I'm Eline, I own Issun Studio. For larger projects, I hire people and subcontract other companies to come on board according to projects. The past year I have focused on being a founding member of a distributed start-up.
As a design director I envision better futures, help navigate complex societies, build regenerative strategies, direct and create storytelling, and design with interactive technologies in mind. I have 20 years of deep experience in creative leadership, interaction design, visual communication design, service and systems design, filmmaking, and social entrepreneurship.
If I were to have a motto it would be something like
"There is a better way"
I'm from Copenhagen, Denmark. I have lived in Kyoto, Toronto, New York City, Oslo, London and traveled extensively. Exploring new settings is a key ingredient in a fulfilled life for me. I like to stay nimble and I easily move country when the work is interesting.
Education (click for larger image):
Issun is Japanese, it's from ancient folklore. Issun is a tiny wandering artist/samurai, delivering messages between the sky and the earth. Living and studying mixed media in Japan has had a great influence on my creative thinking and aestetics.
I’m focused on creating sustainable solutions. Innovation is, in my book, based on keeping a close ear to the ground, thinking critically, working creatively and be solution oriented towards a healthy relationship to the planet. As a creative with specialised expertise as well as a broad set of disciplines and tools, it always varies which methods will be applied during the innovation process. Three characteristics define my path:
FUTURIST · WAYFINDER · COMMUNICATOR
FUTURIST … The seer …
Being a futurist means I look around the corner, finding seeds of things yet to come. As a designer and a dreamer of new realities and scenarios, I work towards improving existing solutions as well as inventing more sustainable ones. How do we define the future? We don’t. We can’t know what is coming.
What we can do is listen closely and observe with an open eye and an inquisitive mind. We see life from different perspectives. We qualify our findings and intuitive assumptions with academic methods of analysis, and we forecast. We integrate what we have learned, we imagine, and we create new visions to move towards. If we accept the complexity that is human life, we also know that any synthesising of our research is linked to our personal bias and context. Methodical transparency is a cornerstone of any succesful analysis.
Having always travelled, the role of wanderer, following curiosity and being open to discovery, is essential to me. I love exploring new contexts and places. When I lived in Japan, I’d often take the train into Osaka only to exit at random underground stations to get lost on purpose, gifting me many new experiences in the process.
The internet provides a plethora of inspiration for everything from new gadgets to new ideas. It provides windows into other peoples existence and is a wonderful resource of knowledge. Getting out there, immersing oneself in the context of reality, however, makes a big difference. As much as we can point others to the latest and the coolest from internet research, thoughtfully engaging the actual context-environment is invaluable for getting deep imprints and defining new trends. We need a full sensory imprint to truly understand the reality of others. Being a “desktop wanderer” only is not going to cut it.
Having said that, naturally I do daily scannings of media and networks, I check in with the thinkers and doers, I read up on neuroscience, behaviourism and philosophy to gain a deeper understanding. Essentially we design for people and they are my biggest focus. My expansive network within the global interaction design community, as well as art and media scene, feeds me new thinking and projects constantly.
WAYFINDER … The Pathfinder …
A wayfinder is someone who helps others navigate. It is someone who shows the way and leads the pack. It is also someone who is able to go deep into problems and facilitate new ways of moving forward as things change, because change is a constant that requires continuous adaptation.
How do we tell direction? We use the best clues that we have. Wayfinders practice constant observation. Vision is not so much about just looking, but knowing what to look for. It’s experience. Just as the ancient Polynesians did as they ventured out on the open ocean, the wayfinder navigates using a mental construct of acquired knowledge.
I’m light on my feet and I can always identify alternatives routes, and re-orient the group to pursue new directions. I am also the keeper of the vision in that I keep teams connected to the core of the matter of our task when things get off track. Which they most often do during creative iterations as “blue sky” concepts meets reality.
How do we make the right decisions as we alter or correct our course? How do we best inform ourselves moving forward? We stay aware of all we do and know, we keep an eye on our intent and purpose and we then weigh them against our constraints and urgency. Pulling the group back on track is the role I often play.
COMMUNICATOR ... The Creator ...
The communicator in me loves to tell stories. It is about connecting people to things that matter through visual, spatial and auditory means. How do we get to the core of the story, what is the most true, thoughtful and important message to convey? How do we do that in a precise and connecting manner? We strategize well, write well and we emote well. Photography and filmmaking are strong emotive connectors and a big part of my toolbox of directing and delivering messages.
Myths and the stories we tell each other are what binds us together. It is what creates our identity in society, makes us who we are, and make us act the way we do. We define ourselves in the mirror of ‘the other’ and we can only see and hear if the story is told. It is up to us to decide which stories we wish to tell, who we tell them to and how. Do we want to build a new myth of a better, more connected life on this planet or do we keep feeding the beast of fear and ignorance?
As a life long learner and curious to the bone, I really like to help curate content in order to best disseminate knowledge and make it accessible to a larger audience.
Having photographed for 35 years, observing and being curious is in my blood. I started as a small kid when my dad patiently taught me how to do exposures on his medium format camera and I loved spending hours and hours in the darkroom seeing the image come to light, tweaking the paper story right there in the calm darkness. I grew up in a private library, my childhood home had thousands of books and there was always interesting people around discussing anything from pedagogical methods of building identities to progressive political theories to great things to cook for dinner. Consequently, I was programmed very early on to be curious, open and a critical thinker with a need to drive positive change.
My upbringing also sparked my deep passion for food and food culture and this probably grew out of several reasons. I was exposed to the effects of great hosting, my parents would host these dinners with an always diverse crowd of interesting guests; international politicians, experimental artists, writers, filmmakers, poets, school makers, and social entrepreneurs. As a trained cook, my mum served up amazing meals and it had a truly positive effect on the conversation. People were incredibly grateful. And obviously enjoyed themselves. Another reason was the responsibility I got from early on, we had a very big greenhouse and kitchen garden and it was my job to go source the freshest produce as well as going to the hen house to pick up eggs. My mum would then cook with what ever I came back with. I learned very early on to respect the edibles nature serves up, and the social power of a wonderful shared meal.
I was surrounded by nature and animals and for me to have a balanced existence to this day, I thrive on regular exposure to both. I’m passionate about wildlife and habitat protection, and will not work on projects that will exhaust ressources or destroy environments. I believe in our power to create a better future and I want to be part of regenerative design solutions.
I believe in our ingenuity as people as a whole, I have seen time and time over how creative minds from across disciplines come together to manifest and realise something completely unthought of, only because the problem has been crystallised through validation of context, and stewarded by true intentions.