Designer Spotlight: Asa Gilland

HELLO, PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF:

Hello, my name is Åsa Gilland, I’m a Swedish illustrator and surface designer based in Jakarta, Indonesia. I started out studying fine art and interior design and later worked for many years in graphic design/packaging design.

IF YOU COULD GIVE YOUR 10 YEARS YOUNGER SELF ONE KEY PIECE OF ADVICE OR AN INSIGHT, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

Perfectionism is not something to strive for, it is a sure buzz kill for creativity. There will always be people with more skill, better technique, more original ideas, so you need to let go of every though that your work doesn’t measure up and carve out your own little spot for yourself. Take every opportunity to learn something new, if it tickles your interest, go for it. Continue to try to learn new things, to approach the unknown with curiosity and an open mind.

WHEN YOU FEEL STUCK OR IN A DESIGN RUT, HOW DO YOU GET YOURSELF OUT OF IT AND BACK ON TRACK?

I will try to force myself out of my comfort zone, take a course, a workshop, anything to get a new spark.

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE DESIGN TOOLS?

I have embraced the digital side of art with an enthusiasm that continues to puzzle my kids. I am old enough to have started out at a time when all work was done manually on a drawing table using mechanical pencils, tracing paper, a scalpel and my trusted Rotring pens. I can sometimes get a pang of nostalgia for those times but then I remember what happened when you spilled coffee on your work or made a drastic mistake that could not be easily undone. I was absolutely giddy when my employer at the time brought in computers into our graphics department, revolutionary. Nowadays I am the tech geek in our home.

At the moment my best design aid is my Ipad which I gifted myself on my last birthday. I commute a lot and spend much time in the Jakarta traffic and it is a great little thing to bring along to make good use of the time. At home I work mostly with vectors but also dabble with acrylics and gouache.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR DESIGN PROCESS? FAVOURITE APPS AND PROGRAMS

Procreate is quickly becoming one of my favorites. Normally I work in a combination of several programs, Affinity, AI and PS, and every now and then I bring out traditional media. My design process is fairly straightforward and usually begins with amassing an abundance of reference photos and inspiration. I am not a person who sketch, mostly because I find that it suits me better to dive straight in. I find that the hardest part of the design process is editing, weeding out the excess stuff that I inevitably end up having. I admire minimalistic, clean artwort, but tend to go the opposite route. 

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVOURITE DESIGN PROJECTS TO DATE?

Recently I collaborated with Linoluna, an Indonesia boutique store concept, to create a range of kid’s cushions and posters for their new children interior line:  http://linoluna.co.id/designer/asa-gilland/ . I had a blast working on this project and was really happy with the final products. I also very much enjoyed creating some greeting cards for Trader Joe’s and a coffee cup series based on the traditional Indonesian shadow-puppet legends.

WHO ARE YOUR DREAM CLIENTS OR WHAT IS YOUR DREAM PROJECT?

I like having a mix of small and big project, variation is the fun part. The dream client can sometimes be something of a surprise. It’s not necessarily always the most well-paid projects that linger as favorites, but the fact that the client is someone with whom you can collaborate and share a vision with.

THERE HAS BEEN AN ART SUPPLY SANCTION IMPOSED AND DESIGNERS ARE ONLY ALLOWED TO POSSESS 3 ITEMS/TOOLS, WHAT DO YOU CHOOSE?

If forced to chose I’d be alright with a drawing pad and a couple of ink markers.

WHERE DO YOU FIND INSPIRATION?

I walk a lot and love observing people around me, a lot of my work is inspired by my Swedish background as well as cultural themes of my adopted country. I spend a lot of time browsing and collecting vintage photos and posters that later potentially becomes inspiration for new work.

WHO WOULD YOU SAY THE GREATEST DESIGNER IS?

I have a great admiration for the works of the Swedish designer and artist Stig Lindberg. He had such groundbreaking ideas for his time and his work still feels very contemporary.

When I’m long gone, I hope people remember me for being brave when it counted and compassionate when it was needed.