Farewell (for now), Copenhagen

HeaderName: Ilana Curtis
Home University: University of Pittsburgh
DIS Copenhagen Summer Session 4 Course: Graphic Design Foundations Studio and Visual Journal

With two more weeks to go, I’m finishing up my final designs in my Graphic Design Foundations Studio for the rebranding of the Danish design company By Lassen. The next two weeks will be spent refining and preparing my boards for my final presentation. Cue the nervous butterflies. At the beginning of the session, when we were given the assignment to design a total rebrand (logo, business cards, and shopping bag, to name a few items) I did not feel quite as prepared to take on all of this with my architecture studio experiences, and certainly not in under seven weeks.

After my first one-on-one with my professor, Jeanette, and a few office visits, this seemed a more manageable task. The various studio visits we had, including the studio of Helle Vibeke Jensen, Hebi Inu, and Kinfolk magazine, served as great sources of inspiration not only for my own project, but also as I think about future career paths and internships I want to pursue. These visits, combined with one-on-one studio time with Jeanette, exposed me to the profession of graphic design on all fronts—the physical design work, the marketing aspects, the business side, and even the connection to architecture. On top of solidifying my interest in graphic design, I’ll leave this summer with a second home and deep familiarity with the city of Copenhagen. This connection is especially evident in my other project from this summer: my visual journal.


Five weeks ago I sat in my first Visual Journal class and stared at my big, empty sketchbook with one thought in my head: how am I ever going to fill this up? As I flip through my sketchbook now, only a few pages remaining I’m thinking two things: Wow, I’ve done so much! and I have three blank pages and just under two weeks left-I need a new sketchbook. My sketchbook, which is now filled with notes, scribbles, detailed sketches, and collages, is the compilation of everything I’ve seen, done, observed, and experienced with DIS. By looking through these pages, I can clearly see my improvement in the organization of my ideas and my free hand sketches.








Through the process of sketching and learning to pick up a pen at every spare moment, I have gained a new appreciation for slowing down and taking the time to observe my surroundings. This is perhaps one of the biggest takeaways from my experience in Copenhagen this summer, learning to be fully present. That often means putting down the camera, unplugging for a bit, and taking everything in on pen and paper. I’ve done so much these past weeks, it’s hard to remember it all, but when I look back on my visual journal I see what the most important things are from my seven weeks in Copenhagen.

The thought of leaving now is hard to accept, but also exciting. I am inspired to integrate all that I’ve learned this summer into my personal and academic endeavors at home, and more importantly, plan my next adventure back to this wonderful city!


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