28 May Interview with Karl-Magnus Boske
When Karl-Magnus Boske isn’t traveling the globe, helping musicians find their way, or embracing the motivations of human love and kindness, he’s changing the world through the digital world of design. The Swedish talent couldn’t be any more well-rounded either, finding passion in everything from football to punk rock. With such an eclectic palette, one question remains— how did the freelance graphic designer discover his footing in the virtual realm of aesthetics? “A friend’s mother told me that I should work as a graphic designer,” claims Boske. “For me, coming from a small town, that was an occupation I [had] never before heard about,” he says.
How did the entrepreneur establish such a calling? When asked how he became a designer, Boske replies: “I didn’t know what to do. I traveled around the world a couple of times searching for the answer but found nothing that could lead the way of what to work with,” he says. Therefore, when an outside influence gave him a nudge in the right direction, the graphic designer quickly found his niche. “I love graphic design and believe in its power to change, make a difference, and engage,” says Boske. Which makes sense, as the designer is very passionate about his craft. When asked about the two biggest influences which feed into his current work, Boske turns to human action as a main source of motivation. For him, it’s the simple art of “love and kindness,” that fuels his sense of creation.
The field of design is rigorous, yet when Boske isn’t furiously working away he forces himself to focus on his hobbies in order to stay grounded. For example, when it comes to things he is most passionate about besides work, the artist states— “Football, hiking, and my family.” It’s these necessities that keep the designer creative under pressure; that, and “sleep,” he says. When feeling bogged down it’s important to, “force myself to do other things, even when short on time, like watching football or getting out and run,” says the artistic talent. Otherwise, all work and no play can dull any great mind.
Someone who believes in art as possessing a power to change must be pretty swayed by art themselves. For Boske, it’s music. Punk rock has influenced his journey and creative eye and has found ways to infiltrate itself into his work as well. As for the best design piece from his portfolio, the artist pays respect to his fellow musicians. “I have worked with music artists for many years and we have developed a solid foundation to create good work together. So, over time, I think we have done some very good things,” he says.
Tools of the trade the designer swears by to get the job done include applications such as InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator, as well as a color collecting app to perfect those hard to harness hues. His creative steps as a designer are very systematic, for the artist adheres to a 6-step process to execute any project. For example, step “1. Is collecting as much information as I can about the task, this includes the customer’s goal; 2. Involves doing lots of sketches without any rules; 3. Reduce and reduce more; 4. Rest; 5. Pick it up again and develop (noting that sometimes you will have to repeat 4-5 a couple of times); 6. The final presentation,” he says. Because after all, “If it’s too easy, it isn’t right. All good success comes from a lot of work—” Boske professes, on the best piece of advice he’s ever heard and believes worth repeating.
This is all fine and good until it comes to harsh criticism. How is critic feedback best handled in such a cutthroat industry where the customer is always right? “I usually think they are wrong and [that] they don’t know [what’s best for them]; however, I do as they wish, as there really isn’t any other alternative,” he says. “I must say though, that most of my clients are very wise. If they don’t like what I’ve done it’s usually because there is something wrong with my work,” he adds. The mistake is not usually in what they’ve said the problem was, but if they’ve found a flaw then something must be off, he acknowledges— a very humble approach for such a professional.
For Boske, honestly is the best policy, and he employs this method to track his own success. “The honest response [I receive] from people I work with is usually the best way. [Also], success in design competitions is a good way to let my customers know that I am good,” he says. While many graphic designers rely on the latest design trends to stay informed of what’s in demand, Boske has a different approach. “I do not really look for trends,” he says. Rather, “I am interested in everything— I read design magazines and websites; also, I look at Pinterest to get inspired when I feel stuck.” For brands that inspire, the creative guru doesn’t have a favorite. “I like those brands that dare to be different. I still think there are many music artists that create good designs,” he tells us.
Aside from music and artists, who have been influential on the designer’s way of thinking? “I am influenced by many different people all the time; yet, the only person that really changed my way of thinking was David Carson at Ray Gun in the 90s,” he says” Lastly, we must ask, what does the creative genius enjoy most regarding the fascinating realm of graphic design? “To get to know different people and branches— I love graphic design. Good graphic design, for me, can give me goosebumps. It’s like eating good food. I often stay long in the store because I have seen packaging that I thought was good. Being surprised by some new and subversive design makes my day,” he says. Finally, what can the world expect from the artist in terms of upcoming personal and professional endeavors? Simple: “Continue to create designs that make people happy, and act nice and helpful,” the designer says. To discover more about Karl Magnus-Boske’s work and accolades, check out his website at www.boske.com.