Meet a Mintie: Emily Ranneby

Just in time for the long weekend, we’re lucky enough to have the talented Emily Ranneby on the line to chat with us all the way from Stockholm. Emily has been a part of our community since August of 2008 and is known for her elegant, understated designs that reflect her European environs.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a designer?
I grew up in a very creative household. My mom was a bit of a Martha Stewart craft/cook/baker/sewer extraordinaire. So we were always making things. Creating things. But it wasn’t until I was in graduate school, a major in creative writing, that I decided to change my focus and concentrate on design.

Picture of Emily by

Picture of Emily by Lili Meng

Do you have any formal design training?
I am currently on maternity leave from my position as a design art director at GYRO:HSR, an international advertising communications agency. I also run a creative studio, Salt&Syrup, part time from my home office. In practical terms, I have a master’s degree in magazine design and communication, which has been supplemented with illustration classes. And I have been formally trained in letterpress printing and photopolymer platemaking at the San Francisco Center for the Book.

How would you describe your style?
Oh boy. I find it complicated to describe my style. Which probably stems from having different tastes that sort of walk all over each other. But there a few design standards that never go away. I like clean designs. I believe that design should not be overly complicated. So I have a tendency to simplify things. If I am working with photographs, I almost always recommend to a client to go black and white. I am nuts about black and white photography. You can take a mediocre photograph and make the most beautiful composition with it, simply by going black and white.

What is your normal workflow or process like?
I am a bit obsessive by nature. So once I have an idea in my head (or I have received a brief from a client), I can’t stop thinking about it. I work things out in my head. I scribble notes in a notebook. I do research on the subject/market. I get myself inspired any way I can. These days the process has had to adapt a little. After the birth of my son Oscar, five months ago, I steal an hour here and there. I still work a lot of things out in my head, but there is a bit of a backlog on actually executing the ideas. Playing patty-cake at least 801 times a day takes precedence.

How many iterations does it take for a design to become final?
I am actually a supporter of many iterations. Seriously. I can stew over things for weeks. Like many designers, I am a bit of a perfectionist. But there is a completely different side of me that is unbelievably stubborn. And if I think I have hit the mark on the first try, I refuse to change things. Which is not always in the best interest of the project.

What tools, techniques, and mindsets do you find absolutely essential?
I am a bit different from other creatives I know. When I am starting a new project, I prefer absolute quiet.

What is your favorite thing to design?
Anything for the wee little ones. And I dream about working with food. Food styling. Food magazines. Food packaging.

Do you have a favorite font?
No. I go through phases. But I am quite taken with just about anything designed by Ale Paul. His work is gorgeous.

paul_adios_script

Inspired by designs of the 1940s, romantic Adios Script is one of Alejandro Paul's most elaborate and technically refined faces.

Favorite pen?
Anything inky and gooey. Those cheapy Bic pens in the states are fabulous. We can’t get those in Stockholm.

Favorite notebook?
Unlined.

Favorite design tool?
Is it too easy to say my Mac??

What was your wedding invitation like?
Our wedding stationery was quite simple. It can probably best be described as a modern day, black and white garden party of sorts. I modeled the illustration work after a wallpaper pattern that I had fallen in love with at the time. And everything was printed on Mohawk Superfine Eggshell. I have a bit of a love affair with that paper. It is so luscious.

ferm_bindweed

Picture by Fern Living

Did you send out a family Christmas card? If so, what was it like?
Just before the holidays we moved house. Our new apartment is a 1930s functionalistic design gem that we are renovating. So I wanted our holiday cards to compliment this. And while I didn’t have the time (or the energy!) this year to design a set of cards for myself, I got lucky. I found some gorgeous vintage inspired cards by Norwegian designers Darling Clementine.

lj

Picture by Darling Clementine

Picture by Darling Clementine

Picture by Darling Clementine

Tell us about one of your favorite cards offered for sale on Minted and how you came up with the design.
I am particular about Truck Parade, the children’s birthday party invitations. I was experimenting with patterns and repetition during that time. I hadn’t done so much pattern work before, and I found that it is really quite difficult. I admire designers who work with wallpaper and textile design.

