Where: Oslo, Norway
Who is Mats…My name is Mats Ottdal. I am about 185 cm tall. I work as a graphic designer and I live in Oslo, Norway. My talents are limited but my interests are many. My passion is my job and life itself. I love music, movies, winter sports and graphic design.
Background info…I grew up in Stovner, Oslo and spent a lot my time with friends, playing sports and doing graffiti. In high school we made fun of our teachers behind their backs – I spent my time drawing funny pictures of them in class. I also did a comic strip section in the school paper and, so, pretty much realised that I had to work doing something creative in the future. I had to go to the army and after that I started studying at a design school in Oslo.
I'm working as a graphic designer in an Oslo-based design studio but I also work as a freelance designer. I work too much but still manage to find time to hang out with friends, my girlfriend and my lazy dog Gizmo.
Projects…At the moment, I'm working on a typography project for a Norwegian graphic design magazine, packaging design for a chocoloate brand and visual identity for a norwegian fashion designer. I am also participating in a project with a design studio in New York.
History…I studied for two years at a design institute in Oslo, Norway. Then I moved overseas and got my bachelor of design at RMIT in Melbourne, Australia, 2005. After that I moved back to Norway and started working as a graphic designer. which I have been doing for the past five years. So far I´ve worked for three studios and learnt a lot a long the way. I have met a lot of talented people that have helped me and inspired me over the years.
Learning…When you love your job, it's easy to be taught and teach yourself new things. My job is my passion and also a hobby and so i put a lot of time and effort into it.
Then vs Now…I loved drawing as a kid and I drew my way through high school and ended up as a graphic designer. I also did some graffiti during high school and scribbled on everything around me. I guess I'm pretty much the same person today...
Believing…I never really thought about it that way. I just loved drawing and being creative and I guess I just kept going in that direction when I made my career choice.
Pros and cons…I like that there´s a lot of variety. It's a good feeling to sit on the tram on my way to the studio and have absolutely no idea what the next project is going to be. I like expressing myself through every project and trying out different styles. It's fun to just experiment with ideas that pop into my head as well as old ideas that I've been wanting to use for a while. I never get bored and I always feel like I'm taking a break from one project by working on another. The downside of it all is that my work is personal and sometimes there are tough crowds to please. I think I take the job too seriously sometimes rather than just having fun with it.
Family…Well, my grandfather was a painter/photographer and my mom loves to draw and always encouraged me in my drawing.
Obstacles…I´ve had to pull a lot of all nighters and I've sacrificed quite a bit of quality time with family and friends.
Important lesson…To trust my instincts.
Obsessions…I have a huge old comic book collection and wrestling dolls from the 80s. I also have a hockey bag filled with dinosaur toys... still in the attic.
Finding inspiration…I don't really go looking for it. I get inspiration from people I meet, places I go, from looking out the tram window in the morning and from just keep my eyes opened. I love visual communication in form of typography and I don't have to walk far to get inspired or motivated. It's pretty much everywhere.
People…Drinking beer with a group of friends is always very helpful. They inspire me with their personalities, theirs actions and hilarious stories. Artists like Stefan Sagmeister, David Carson and Paul Rand. My girlfriend and my dog motivate me to work hard and at the same time get a good night's sleep so I can go out there and be inspired in the morning.
Websites…I read the local and global news updates, my Gmail and Spotify. Every morning.
Relaxation…I have 20 minutes to relax in the morning on the balcony with a coffee and the radio in the background before heading to work. I also relax by watching movies, hanging out with friends, taking long walks with my dog and sleeping.
Go back in time…I've never really thought about it. I would rather travel to the future and check out the final episode of the Simpsons and take a walk on Mars.
Plans…Clean my messy desk and take a vacation!
Dream life…Have my own studio, my own airplane and my own dinosaur.
If not design…When I was a kid I wanted to be a grizzly bear. When I was like 18, I was thinking about becoming an architect. Hmm… who knows.
Advice to wanna-be designers…Do it! And have fun!
Best advice he's been given…Less is bore.