From Iceland — Artist Talk: Graphic Designer Helga Dögg Ólafsdóttir

Artist Talk: Graphic Designer Helga Dögg Ólafsdóttir

Published September 10, 2016

Artist Talk: Graphic Designer Helga Dögg Ólafsdóttir
Hrefna Björg Gylfadóttir
Photo by
Hrefna Björg Gylfadóttir

Recently graduated from the Iceland Academy of The Arts, Helga Dögg has been busy this summer, working on designs for the 2016 Reykjavík SlutWalk as well as freelancing on various graphic design projects. She currently works as a journalist at Fréttatíminn and is collaborating with fashion designer and stylist Erna Bergmann, photographer Saga Sig and Sigrún Edda Eðvarðsdóttir. The powerhouse group is creating a new fashion magazine, Blæti, which will debut in October. We asked Helga a few questions about starting out as a designer in Iceland.


When did you start designing?

I have always been creative. However, I stopped being creative for a while because my twin sister beat me at a drawing contest at Ikea and won an Easter egg. I was so jealous, I just quit. My school, the Iceland Academy of the Arts, my classmates and teachers, gave me the confidence to really start designing.

What is your creative process?

I always begin by freaking out and then I get to know the project better and try to look at it from different perspectives. After that I have a coffee and cigarette with my friends and talk about it. It always helps to talk things out.


What inspires you?

I’m surrounded by many great women who inspire me each and every day. I have had the privilege of working with great, strong women and I’ve learned a lot from them. Confidence inspires me as well as Picasso and Lord Of The Rings.

What is your favorite artwork, by you and/or another artist?

I love doing zines. When I do zines I have no boundaries and simply do whatever comes to mind, really quick. My favourite artwork at the moment is my LOTR tattoo by my good friend, Gréta Þorkelsdóttir. I also have the entire Britney Spears book collection, glitter edition and all, Gréta did for her final project in art school, it’s so cool.


How is it being an artist in Iceland?

I’m relatively new to the design scene but I find that young and cool artists are ubiquitous and it’s easy to find someone to collaborate with, which I love. The scene, however, is pretty small, which has its ups and downs. I learned pretty quick that you have to be efficient in creating your own opportunities. You’ll never get anything you won’t ask for.

Future plans?

Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get. But I know I want to get rich, and work at a cool studio.

– You can see Helga’s portfolio at

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