Friday, May 25, 2007

From Hyper Island to NY state

Erik Engström from Hyper Island's Crew 2 has lived and worked in the US since graduation. We wanted to know more:

- Immediately after graduation, I returned to San Francisco where I had spent 6 months as an intern at MetaDesign. After a brief periond at Icon Medialab SF I was contacted by a few former colleagues who had left MetaDesign to start their own company that was to be called Method. 

This was in the end of 98 and it was a very exiting time in San Francisco, the “internet bubble” was inflating rapidly and business was booming. It was the perfect moment to start a company and I had the opportunity to be apart of it from the beginning. 

My first day at work we were assembling office furniture and unpacking our fancy, shiny, blue and white G3s. We were subletting a corner of an office space and it started out with just the founders and myself. Within a few months there was close to 30 of us. I stayed at Method for six years and I'm very grateful for everything I got to experience and learn during my time there.

In 2005, I decided it was time to move on when I was offered a job at Apple Computers. This was a very interesting time as I had the chance to work in a few different groups with everything from Retail graphics and window displays to user interfaces design.

After many years of rather intense work as an employee I wanted to try working on my own on a freelance basis and have been doing for the last year and a half.

What made you choose New York?
Moving to New York was anything but a career move considering I was moving away from all my contacts and moving to a relatively small city in upstate New York where no one knew me and nothing much seems to be going on work wise. It was a gamble but it worked out and I have been fortunate enough to maintain a lot of contacts in SF and create new ones in NYC.

What did you learn during your time at Apple?
I'm not going to deny that giving up my long employment at Method put me out of my comfort zone to say the least, and one of the most valuable lessons I learned is that you are usually capable of more than you realize and big scary changes can turn out to be a lot more manageable then you had anticipated.
More specific to Apple, I learned some things about the effects of hierarchy structures and company culture.

In what way have you utilized what you learned at Hyper Island in your work life?
When I think back on my time at Hyper Island I don't think about learning specific skills or obtaining specific knowledge but rather learning what the occupation requires and how to function as a member of a team. So in that sense, what I learned has been very fundamental and I utilize it all the time.

Have you felt that being Swedish has helped your reputation as a designer?
In some small ways, yes. I sometimes feel like it gives you this credibility that you have done nothing personally to deserve.

What recommendations on how to keep up to date would you give to someone who wants to work with graphic design?
I'm really the wrong person to ask. I don't make any conscious efforts to keep up. You get influenced by everything you see and experience, design related or not.

What would you tell a potential student who's not sure if she/he want to apply to Hyper Island?
In my opinion, if you spend your time wisely at Hyper Island you will be well prepared to tackle what work life throws at you. So I would say – Do it.

Thank you Erik!

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