Sakke is an extremely talented designer residing in Helsinki, Finland. He attributes his style to old retro movies like Tron and various images he recalls from growing up in the 80′s. His illustrations consist of vibrant colors and bizarre images that are unique and very well executed. In this interview, Sakke explains how he thinks a freelance designer should build up a client base, and a lot more. So check this one out.
1. Welcome to Psdtuts+! Please introduce yourself, give us a brief bio, tell us where you’re from, and how you got started in the field.
Hi Psdtuts+! My name is Sakke Soini and I am a freelance illustrator, web-designer, VJ and a DJ, currently based in Helsinki, Finland. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in International Business, I decided to pursue my passion, which I rediscovered while working as a marketing assistant where I had the job of creating small advertising campaigns.
I gave myself an ultimatum that if I wasn’t making a living out of it in two years, I would go back to school and finish my Master’s degree. Well two years passed last summer and I am involved with international campaigns. Actually, I never thought I would get this far. I think I was just avoiding entering the rat race and waking up when I am 60 and realizing that I did not even try to follow my passion. Good thing I did.
I started out small, making websites for my friend’s bands and flyers for parties and slowly bettering myself. I still feel like I am not nearly as good as I want to be. All the time I am trying to find new ways of becoming a better designer and an illustrator. That is what I love about this field of work. You can always improve.
2. Your designs are filled with vibrant colors and bizarre images that you turn into stimulating artwork. So what exactly draws you to this specific style of the abstract and colorful art?
Ever since I was young I have been a big fan of Japanese popular culture. Anime for example usually combines vibrant colors, dark themes with sometimes bizarre and unexpected images. That influenced me heavily. Also growing up in the eighties I spent a lot of my time parked in front of my Commodore 64, so I guess that had some permanent damage on my brain.
3. Give us a look into your general brainstorm process when starting a new project.
Almost with every piece I make, I try to tell a story. I envision a world where the events take place and a story behind the characters. Combine that with appropriate soundtrack and usually the images just pop into my head. If I wish to create a piece with strong retro feel to it, I try to do as little research as possible. The mind works in a funny way; you never really remember things the way they actually were. Your mind throws a spin on it and I try exploiting that. So my idea is never to create a pastiche for example of an old album cover, but more importantly I try capture the feel of that period in my head.
4. How exactly would you categorize your style? And what techniques do you find essential to your specific manner of design?
That’s a difficult question. I would like to think that my works tend to have a strong cinematic feel to them. So if I had to choose one word I would choose cinematic. I try not to pigeonhole myself too much with just one style. Although, I am probably better known right now for creating pieces with a strong retro feel, so would say a good understanding of colors is very important. I probably spend the same amount of time adjusting the colors as I spend on the actual work. Good composition skills and understanding the field of typography are very crucial as well.
5. Your art is a mix of futuristic and retro, where exactly do your draw your inspiration from?
Oh boy, from everything really. Starting from my memories from childhood to a girl I saw on the street today. Also, like I mentioned above, I draw a lot of my inspiration from music. Old science fiction movies of course are a huge inspiration for me. I guess the movie Tron being on top of that list. But I also draw a lot of my inspiration from Scandinavian design, fashion, and architecture. The list is endless.
6. You are currently working as a freelance designer. What tips can you give other artists who are looking to start earning money for their work? How does one build a good client base?
As in any other field of business, networking is really important. I have been lucky in that sense that even when I started out I have never really been without work. There was always something on the horizon – big or small. And I account all that to good connections. At the local level spoken word is the best marketing there is. Leave a trail of satisfied customers behind you and they will most surely recommend you to others. Global markets operate differently, but the Internet really evens the score these days for everybody. If you are good at what you do, eventually someone will notice you. That is the beauty of the internet.
7. Does being a designer change your perception in normal life? If so give us an instance where it has.
The more you learn and the more you know, the more you pay attention to your surroundings and question it. Just reading the menu in a restaurant can be an excruciating task if the typeface is poorly chosen. But then again you can appreciate good design when you come across it. So you are pretty much always aware of your surroundings.
One example could be that I went to see this band play last year. I really enjoyed their music beforehand, but their live visuals were so badly chosen and executed that I really could not concentrate on the music. After that I stopped listening to this band because these images from the live show always popped into my head.
8. Thanks again for providing Psdtuts+ with this opportunity at interviewing you, any final thoughts? What would you tell other designers that hope to be as good as you one day?
No problem whatsoever! My advice for aspiring designers would be that you shouldn’t rush it. Take your time, learn the techniques, and also look for inspiration somewhere else than the internet. Start out small but think big. Set realistic goals for yourself and think of a strategy how you can achieve them.
Everything has been done to death anyway these days, so don’t try to be original just try to be good. Paul Rand said that.