Ida Louise Andersen

Ida Louise Andersen is a Senior Designer continuously searching to find new ways to bend, stretch, feed and grow new ideas. Currently working at Scandinavian Design Group (SDG).

WIP So tell us a little bit about yourself. 
ILA My name is Ida, and I’m a graphic designer currently working at Scandinavian Design Group, where I’ve been since 2016. Before that, I studied at the Norwegian School of Creative Studies in Oslo, and then I finished my bachelor’s in graphic design and art direction at Nova Accademia di Belle Arti in Milan. And then I came back to Norway, and my older brother Christopher told me it was time to network.

WIP Time to get to work!
ILA Time to get to work! Network, meet people. And that, of course, sounded terrible to me. But he’s a good older brother, so he practised with me how to present myself and talk to potential employers. And I contacted one of my previous teachers from NKF and she introduced me to some of her network. I got my first job at WeOslo in 2014, where I worked on Dæhlie, the ski brand, and Oslo Concert House and had a steep learning curve because I was a newly established design agency.

WIP It’s such a big change when you go straight from school and then you start working. Or do you feel like it wasn’t? 
ILA It felt natural. Or, I think I didn’t have time to reflect on it because I was in such a mode of just getting started. Yeah, I just jumped right into it, without overthinking it. That’s kind of how I live, I think. I jump first and figure out how to do it later. Kristine Lillevik was also a great mentor, pushing and believing in me and giving me a lot of elbow room. It was a steep learning curve; I was there for a year and a half and got an offer at Scandinavian Design Group. Tonje Jæger hired me, and she says that she hires for attitude and trains for talent.

WIP That’s a nice phrase to remember. 
ILA Yeah, definitely. And I’ve always had an attitude; I think my parents instilled confidence in me and my ability to do whatever I put my mind to. So attitude was not the problem, and Tonje delivered on her part in training for talent.

WIP You’ve worked on a project that entailed nation branding for Norway. How was that? 
ILA Yeah. Branding a nation is very different from branding a company; it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a designer. So it was not something that I took lightly. The broad audience we needed to engage were tourists, visitors, investors, and new talent looking to live and work in Norway. The brand would be a tool for Norwegian ambassadors and embassies all over the world to expose Norwegian sustainable solutions to be able to increase export and gain investments in research and development of Norwegian innovation. Also, within the frames the client had given us, we needed to use the Norwegian flag in the branding.

WIP That's an interesting challenge. 
ILA It is. And with that, reflecting the innovative spirit with those boundaries, it was an exciting challenge. Being a Norwegian myself, it was a soul-searching process, finding the essence of Norway and what we wanted to communicate to the world. In the design team, we had Madeleine from Australia, John from England, and Robin from the Netherlands, all working and living in Norway. We wanted the flag to be something everyone living in Norway could feel ownership towards, so we created a system that could generate different versions of the flag to tell the story of a nation that celebrates individuality. But when all the flags come together and overlap, they create a full Norwegian flag to show that we are stronger working with our unique backgrounds and perspectives.

WIP Do you think that it was important, nationality wise, to have a diverse team to work with?
ILA That was really a positive thing because we were speaking to an international audience and the people that were in the team were also, in a way, the target audience. So that was extremely valuable.

WIP Linn and I have spoken a lot about diversity and designing for diversity in Norway and design in the West. How important was that when designing for the Norwegian brand?
ILA It was essential. That is something that we as a nation constantly need to keep working on as a political cause. We're not there, but as a nation brand, we want something to inspire towards something that tells that story and gives people voices. We're talking a lot about business-to-business. Still, businesses are people, so having that human touch was very important, but also providing that playful element because it's a lot of different people that are going to use this brand – from the very serious ambassadors when the Crown Prince is in China and talking with potential business partners, to tourism. When discussing arts and culture and music, it can't be that corporate.

WIP I’ve been looking at your portfolio website and you have something there that is called Ida’s Space, which is just so fun and cool. So what is that space?
ILA Okay, so that’s funny cause the four people that have seen it are my Mom, Dad, and you and Kristoffer. It’s just something I did because I needed it. Working with Brand Norway was such a big project and something that I was so personally attached to, and it felt like life and death when that project went to a different agency. Nobody died; it’s fine. I had to find my spark or joy in creating again because I was just empty inside.

WIP That sounds awful!
ILA It is awful, sad, depressing… horrible. I thought that I was never going to work with design ever again. I had a very romantic view of becoming a truck driver, cruising through the highway in Norway, listening to podcasts all day, and never looking at design again. But I am very passionate about design and always have been, so I had to find a way back. Ida’s Space is the result of me trying something solely to have fun and experiment.

And it started with me playing with 3D scanning, where I scanned my tiny 33 square meter apartment and myself, and it felt like a real-life Sims game. But instead of escaping into a fantasy digital world, I was more interested in simulating the real physical world. I do love Instagram for taking pictures and collecting small moments to look back on and also to stay connected with friends and family that live far away. But scrolling on social media is sometimes overstimulating and more exhausting than inspiring. It feels like a very crowded place. So I created Ida’s Space to give myself a bigger digital space where it’s less noisy, and I’m not so influenced by what everyone else is doing, but instead just minding my own business.

You’ll just slowly die inside if you don't feed yourself with those impressions, and relationships and conversations and bouncing off your idea, not being stuck in your own head, having someone to challenge your way of thinking. I think that designers are really good at questioning things.

WIP I’ve discussed this with Kristoffer, that in regards to work life or school life balance that it is important to do things that are not related to work or school in any way. 
ILA Yeah, I think it’s super important. You’ll slowly die inside if you don’t feed yourself with those outside impressions, relationships, and conversations, bouncing off your ideas, not being stuck in your head, and having someone to challenge your thinking. I think that designers are good at questioning things.

WIP And being critical. 
ILA And being critical. You have to be in order to make change. Stepping out of that mode of constantly researching or thinking, “how can I apply this to my work?”. Be a little bit more bored.

WIP If you’re walking outside and you see something, it’s hard to not connect that to work because usually, especially if you’re working on a project, it’s very easy to make that connection.
ILA Yeah. 

WIP But at the same time it should also be easy to make the connection to work from something that is very unrelated to work.
ILA Yeah, and that is where we create original design. If we’re only scrolling on Pinterest for graphic design, we’ll copy everything already out there. 

WIP Do you feel that Ida’s space and doing all this experimentation and these activities, like reading, listening to music and stuff, do you feel like you’ve been able to use that for something?
ILA Yes, definitely. I see that the last project I worked on, Mash – which is a lifestyle brand with a yoga and boxing studio in the market where they sell high-quality vegan and plant-based products that they will roll out now in 2023 – they are all about a healthy lifestyle, embracing the highs and lows in life, not taking life too seriously and just having a lot of fun.

So me taking that time to invest in Ida’s space was a good way for me to enter that project with a playful mindset and not be afraid of failure. Also, I worked with this client in 2016, so they knew me, and I knew them. So we had trust and respect from the beginning.

WIP Ida, thank you so much for being here today. I feel like we had a really nice talk.
ILA Thank you so much. Yes, it was fun! Scary, but fun.

Created and produced as part of Bielke&Yang’s internship programme by students to provide valuable insights into the design industry. Featuring in-depth interviews with established professionals sharing their personal journeys into the field. Aiming to provide a holistic understanding of the design industry and empower aspiring designers to make informed decisions about their own professional paths.

Spotify or Apple Podcasts

Initiated by Bielke&Yang
Supported by Grafill