In this blog series we're putting the spotlight on some of our favourite creatives. This time we speak with Danish illustrator Mads Berg.
Mads Berg is widely known for his modern art deco style and vintage graphics. His client list includes Coca Cola, Orangina, San Diego Zoo, Lego, and Wired. After recently creating the artwork for this year’s Wimbledon, we caught up with Mads to discuss his approach to illustration, how he developed his style, and his advice for aspiring creatives.
What first inspired you to get into illustration?
I went to a Rudolf Steiner school, where we illustrated and hand typed all our school books ourselves. Also, my dad was in advertising, doing graphics and illustration, and my mom is into textiles, and patterns.
Throughout your career, have you always worked as an independent illustrator, and was that always your intention?
First year after graduating, I worked in a couple of computer game studios, developing character designs and background illustrations. Beyond that I have worked as an independent illustrator.
You’ve picked up some amazing clients with the likes of Coca Cola, San Diego Zoo, Lego, Monocle and Wired most notably, is there a particular project that you are most proud of in your career?
I am hugely honoured to be designing the Wimbledon Official poster this year. Also the accompanying campaign includes my art. Very proud.
You are represented by Central Illustration Agency, how has being represented by an agency help develop your career?
Yes, a lot. For the last 10 years or so, I have has the joy of being represented not only by CIA, but also in the US, and by different agencies in Europe.
Your illustration style is a modern take on Art Deco classic poster art, have you always been influenced by that design style?
Absolutely, but in my eyes, I draw inspiration as well from Art Deco as from Art Nouveau, De Stijl, Cubism, and classic baroque. So there is many different styles of influence.
Throughout your career, you have also designed a wide variety of maps for some of the biggest parks and amusement parks in the world, including Tivoli, London Zoo and Legoland, how did this work first come about?
A LEGO world packaging illustration paved the way for this. From then I produced the artwork for Legoland, and then it all stemmed from there, including the various big Zoos.
You occasionally work as a lecturer at the Danish Design School. How has design education changed, since you graduated in 2001?
The students are extremely skilled in presentation technique, performance, and appearance. And a lot of them have outstanding craftsmanship skills as well. My only concern is that the education has a tendency towards theory and strategy, which in my opinion should not deduct from the focus and joy of the craftsman.
What advice would you give for aspiring creatives and artists, and those who are graduating this year?
Love it, live with it, spend many hours doing art.
All creatives have different approaches to receiving a brief or starting on a piece of artwork, do you have a typical process for when creating your illustrations?
Matchbox sized pencil sketches. Then bigger and bigger, gradually elaborating, and adding detail. This way, the freshness of the tiny composition remains in the full large rendering.
What are you currently working on, any projects in the pipeline?
I am currently working on a Macallan Whiskey campaign, producing some artwork for Finnish beer labels and a charity poster for “Mødrehjælpen”, so there is a mixture of things in the pipeline currently.
This series is all about putting the spotlight on different creatives, are there any creatives who you have recently come across that you would recommend?