Truck Parade Childrens Birthday Party Invitation

Truck Parade Children's Birthday Party Invitation

What was your favorite Minted design challenge and why?
Probably the first one. It was actually my husband that read an article about Minted and encouraged me to submit something. I was really hesitant. I didn’t anticipate anything to come out of it. But I think I won something like three editorial wins. It was a lovely surprise to be embraced by the Minted community so quickly. It was very, very flattering.

Modern Loop Thank You Cards

Modern Loop Thank You Cards

Classic Diamonds Thank You cards

How long have you lived in Stockholm and what brought you to Sweden? Where did you move from?
I have been in Stockholm for four and a half years. My husband is from northern Sweden. After living in the states for eight years, he was ready to go home (or at least move across the Atlantic). We moved from San Francisco.

How does living in Stockholm influence your design?
Scandinavia is very rich in design. And when you live in an environment where design is so highly valued, you start to think about design differently. I have been very fortunate to live and work here. The experience has been a lesson in understanding that great design is not only about beautiful compositions and pretty colors. Great design is understanding how to marry your designs with function. I’ve acquired a lot of discipline from working here.

What differences are there between how Americans and Europeans view both design and stationery in particular?
This is a bit of a complicated question, since it is so broad. For example, the United Kingdom is nuts about stationery. Their love affair with stationery equals, if not surpasses, that of Americans. Whereas, the same cannot be said of Scandinavia. But I think the interest in paper/stationery products is and has been growing steadily (albeit slowly). It is wonderful (and frustrating all at the same time) to be a part of the paper movement that is happening here.

What are the top five restaurants of places you would recommend a visitor check out?

I should preface this by saying both my husband and I are vegetarians, so we don’t eat traditional Swedish food. Nonetheless, the list should please both veggies and meat eaters alike.

1. Tabbouli Unbelievably tasty Lebanese food. The small plates (mezes) make for a festive atmosphere. These guys actually catered our wedding. Three locations in the city. Reservations are a must.

2. Master Anders A little American/French/Swedish bistro that is an absolute find. Good food. Good drink. And a genuine, cozy atmosphere complete with black and white tiles. Reservations are a must unless you want to just pop in for a drink at the bar like we often do (Ert. Did. Now we are responsible parents of a five month old.).

3. Indian Curry House Stockholm has more indian restaurants than you would care to count. But this quiet, unassuming hole in the wall serves some of the city’s best indian.
Teany tiny authentic Italian kitchen. What this place lacks in square footage, it more than makes up for in the dishes. Reservations are a must.

5. Hermans I was hesitant to put this place on here, as they serve strictly vegetarian. But it would be a shame to miss it (especially if you come during the summer). They not only have an outstanding all-you-can-eat vegetarian buffet, but they have some of the best views over the water/city. During the summer, you can sit out in the garden, which is set over three different levels.

Where do you go for design inspiration?

Oh gosh. If I am to be honest, it really depends on what the project is. And what I need inspiration for. But if I just want to be inspired, then I turn to my running list of links to designers, illustrators and photographers that I admire. I pop into their sites to see what they have been working on. Or I browse my favorite blogs, which usually takes me somewhere completely unexpected. And sometimes I just do a bit of online creative window shopping. I also have a tendency to read back issues of design annuals.

Where do you like to shop? What are your favorite stores?
Anthropologie. Anthropologie. Anthroplogie. That store makes me swoon. I am a complete Etsy addict, as well.

What designers do you really admire?
Ooooh. There are a lot of fabulous, inspiring designers. Hands down Shinzi Katoh is someone I keep coming back to, again and again. There is no shortage of creativity in his work. Darling Clementine, from Norway, is doing some fabulous things with stationery. Blanca Gomez of Cosas Minimas is addictive. Right now, I am completely stuck on the print work of Camilla Lundsten. Her style is just so perfect in every way.

