration with editors, artists, and developers alike.” Take, for example, her ongoing collaboration with Garret Publications, a Finnish independent publisher whose website we previously featured in Double Click.
Johanna began working with the publisher in 2016, initially shaping its identity. However, over the years, she has gone on to produce created books with Garret. The most recent is Bastard Cookbook, “part cookbook, part collage of culinary misadventures by chef Antto Melasniemi and artist Rirkrit Tiravanija.” Following the book’s content, the format and design is, Johanna explains, tongue-in-cheek and uncomplicated. “The typography subtly breaks conventional rules and the cover is over the top golden. The open spine allows the book to lie completely flat for easy access when cooking – but also contrasts the otherwise pristine cover.”
With stories such as this echoing across her portfolio, it’s clear Johanna is a designer clients trust. Her portfolio flits between being playful and serious with ease, as Johanna applies her considered yet lateral thinking to every project. “I find it important to have reason behind each decision I take, whether this is which typeface I use or which material the final design is printed on,” she adds on this final note. “I think this may have stuck with me since studying at LCC which was very concept driven. The work I do should lead and push the direction of a company or an artist’s practice rather than become a manifestation of my own personal style without losing what I believe to be good design.”
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