Nails of New York: Lotta Nieminen

We caught up with our very own graphic designer and friend Lotta Nieminen in her gorgeous (and very colorful) apartment to discuss all things nails, her evolution as a graphic designer and illustrator, and sharing similar passions with family members. Both her love of color and laugh trickle directly from her mother, a fine artist, who taught Lotta and her sister the importance of quality tools, even in simple mediums like paper and crayons.

Lotta has an incredible and deserving reputation, including being the only graphic designer on Forbes 30 under 30 in 2014. Her very recognizable design aesthetic is prevalent in campaigns with admirable brands like Loeffler Randall and Bec Brittain. Yet her electrifying humility shines through as she readily admits that sometimes her nails look like she's actually been gardening for days. And based on her apartment, busting at the seams with cacti and other plants, she may very well be. 

Nails of New York: Lotta Nieminen

Why do you paint your nails? 

I think it's a great way to look put together. I often wear just a simple one-color manicure, but with a little addition like a stud, it becomes more of an accessory, which I love. I'm not very good at wearing jewelry, so it's the perfect substitute. 

Do you have a favorite polish color or nail look? 

I wish I could be a little more adventurous with my polish colors and designs, but since I want it to play off the things I wear the most–a fun but quite minimalistic Scandinavian style–I stick mostly to colors on the tame side: nudes, a classy red, or a dark burgundy in winter. 

Shelves of colorful books line the walls of Lotta's apartment, which she shares with her husband Jonatan. 

Examples of a recent, textile-design collaboration for Liberty London, as well as projects done for both Paintbox and Bec Brittain. 

Can you tell us a little bit about your job? 

I work as a graphic designer, art director, and illustrator. I like to wear multiple hats and alternate between disciplines–it keeps things interesting and the work ever-evolving. In graphic design my style is rather minimal and deliberately colorful. I am for a strong feel of space in my compositions. I also have a weakness for carefully-placed details and small type. 

As a designer and art director, I work mostly on fashion, beauty, and design-related projects. In illustrations my style is more generous with lots of elements and details. I find it easier to play with colors and patterns in illustrations than in graphic design, where my taste is more bare and simple. 

Nails of New York: Lotta Nieminen

What inspires you?

Color has always been really important to me–and for colors to work well in my designs, I like to strip things down, which has perhaps resulted in quite simple, clean visuals. When we were little, my mother would stop my sisters and I when she'd spot a "gorgeous shade of green." I guess that's where my fondness comes from. 

Beautiful or interesting color combinations are one of my biggest indulgences and can be the whole starting point to a piece: a dark green sock next to a pale pink box, a red jacket over a magenta collared shirt... I like to snap a picture whenever I catch a good combination and hope to get to use it later in my work. 

Right: A stage model created by Lotta's mother is one of her most prized possessions. 

See Lotta's full PORTFOLIO and INSTAGRAM for more of her work.

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