Ema Rogobete is a designer and photographer who lives in Copenhagen. We’ve been a fan of her work for a long time having spotted her designs on Dribbble, and in particular love her colourful, flat art style. We’re thrilled that Ema agreed to our first ever interview for our design blog.
Thanks for agreeing to this interview. Could you give us a bit of a background about yourself?
I grew up in a small town in Romania, born a year before the anti-communist revolution from 1989 so I’m a child of the 90’s. I was brought up in a family of artists which in a country that just got out from the communist burden, were still considered “rebels” by many.
My mom being a painter as well as my art teacher always encouraged me to be creative and nourished my talents in a visual way.
My dad – a nerd by definition, writer and book critique who also enjoyed designing furniture let me sneak in his workshop and taught me to woodcarve and make patterns, and I also explored his huge library, where I got my hands on a typography book when I wasn’t even able to read and immediately got fascinated by the fonts and each letter presented there. His typewriter was another one of my main attractions back then.
I accompanied my parents to all of the art events in town – from vernisages, art exhibition openings, book launch parties and so on, so I can say I’ve always been surrounded by art and artists from my childhood and therefore the love for art came naturally and wanted to become an artist myself.
How did you get started as a designer?
I initially started studying photography back in Romania and after the first semester there, I decided to take the chance of moving to the capital of Denmark, which has been a leading nation in the design field for decades. Studying in an environment where the opportunities for progressing as a designer are many, and furthermore getting to collaborate with people with the same passion for design, turned out to be beneficial for my developing career.
Do you have any tips or advice for people who are looking to get into a career as a designer?
The role of the graphic designer is to organize and communicate messages, to announce or publicize a product or idea in the most effective way.
First and foremost one has to love this. As important as this is talent but also a good eye for layout and design will make everything much easier.
Secondly, the drive to create something great and not just average. In this field, one has to always keep updated with trends and new techniques, but a key source of inspiration in the constant search for originality is the past. To achieve a successful blend of old and new, an understanding of when and where the source of inspiration is derived is essential.
Trying always to think outside of the box is also a must and many times that means trying harder every time while other times it might come naturally.
As creators, we might get attached to our work just as it would be our “baby”. While this can be beneficial to a certain point, it is essential – especially when working in a team or with clients, to be able to “kill your darlings”.
What inspires you? Where do you get your inspiration from?
I take inspiration from various artists, dreams, illusions, everyday life things like food, smells, my mood, friends, fairytales, films, architecture, places I travelled to or want to visit, memories, and a lot of artwork from contemporary designers. At the moment I am exploring Soviet handicraft and patterns but also retro Japanese advertising posters.
What are some of your favourite artworks that you’ve done?
Lately I have started a project for fun called “Flat Cities” and I can say “Tokyo” and “Moscow” are among my favorites. Another recent illustration is the one of “Darth Vader”.
As time goes on, designers often find their own style. What would you say your favourite style of artwork is?
I am still in the search for my own trademark style, therefore I am still exploring different styles – new ones and from the past.
Back when I was still studying, I had a huge fascination for Surrealism and Dadaism and still have that coming back to me from time to time.
Among my favourites are Art Deco, mid century modern typography, late modern, Futurism, Bauhaus and the list could go on.
Who are some of your favourite designers?
My favourite graphic designer is H.R. Gieger, his work for the Alien quadrilogy is stunning. M.C. Esher, his mathematical and impossible constructions have always fascinated me.
Ray Caesar, Verner Panton, Charles Eames, Coco Chanel, Aaron Koblin, Alvin Lustig, Herb Lubal- in, Théophile Steinlen, Aubrey Beardsley, and again the list could probably never end.
As well as being a great designer, you’re also a gifted photographer – do you have any favourite photographers?
Some of my favorite photographers are Yousuf Karsh, Henri Cartier Bresson, David Bailey, Richard Avedon, Ansel Adams, Steve McCurry, Annie Leibovitz, Irina Ionesco
What are some of your favourite photos that you’ve taken – and what do you love about them especially?
Photography as an artform has been an on-and-off thing for me. I do mostly product photography which endedly focuses on the editing phase. I do enjoy however taking photos as a hobby.
Two pictures I took back in 2007 when I was still in highscool and using my Dad’s old digital camera are my favorites.
The first one is a shot I took on a roadtrip together with my classmates.
The second is of a very dear person of mine, my grandfather, who died very soon after the picture was taken.
A huge thanks to Ema for kindly agreeing to be interviewed for us. If you’d like to find out more about Ema, you should check out her site at e-ma.dk, see her Dribbble portfolio and you can follow her on Twitter @emarogobete and like her Facebook page.