Kanina and Mascot. Two characters from Camilla Lundsten's sweet collection.

Kanina and Mascot. Two characters from Camilla Lundsten's sweet collection

katoh_lettersets

Lettersets by Shinzi Katoh, picture found on http://johnboerckel.wordpress.com/2009/05

What advice would you give a new designer?
Try to find inspiration in the most unlikely places. Vintage bed sheets. Wallpaper scraps. Children’s books. Food packaging. But on a more practical level, there is something to be said for taking the time to understand production. Particularly designing for different print methods. It is an absolute essential building block that I see so many young designers just sort of gloss over.

Thanks Emily! Have a lovely long weekend. And a very Happy Valentine’s Day to all. xoxoxo

MORE AFTER THE JUMP... 6   COMMENTS

Meet a Mintie: Emily Potts

To celebrate the weekend ahead we’ve decided to try to make our designer Q&A’s a Friday tradition, so be sure to check back every Friday for more interviews with our insanely talented designers. This week, we’re lucky enough to have Minted designer Emily Potts of Potts Design on hand to get us through the afternoon slump. Emily has been a part of our community for exactly a year and has consistently submitted extremely strong designs. She is known for her idea driven designs and for her delicate illustrations. I just loved seeing how the drawings that Emily emailed over turn into her lovely cards.  Enjoy!

When did you first realize you wanted to be a designer?
It’s kind of funny, I’ve always loved the arts—drawing and painting especially, but I never worked on a computer growing up, so I didn’t think graphic design was for me. I went to college my freshman year thinking I would either be a veterinarian or do something with art. It didn’t take me long to realize that I should go with what comes easiest to me, and that’s not chemistry, it’s drawing. So, I fell into design because I wanted to do something creative but with the potential of earning a living.

Do you have any formal design training?
I have a BFA in graphic design from UMass Dartmouth. Great school and great teachers—I’m forever indebted.

How would you describe your style?
I would say that I’m a pretty clean, type-driven designer. I love a project that uses nothing more than type, color and composition.

Desk Calendar Save the Date by Pottsdesign

Desk Calendar Save the Date by Pottsdesign

Your illustrations are so delicate and lovely—how do you go about creating them?
Thanks! 🙂 I’ve been drawing and painting since I was a little kid, and somewhere, maybe around middle school I learned about pen and ink illustration. I’ve been hooked ever since. Pretty much everything I do starts with putting pencil to paper. I start with a quick initial sketch for composition mainly, then I develop a full scale drawing in pencil including shading, tone and detail. From there, I trace the outline of the drawing and transfer it onto bristol board. I use a crow quill pen with india ink to produce the final illustration, referring to the pencil drawing for guidance.

img_28471

img_2932 img_2870

What is your normal workflow or process like?
One idea always flows into another on the page, and it’s so much faster than trying things on the computer. Once I’ve exhausted my brain of all the concepts, which typically includes some absolutely ridiculous ideas, (but hey, design should always be fun), I take the two or three I like best and translate them on the computer, making any necessary modifications along the way. I work alone from my home, so another thing I like to do is get an honest critique from another designer, or a friend. Their feedback is always super helpful and typically improves the piece I’m working on.

img_2869

Gift Wrapped by Pottsdesign

Gift Wrapped by Pottsdesign

img_2873

Polka Dot Bridal Shower Invitations by Pottsdesign

Polka Dot Bridal Shower Invitations by Pottsdesign

How many iterations does it take for a design to become final?
I tend to stick pretty close to my initial concepts, and not fuss too much. If I spend too long on something, it tends to get over-designed, then it needs to be pulled back. I pretty much always give things a “one nighter”, meaning, when I look at the design the next day, first thing in the morning after my coffee—I can usually see things that needs tweaking, then it’s christened as done, or ready for the client to review.

