Designer insight: Karin Mannerstål

Where did you study graphic design?

At Beckmans College of Design in Stockholm, but the best school was when I was 18 years old and I got a job as an assistant in the studio of an advertising agency called Hall & Cederquist. I loved the teamwork and stayed there for many years. It was before computers, and I learnt a craft that I still take great joy in every day.

What inspires you particularly?

I keep my eyes open for ideas all the time, wherever I am. Travel is always particularly inspiring. Ideas can also pop up in the middle of the night, so I always sleep with a sketchbook beside my bed.

How would you describe your design style?

Colourful, graphic, minimalistic and playful.

What does your house look like? Is it full of your own designs?

My apartment is also my studio, so it's mainly bright and white. The furniture is a mix of my own designs, plus Finnish and Danish favourites. Very Scandinavian, in other words!

You're quite handy with power tools. What DIY projects have you done?

Yes, I'm a very handy woman! At my house, I've tiled the kitchen and bathroom and added the floor, and I absolutely love wallpapering!

Aside from pattern design, what else do you make?

All kinds of things! It could be anything from carpets to my latest assignments. For the last 15 years, I've also been a part of of an interior and DIY show on Swedish television called 'Finally at Home'.

If you had a day to do anything at all, what would you do?

I'm afraid to! Making things make me happy. But, of course, I love to do things with my children and I never say no to a looooong lunch with friends.

How did you make the transition from graphic designer to working on such a broad range of products?

It was a coincidence. I was at home with my newborn son, Alan, when I got a phone call from TV 4. They wanted me to screen test, I got the job as the handy woman, and I've worked as a freelancer designer since that day.

If you could give one piece of advice to budding designers, what would it be?

Be patient, work hard, and never give up.