Sophie Douala

Positions on Design

by Svenja Prigge
February 11th, 2020

In her subjective approach, graphic designer Sophie Douala seeks for balance and connection within all things that she creates. Instead of leaning exclusively on formal conditions, she brings her own emotions and sensations onto the canvas, resulting in oddly satisfying, abstract compositions of floating gradients and forms.

Let’s talk about the elephant in the room – you evidently love gradients!

[SD] Yes, actually my oldest work was more geometrical. I was working more with simple shapes. Moving from Paris to Berlin after graduation in 2012 was a whole new vision: new architecture, new friends, the techno scene … I then started to experiment with my style. In the beginning, it was a lot about what I would see. It slowly became more about what I felt, emotions, sensations. I tried to get deeper into myself.

Then it only makes sense that you added more dimensions into your work …

[SD] Yes, and another part of it is, that I was getting more comfortable with my tool, Illustrator. There are so many new functions in Illustrator which I’m using now and I wasn’t using before … And then, my approach of not necessarily having an idea what’s going to come out.

Thus, the element of surprise plays an important part in your process …

[SD] I never have a specific idea in the beginning, I just have to start. And it takes time! Sometimes nothing works out—you never know what’s going to happen. Eventually there’s something weird that pops up and I think: okay, cool, there’s a direction to follow! I then continue to play with that.

Sophie Douala
»You have to know the way you work and how you can play with the element of time.«

… until the deadline tells you to be finished!

SD It’s certainly harder to finish without a deadline. I feel like there’s something that happens in your head. You have to know the way you work and how you can play with the element of time.

Time becomes a tool …

[SD] Exactly.

You state on your website that it’s important to you to reflect positive intentions through your work. In which way do you demonstrate this?

[SD] I try to create compositions that are balanced. The moment when the piece is finished, I feel like, there is a certain energy flowing between the things that it consists of. For me, this energy is related to the universe, to gravity, how the planets are interacting, the solar system, the galaxies and so on. It’s about being connected to everything. The thought of that grounds me in a way.

What do you seek to explore next?

[SD] Animation would add a new dimension to my work. I’d like to make scenography or immersive experiences, and think about how to use a three-dimensional space. I’d love to learn 3D as well ·

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