Published . Words by Petrus Palmér. Photography by Erik Wåhlström.

After studies in Fine Art, Photography and Graphic Design, Erik Olovsson graduated from Konstfack’s MA Storytelling program in 2012. In 2013 Erik set up his own Studio E.O with an intuitive and experimental-centered approach, mixing self-initiated projects and commissions. With recent work for clients ranging from vanguard names such as Parisian Galerie Kreo, Acne JR and COS, Erik’s work is making marks across the design disciplines.

Why do you do what you do?
I started to play with my grandfather’s old computer that had an image software installed, that was the first time I realized I could work with computers in a creative way. We had just got internet for the first time and I was downloading all sorts of images that I was making collages of. I then discovered the beauty of letters and decided that I should become a graphic designer, and from there one thing led to another. Nowadays I enjoy invention part the most, to see your own ideas come to life, that’s very rewarding for me.

What does your average workday look like?
I bike to my studio in Årsta, have a morning meditation and then a cup of coffee, after that I’m ready to start the day. I try to do all my creative work in the mornings and do all the mailing and other stuff in the afternoon. Recently I’ve been working on some new projects and then I do a lot of sketches on A4 papers that I fill my studio with. And when I’m not in my studio I sketch on my phone. When I sketch I make them really fast, like 30 seconds, this way of working is quite essential to my work, I like to have a large quantity to choose from. From time to time I also like to sketch with my hands, I’m doing a project called afternoon sculptures. I then ensemble small pieces of wood or other left over materials that hopefully can be a starting point of a project, the action of doing things without knowing where it leads is really important for my practice.

What has changed?
I see more and more independent designers on the contemporary design scene, which is great. I think it’s part of the boom in tech and information that has enabled designers to work and be seen to a large audience without a lot of money.

What is easier now then before?
To work with someone on the other side of the world that you’ve never met and discuss work in detail over email and Skype. And that it’s possible to do your own thing and find your own crowd. There’s so many possibilities nowadays to be seen and get your things out there on different platforms.

What is harder now then before?
To find time to do creative work. I spend so much time on answer emails and do admin stuff. That’s the hardest part at the moment, to find the time to focus on the things I want to do, like make new projects.

What would you say to someone thinking about a career doing what you do?
Don’t think to much if you should do it or not, just do it. Start doing what you like and be a little stubborn, it will payoff, it just takes some time. I think most of us doing this type of work needs to find their own way of doing it, there is no right way of doing it. You need to invent you own career.

Special thanks to BOLON for sponsoring our Ambassadors project.

During 2016, we are profiling 12 practitioners from different design disciplines to give face to Design Sweden, one for each month of the year. We aim to show how the design profession can look like in 2016 and to promote the exchange between disciplinary boundaries. The project is photographed by Erik Wåhlström.