The portfolio and curriculum of Finn Lotta Nieminen appears to betray an age she nowhere near corresponds with, as if her work spanned the decades. But this illustrator and graphic designer has just barely gotten started, and her already long list of pieces and clients make her worthy of being the only graphic designer to be recognized in Forbes magazine’s celebrated list of 30 under 30.
Born to a traditionally creative family, logic would suggest that Nieminen follow in the footsteps of her painter grandmother, her textile designer mother, or her musician father. However, she battled against all of these with an inherent defiance that ultimately led her to where she really belonged. Because, if there was something that consumed her hour after hour of her childhood, it was drawing. So much so that at 12 years old, she had already won her first prize, creating and designing a little magazine, Frendi, full of fashion photography she’d designed, all entirely on her own.
Nieminen arrived at this discipline by surprise and by accident upon discovering that what had truly inspired her all her life had a name, and it was called ‘graphic design’. So once she was set in her discipline, with her style highly defined, her career did no more than shine. Such is the case that she, along with her minimalist and colorful illustrations, decided to leave her native Finland in search of greater creative challenges. Just when she had it all, she ventured to New York as an intern in nothing less than Pentagram Design in one of the largest design studios.
Despite having her own visual identity, Nieminen diverges in two directions when designing. On one hand, her illustrations are full of life and color, like tiny universes neatly distributed in large spaces, with the perfect balance between the infantile and the mature. Her designs, on the other hand, turn the noise down to a minimum and work across a bounty of space that grants a calmness and clarity. We could say that Lotta’s graphic design, sober, pastel, elegant, is what one seeks out when navigating the seas of the Internet in search of inspiration.
Today, Lotta runs her own studio and combines her talents in design and illustration at her own fancy, to the point that she only admits those works by brands or products in which she really believes and finds inspiration in and is passionate about. Meeting those requirements, her detailed and joyful illustrations have reached the pages of The New York Times, Le Monde and the International Herald Tribune. Other clients in her portfolio include Google, who commissioned the new design in their calendar app; Hermès, for whom she designs display windows, and Volkswagen, IBM, United Airlines, Monocle, Newsweek, Wired UK, New York Magazine, Vanity Fair and Bloomberg Businessweek, among others.
Despite considering herself “creatively satisfied”, Nieminen is nowhere near satiated and continues exploring new mediums. To her talents in editorial design, design of websites, branding design, packaging and even direction of art in advertising campaigns, add several works in carpeting, wines and cushions, for example. What is clear is that this young, multi-disciplined designer has so much still to offer.