Show and tell: Pietari Posti, illustrator

Originally from Helsinki, Finland, and now living and working in Barcelona, Pietari Posti is an illustrator who has worked with newsstand publications including the New York Times and the Guardian, as well as global brands like Nokia, American Express and Omega. He recently won the ‘Best Book Cover Illustration’ award in the V&A Illustration awards. We talked to Pietari about comic book inspirations, new skills he’d like to learn and the emotive power of illustration.

Could you describe your visual style for those that might not be familiar with your work.

Naive, colourful, lots of women and nature

What are your favourite projects/collaborations worked on to date?

The Paulig Coffee Tin (pictured) was a fun one, they basically gave me a free hand to create anything. Doing art for a 3D object was challenging and new to me also.

Paulig Coffee Tin, Pietari Posti
Paulig Coffee Tin, Pietari Posti

Who would you love to work with?

I wouldn’t mind working with a textile company to create patterns for fabrics and clothes. Again, I think fabric is a an interesting canvas.

Who or what has influenced your work most?

Probably comics, I’ve read them since I was little, Asterix, Tintin all that stuff, later Marvel and other superhero comics. Hellboy but also more underground stuff from Milo Manara and Moebius for example.

Cover of Wealth Quarterly (Coutts), Pietari Posti for Speak Media
Cover of Wealth Quarterly (Coutts), Pietari Posti for Speak Media

Which brands do you think do visual content well and why?

Think what you want about Starbucks but they are using lots of illustration in their products, campaigns and in decoration.

What does illustration bring to a campaign that other methods do not?

A personal touch. It’s much more tailored for the client than plain graphics or photos of anonymous smiling people.

Exhibition poster for Design Museum Helsinki, Pietari Posti
Exhibition poster for Design Museum Helsinki, Pietari Posti

What makes or breaks a brief?

Get your facts in there, deadlines, sizes, budget etc. References are welcome, especially if you have to illustrate something specific – a building for example. Mood references can be helpful too.

If you could learn how to do one new thing what would it be?

Know how to use After Effects and do some animation, that’s the next step to get my images moving!

Poster design for Biernes Festival, Pietari Posti

What would you be doing if you weren’t an illustrator?

Maybe a chef – I love food and you can get creative.

Any wise words to leave us with?

Work is work, but try to make it interesting and fun for yourself.

Author: Tom Owen

A strategic storyteller and compelling content creator, awash with acuity and adept at alliteration. I work for Speak Media.

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