School of Art, Media, and Technology

BFACD Alumni Feature: Jenni Mällinen

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Jenni Mällinen is a Finnish graphic designer and art director at 358 Helsinki. During her time at Parsons, Jenni interned in the design department at Mother then was hired at Anomaly as a social media designer after graduating in 2013. 

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The 27th annual Habitare is Finland’s largest interior, design and furniture fair. In 2016 Habitare flies the flag for collective homes, with the theme “Open the Doors”. The theme entertains the idea of freedom with no boundaries or obstacles. Habitare’s identity, diverse in colour and shape, is based on a system that creates a new perspective and colour scheme every time the centerpiece of the identity, a simple H-symbol symbolising a viewpoint or a door, is scaled or moved.

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Upcider is an iconic Finnish cider that needed a major update to meet the expectations of a younger audience without losing its core.

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Sokos Catalogue art direction.

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To answer the thirst young adults have for new experiences, we and our client Hartwall decided to serve them a totally unexpected drink. It was co-created together with Finnish youth, who we asked to taste a lot of different new drinks, and share their opinions on them. Eventually we landed on something to get excited about: Royal Cargo – a beer mix that combines beer and apple cider to create a whole new drink category. Next we did the branding, packaging design and launch campaign.

What were your favorite classes at Parsons?

Thesis with Juliette Cezzar, Experimental typography with Kevin Brainard, Politics of a Woman

What did you wish you knew as a student that you know now?

— Don’t be afraid to reach out to people

I was always confident in class but the idea of reaching out to people in the field for advice or jobs always felt somewhat foreign to me. My thesis teacher, Juliette, always encouraged us to contact people and maintain those contacts because most people do want to help you. In my experience this has held true: during the course of my studies and now in the working world I’ve found great mentors who I not only look to for advice, but I consider my friends.

— Do work that you’re excited about

Even while working under design directors in agencies or for a client, it’s important to design from your own perspective, while of course keeping in mind the lead designer’s or client’s wishes. If you’re always thinking about what the client or lead designer wants you’re really limiting yourself.

Who do you look up to in the design community?

A lot of the people I look up to are those that I’ve worked with in the past or am working for now. I love the design and advertising community I had in New York, but now that I live in Finland it’s been an interesting challenge meeting new people and being exposed to a whole other design spectrum.

Eric Hu, Hort – both do interesting, bold work very different to my own at the moment.

Wolff Olins – Wolff Olins has been killing it. They’ve been doing some interesting work that I think challenges not only consumers but people in the design community as well.

Armin Vit – of UnderConsideration, great well balanced critique especially on the Brand New blog which I follow religiously.

The Great Discontent – insights into the lives of other creatives.

What has been the highlight of your career so far?

I loved working for big clients in New York, but now that I work at a smaller agency in Helsinki I feel like I have more creative freedom. Our design department here at the moment is basically myself and our head of design so I’m able to have a larger role in each project. It’s been an unexpected privilege to now have had the experience at both.

 

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