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.
- Food for thought on the day the Global Climate Strike begins
- “I always thought Photoshop was a glorified MS paint”: James Lacey on his journey into design
- “If I am flagging on a shoot, she directs me”: Matthew Stone on working with FKA Twigs
- French illustrator Nicolas Ridou makes “the atmosphere the story” in his hypnotic works
- A routine, good music and Charlie Bones: Sean Bate on his graphic design inspirations
- In The Boys, Rick Schatzberg photographs his group in their 66th year of friendship
- “All you see is lazy photography everywhere”: Martin Parr discusses his career, Brexit and obsession
- The work of Xiangyu Liu is weird and fantastically unpredictable (some NSFW)
- Caterina Bianchini Studio designs a dog-themed identity for a conveyer belt cheese restaurant
- Ikea invites people to “try on” Virgil Abloh furniture collection at LFW
- Hans Findling on his experimental and multidisciplinary approach to design
- Introducing the It’s Nice That Graduates of 2019!