7 June 2013
Lindsey Spinks Chelsea Flower show piece for the FT
8 May 2020
The duo behind the design studio, Darling Clementine, are Ingrid Reithaug and Tonje Holand, two incredible artists who come together to create work that is rich in colour, steeped in design history and thoroughly individual while being the product of a collective mind.
Starting out as their own stationary brand in 2006, Darling Clementine have expanded into a design studio, lending their artistic direction and illustrative skills to clients including Neutrogena, Marks and Spencer and the ICA.
Whether it’s characters, patterns or scenes, there is a sense of economy in the way Darling Clementine put their images together; elements are iconic and composed to give the viewer an immediate understanding of what it is they’re looking at. Their use of this iconic approach and ability to create variations of it have worked magnificently to brand entire ranges of products giving them a distinctly uniform feel; they retain what makes each product unique and individual, but the collective identity is undoubtedly there… much like Darling Clementine.
We spoke to Tonje and Ingrid about Oslo, English supermarkets and never ending hotel breakfasts…
Where do you live?
Ingrid lives in Skøyen, Oslo. Tonje lives on Nesodden, a peninsula in the Oslo fjord, only a ferry trip away from Oslo.
Our studio is in Grunerløkka in Oslo, a lovely area located at the east side of the city. The studio has shop front windows and is surrounded by all sorts of specialty shops and cafes. Grunerløkka is known for its small independent shops, bars and creative studios. It’s only a 15 minute walk from the centre of town.
Can you describe your creative process?
Our typical creative process starts with us trying to make our mind up about what kind of landscape we want to be in aesthetically; if it’s an homage to vintage packaging or inspired by simple Bauhaus design for instance. When we have decided roughly the direction we want the project to go in, we do a lot of research. We then start sketching and normally try out 2-3 directions within the chosen field, then present to the customer sooner rather than later. We find that we often benefit from showing them stuff earlier on in the process, to avoid misunderstandings. Communication is key! The best projects we do, we do in close collaboration with the client.
What does a typical working day look like?
We might have a little chat, and then we get started. After we both had kids the hours at work became precious, and we are very effective these days. We break for lunch with the other designers in the office at around midday, and some days pop out for a coffee and a walk in the nearby park to get some fresh air. Some days we have client meetings, and it’s really nice to get out of the office and see other inspiring studios and meet clients. Our day finishes at 4pm.
Do you listen to music or the radio whilst you work? If so, what’s on your playlist?
We listen to music or podcasts. On our playlist from April you’ll find Jason Isbell, Basia Bulat, Perfume Genius, Car Seat Headrest, Phoebe Bridgers and many more.
How long have you been with the Artworks for?
We have been with Artworks for 2 years now, since 2018!
What drew you to the Artworks?
We both did our degrees in the UK and used to live there when we were younger. We love England, and miss the simplest things; like going to the supermarket food shopping. The variety is so good and so is the packaging design! It’s almost been a yearly treat for us to go to London for inspiration. In addition to going to exhibitions and nice design shops, you’ll be sure to find us in the food department of Marks & Spencer and Fortnum & Mason! We were first drawn to the Artworks because they represented one of our favourite illustrators; Lucia Gaggiotti. We adore the work she has done for Carluccio’s! Secondly, we really liked that the agency was run by the three strong, intelligent women, and we instantly felt it to be a good match!
What books or programmes did you love as a child? Have they influenced your work in any way?
In Norway, there was a lot of Eastern European animation on TV in the 80’s. This has had a great impact on our work. Tonje even did her Masters Degree researching this; how the aesthetic of Czech animation influenced her work as a designer.
If you weren’t an artist, what would be instead?
What was the most important lesson you learned at Art School, if you went!
The most important lesson from Art School was realising how all the subjects are closely connected. We both did a ‘carousel’ when starting our BA, which meant trying out illustration, graphic design and photography. For us, it has been a strength to try and master all the subjects.
What inspires you the most to create?
To be surrounded by aesthetic objects and nature!
Name three artists you admire?
Shona Heath/Tim Walker, Bjørk/Matthew Barney & Henri Matisse.
What kind of commissions do you enjoy the most?
We enjoy doing packaging design projects the most. We also love when we can have the overall art direction; like with our own brand where we do product development, design and styling.
What would your dream commission be?
We would love to do the Christmas shop window for department stores like Selfridges in London or NK in Stockholm, or a limited edition campaign for brands like Kiehl’s.
What five things could you not live without?
Coffee, wine, iPhone/Macbook, friends & family!
What is your favourite meal?
Risotto! One of those never ending hotel breakfasts is also amazing; fresh juice, coffee, yoghurt, overnight oats, bread & cheese – and a little pastry for dessert! Heaven.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Be with the kids, our families, our friends. We normally go on a trip each year with friends, our kids and their kids, a nice big happy family!
What is your current dream travel destination?
To see more of Darling Clementines work, click here.
If you want to see some incredible homeware and stationary products, visit Darling Clementines online store.