CLAUS DUE — Designbolaget — Interview
Claus Due, founder of the design studio Designbolaget, Copenhagen.
Hello Claus, how are you?
I am very good thank you. Proud and happy to be on ligature.ch
Can you introduce yourselves?
Yes – I am the founder of the Copenhagen based design studio Designbolaget. I am an art director and a graphic designer. My studio consists of Johanne, Natalia and myself. Normally we have an intern as well, but not at the moment. We work in the fields of fashion, arts and culture.
Where does your interest in design come from?
I grow up in the countryside of Denmark. A small town with not much to do besides reading comic books, drawing and listening to music. From my very youth I have been a big fan of music and various bands. So I spent hours and hours listening to music – looking at album sleeves – reading every single word that was written in the liner notes. I remember being super confused about bands changing graphic designer from one album to the next. I truly loved the few times when bands had a consistent style of design and if the 45″ singles had the same look I was in heaven. This must have been my first meeting with a graphic identity (no one below 40 has any idea what the hell I am talking about).
How did you come to start up the studio?
I had my first job in an advertising agency but did not really fit in. I thought their ideas were stupid and I hated their lack of respect in design. I was all about details – advertising is the opposite – all about earning money and reaching as many people as possible. In frustration I started up my own one-man-design-studio next to my daytime job – working nights and weekends doing album sleeves and smaller art publications. Soon I had enough work to quit my job and go all in designing books and album sleeves.
It was never my intension to build up a large studio – like working with the 2 designers at my studio but that is also as big as its gonna be. I love designing and every minute not designing makes me a little bit sad. I am very much aware that running a larger studio means a lot of administrative work, meetings and blah blah. That is not for me.
What are the key features of your design?
It is very important for me to have an idea before starting designing. The idea can be obvious to everyone looking at our design or it can be for the sake of our process only. Style alone does not do it for me – then it’s just wallpaper to me. Almost every time I have trouble with a project it is because the idea isn’t there.
Are there any projects or experiences that you have done and that you enjoyed more than others?
The last year I have been invited to do design talks at various design schools and conferences, which I have enjoyed a lot. I was also part of the diploma jury for both graphic design and photography at the design school ECAL / Ecole cantonale d’art de Lausanne this summer. Both really good experiences. I would like to pursue this even more. I would love to do a workshop some day.
A designer that you admire?
Oh my God – I admire so many people. I have always been a bit of a fanboy. I get fascinated very easily and I keep falling in love with people I meet. I had the chance to meet and study with Milton Glaser – he is one of the smartest people I have met in graphic design. Our styles could not be more different but it all comes down to the same – doing good work, being passionate about what you do and having fun doing it.
Which advice would you give to the next generation of designers?
Do good work and be nice to people.
Which books are on your bedside table?
Have a few actually.
Malcolm Gladwell – David and Goliath
Edmund de Wall – The Hare with Amber Eyes
and the latest issue of EYE Magazine
The last word…
Enough talk – back to work.
Interview : Dennis Moya & Tiffany Baehler – 12.14