Everyone and her mother can go against the grain. But those who say “fuck it, let's do this,” to their dreams, and succeed? Those are the ones who deserve a big bonerific medal.
Oh Yeah, the strong graphic design duo of Christina Magnussen and Hans Oren from Oslo, Norway, have done just that, having tickled the blogosphere and turned a hobby into full-time work. It doesn't hurt to have an elegant portfolio with handsomely crafted designs backing the dream.
Can you give us an introduction?
Christina Magnussen: Oh Yeah studio is a duo, myself and Hans. The studio has had a natural development since it started as a hobby project and into what it is today, a multidisciplinary design studio with two full-time designers. We're still in our first years of establishment so we are not planning any big changes in the near future. And I think it is a good thing not to grow too big, I guess it is easier to keep it real and to hold on to a certain style and personality that way. However, we are expecting to grow (a bit) in the years to come.
How was Oh Yeah Studios born? Who came up with the concept?
We met in school where we started collaborating and doing our own 'thing.' We wanted to make idealistic projects and explore new fields and have fun. I guess the concept you are referring to is 'doing after dinner' which is a symbol of being creative besides (paid) work, where you work against deadlines and find little time to explore. And that was just something we needed to do, it wasn't like an agreement or anything.
After doing this a while we started getting some press and got spread around on blogs and such. That's when we decided to establish Oh Yeah studio. But 2009 is really the year that we both fully committed and have made it into a functional design agency. It is really, really sweet to be able to work independently.
For folks who aren't familiar with your work, what aspects/details/insights would you want them to know about it?
Perhaps that we are educated with graphic design, illustration and visual communication, that we always try doing our best. We usually combine analog and digital drawing. The fusion is interesting (we think) because the digital vector shapes are a contrast to the analog drawings. Vectors give you perhaps a more designed feel, whereas the drawings evoke an expression of the ideological craftsmanship of the artist/illustrator, which is more about the creation of things.
I've spent hours admiring your work, can you give us an idea of what your process is like in creating them?
A design process is never the same, but we are very interested in surrealism and abstract shapes. We often create keeping in mind how surrealism and dreams can communicate with the viewer and their unconsciousness. We are also very much in love with the ideology of Gunnar S. Gundersen for using only a few elements and colors. And of course, we're big fans of David Lynch.
Do you guys have a routine, other than 'doing stuff after dinner'?
Well, we try to be strict about getting out of bed and start working at nine. We feel it is important having routines to stick to so the job gets done. We actually have Monday meetings, just the two of us. We go out and get some nice coffee and some cookies and plan the whole week. It's a nice way to get in the right spirit. But we're not maniacs about it. It's also nice sitting at home, listening to music, drawing and working together into the night.
I guess we both really like everything printed, the way a design looks on paper and as a finished piece. That always a high.
What do you have in store?
We are hoping to work with video and motions graphic soon. We have an exhibition in mind but it's to early yet to comment with any details about it. But something is cooking.
What other design teams in Norway do you admire?
The great Grandpeople from Bergen. Their technique and level of detail is mad. And of course Anti in Oslo.
How's the music scene in Bergen? Are the kids alright?
The kids are definitely alright! There is a scene and seriously good stuff is coming from Bergen. I don't think I should go out and define the Norwegian music scene, but I will say this: listen to Sivert Høyem if you haven't already. And Kim Hiorthøy who also is a great designer/artist.
Also: Katzenjammer, Harrys Gym, Kings of Convenience and Datarock.
Who would your dream collaboration be with?
Hans Oren: We're hoping to collaborate within the music industry in the near future.
C: If I could choose I would do Sivert Høyem's next cover, wow.
H: I would like to do some work for Bob dylan, Tarantino and David Lynch. There are so may great people out there, just mentioning a few is almost kind of unfair.