img_2933

What tools, techniques, and mindsets do you find absolutely essential?
For me, staying visually inspired is key. That can be tough—you get into a grind because you are so busy, and you start producing new versions of the same thing, and it becomes boring. One trip to the city, a museum, or a great coffee shop can really get you thinking creatively again. And again, sketching and drawing—essential.

img_2919 img_2918

The evolution of Emilys Falling Leaves save the date

Falling Leaves Save the Date by Pottsdesign

Although your effortless designs make it look easy, what’s the most difficult aspect of the design process?
For me, it’s the “great concept”. The concept that’s more than just making something look “pretty or cool.” Having a concept with significant meaning can be hard to come up with, but reaps the most reward. It doesn’t always happen though- I wish it did!

What advice would you give a new designer?
Be true to your aesthetic and sense of style—and pay attention to your typography, it can make or break a great design. Also, always be able to have an explainable reason for designing something the way you have—never make a stylistic decision without purpose. I learned that in school, and it’s never let me down. Being able to explain why you decided to do something, whether the client agrees or not shows that you are not “just making things look nice”.

Do you have a favorite font?
Ugh—that’s too tough. Like asking to name your favorite child, it can’t be done!

Favorite notebook?
I go through sketchbooks pretty quickly, and I’m not picky on those. Whatever I can get my hands on!

What about a favorite pen—is that a little easier question!?
Absolutely, Pigma Micron pens: .05, .03, and .01. Pretty much all my sketching is done with one of these pens.

img_2871

Cupcake Baby Shower Invitation by Pottsdesign

Cupcake Baby Shower Invitation by Pottsdesign

What is one of your favorite Minted cards for sale?
That’s tough, because designers tend to be a little critical of themselves! But, if I had to pick one, I would say I like the penguins save the date. I’m a romantic, and I love the fact that penguins keep their partners for life, so I thought they would make a great symbol for a couple about to get married. The illustration is simple and sweet, and the typography is clean and classic.

Penguins Save the Date Card by Pottsdesign

Penguins Save the Date Card by Pottsdesign

What was your favorite Minted design challenge?
I loved the holiday card challenge!

Why?
Because there are a million holiday cards out there, and coming up with something new original is so challenging! Not only that, the idea of designing something that someone would use to send love and warm wishes to their loved ones it pretty awesome. An honor almost—so, that was my favorite.

What are the places in Rhode Island that you would recommend a visitor check out?
Anyone visiting should go and see Newport. They should spend a day at the beach, get lunch at Flo’s Clam Shack, walk the Cliff Walk, eat dinner at Mama Luisa’s and watch the sunset behind the Newport Bridge. Then, they should go to Providence and spend some time walking around the East Side, seeing amazing old houses that have been restored. Also stop on Hope Street at Seven Stars Bakery, and order a ginger biscuit and a latte. You won’t regret it.

Where do you go for design inspiration?
A trip to Boston or New York always seems to get my creativity flowing again. Seeing things outside your normal surroundings is great. I also love bookstores, there is so much design (good and bad!) packed into such a small place, plus you can enjoy a latte while being inspired!

What designers do you really admire?
I’m a big fan of Michael Bierut of Pentagram in NY. The new identity he and his group designed for Saks Fifth Avenue is so brilliant and exquisitely executed, ugh, I love it! Also his posters for Yale School of Architecture, using black and white and type are really inspiring as well. I heard him speak at the HOW conference in Boston in 2008 and was hooked. I’m also a huge fan of Paula Scher, of Pentagram as well—her typography is just amazing, in fact her whole body of work is pretty awe inspiring.

Pentagramss work for Saks

Pentagrams's work for Saks

One of Beiruts posters for the Yale School of Architecture

One of Beirut's posters for the Yale School of Architecture

From Paula Schers book Make it Bigger

From Paula Scher's book "Make it Bigger"

Finally, did you have a New Year’s resolution?
I have two this year actually—donate blood on a regular basis, and become a big sister.

And we’ll send you on your way to a lovely weekend with one of Emily’s favorite quotes:


MORE AFTER THE JUMP... 12   COMMENTS