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MEET the DESIGNER - Ingela Arrhenius

posted on April 05 2014

An exclusive interview with Swedish graphic designer Ingela Arrhenius. Known for her iconic children's interiors, fun, kitsch and retro illustrations bring a great graphical quality to children's rooms and baby nurseries.


Ingela P Arrhenius, 47,Married with two sons, Jesper 11 and Johan 15

Where are you from?
I was born in Holland but I am Swedish.

Where are you based?
Just outside Stockholm.

Describe your neighbourhood?
I live in the closest suburb to Stockholm in a small little red house. My studio is close by. I share it with 10 other creative people, such as graphic designers, journalists etc

Who are you?
A happy, anxious, friendly, annoying mother, designer and wife. How do you feel about inspiring future little citizens of the world?I hope I can inspire them by giving them the joy of images and colours.
I grew up in a home with a lot of art on the walls and that had definitely an impact on me.

How did the idea for your business come about?
Art and design has always played a big part of my life so it was just meant to be that I should work in this field. But the first ten years of my career as an illustrator I worked more with adverting and editorial assignments. Lately I am more into the product world and I love it!

What were some of your biggest challenges in starting your business?
To be honest, I can´t remember. I was lucky to be part of a well-know illustrator group when I graduated from art school so I had a very good start. And I have had things to do ever since.

What’s innovative about what you do? In terms of your craft, design or sourcing?
I don´t think I am innovating. I think people can see that I love what I do, that I feel joy while I am creating and that is seen in the products.

How do you get the word out to get more fans?
I think Instagram is my best social media. I post images every day and get a lot of response.

Can you name any celebrity followers?

No, I don´t know who follow me to be honest. It´s not because I don´t care, I love that I have so many followers but I don´t see all names.

What’s the best compliment you have ever been paid?
In my work : It makes me happy and I want it!

Managing a business and having a family is a lot of work, what’s your secret for staying organised?
Evening work. I normally work until early after noon and then I continue after dinner. I am not interested in watching tv or stuff like that and my kids are so old so we are not playing boardgames any more…

What’s the best part of being your own boss?

Planning your time all by yourself. I can have nightmares about being employed.

How do you feel about motherhood?
I love being a mother and I love to laugh with my kids. And hug them. But I am also a very worried mother. I love that they are getting older. But then I have new worries …

How have you changed since you became a parent?
More worries. More joy.

What is unique about designing for children?
You have two target groups. You have the children but also the parent who buy the product. I think that suits me very well. I like finding the design that appeals to both. But the child is the main target of course.

What are your future plans for your business / designs?
If I just can continue the way I do I am very happy.

What is your favourite smell?
Summer grass.

What’s your most treasured possession?
My family. Even though I know I don´t posses them.

Where do you find inspiration?
Flea market and antiquarian bookstores

How do you relax?


Name other designers who you love and are inspired by:
French designer/illustrator Lily Scratchy is the best.

What single thing would improve the quality of your life immensely?

On a personal level: that my foot heals so I can run again.
Good luck Ingela, hope your foot heals swiftly and thanks for taking the time to chat with us :-)

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