Designer In The Spotlight: Joonas Paloheimo

Designer In The Spotlight: Joonas Paloheimo

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Today, I’ve got the pleasure of interviewing the talented artist / graphic designer, Joonas Paloheimo. Enjoy.

1. Please provide a brief bio.

I was born in 1982 here in Helsinki, Finland. I’m mostly self-educated. I’ve been working in advertising for over 5 years now. My last full-time employment was at Euro RSCG where I worked for clients such as Nokia, McDonald’s, Disney and many non-profit organizations like WWF, Helsinki pride, A-Clinic, Unicef and Cancer Society of Finland.

2. How would you describe your design style?

I’ve just started to realize that I might have a certain style. I guess you could describe it as illustration imitating photomontages or “iip!” for short.

I try to keep that drawn feeling in my work by using lot of textures enhanced with some hand on wacom action and hard contrasts.

Joonas Palohemio Work 3

3. You’re from Finland, a country that is often lauded for cutting edge design. How much has living in Finland influenced your style?

Thanks for noticing our humble achievements. We, The Nation appreciate it. I guess designing and creating are good ways to escape the cold and darkness that surround our island-like country most of the year.

The design scene is live and kicking here, near the north pole. Helsinki was just chosen as the World Design Capital for 2012. It’s easy to get inspired by people around you. We have legendary architects and industrial designers. Rising fashion designers and personal illustrators as can be seen, for example, at Pekka Finland. I guess there’s some sort of will to work to the very end gene-coded to us Finns. Then with that finished, we sit silently, waiting and wishing that someone would notice.

Joonas Palohemio Work 3

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4. You use a lot stock images in many of your designs. Why?

Stock images are a time-saver and sometimes a great source of inspiration. I do like to photograph but as hectic as the working world is there’s rarely time to shoot all of the pieces yourself.

Editor’s note: See the stock imagery used in Joonas’ work VS the final artwork.

5. What are some of the methods you use to start with a stock image and end up with something unique?

Methods may vary. Whisky usually helps.

Joonas Palohemio Work 1

6. Do you usually have an idea in mind of what type of images you’ll need for your project, or do you sometimes see an image and then get your inspiration?

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When I have a clear idea in mind it’s better to use a little extra time to go through photos to find that perfect fit. The right image saves you loads of time in the composition phase.

When you have the urge to create, but your mind is blank, image banks can work as a good source of inspiration. Just going through the catalog of cool photos you’ll eventually come across an image that is just begging to come out and play.

Joonas Palohemio Work 4

7. What is your favorite stock image site and why?

My favorite is definitely Shutterstock. Shutterstock has a good quality-to-price ratio and their site is very easy to use. The search engine is pleasantly accurate as well.

8. How would you describe your career as a freelance designer?


9. Do you prefer your freelancing to the work you do at your agency? Why or why not? Does it allow you to be more creative?

Even though the pay checks may be irregular the feeling of working for yourself is pretty sweet. Man versus the world. Wino against the windmills.

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Editor’s note: Freelance or Design Agency?

Joonas Palohemio Work 1

10. Can you tell us about some of your clients?

I work for advertising agencies, post-production houses and recording artists. I’m also plotting a plan to get my arms around the game industry.

I also like to do as many pro bono cases as possible. Charity work and such. Making the world better. Poster by poster.

11. Can you offer any advice to budding freelancers?

Well… As being just a budding manflower myself I’m not that certain if I’m qualified to give any advice. Follow your dreams! Was that cheesy? I can probably end this interview even cheesier. Something with souls and mirrors, days and destinies… Maybe some sort of metaphor of a bird flying free? Let’s just end this trainwreck with a quote. Everybody likes quotes. This one is from a guy they call Fred:

“The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.”

If you have any further questions to add, feel free to ask in the comments below.

For further designer interviews see the Designer In The Spotlight category.

7 thoughts on “Designer In The Spotlight: Joonas Paloheimo”

  1. What software(s) do you use mostly to create your designs? (Note: Whiskey is not software :-))

    This is the first time I’ve seen your work, Joonas. It’s very engaging.

    Great interview, Jacob. Thanks to you both!

  2. Thanks to Jacob and for the opportunity.

    Chris Davis: Thanks. I appriciate it. Photoshop is my main weapon of choice but I’m also training Zbrush on the side.

    Easy there Champagne 🙂

  3. Thanks guys!

    Kiren: I’m not quite sure what you’re asking. Guess there’s always luck involved but mostly it’s all about the hard work and practise. I got my first full-time employment with the work experience I had from internships at various agencies. Climbing up the ladders – little by little. The agency gigs I get as a freelancer comes through previous works and my online portfolio:

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