VW Japan

Art Directing for VW Japan:

“If I’m going to redo the magazine, I want a classic set-up: Gimme an art director and a lot of slack, and I’ll do it”. Editor in Chief Tatsuya Mizuno was to revitalize a magazine that was losing it’s impact. I was lucky to be around and be assigned.

The first thing we did, was to stop trying to make it look like a lifestyle magazine that had to involve cars all over the place. Instead, we decided to do a real Car magazine. But sincerely push the creative freedom a Customer Relation Tool allows to the limit, while being proud of the brand it represented. The result was the redesign of VIEW magazine. Our creative director returned satisfied from Wolfsburg, Germany. The magazine was internally displayed as an example to follow.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

“Per-Ore was a superb art director, came up with lots of new ideas … and creativity … He is also a good drinker”
Tatsuya Mizuno, Editor in Chief, VIEW Magazine, 2006

Lo-Fi Magazine


Challenge: Redesign a niche-magazine, while reducing costs.

Rephrase: Develop a recognizable style utilizing halftone, collage and high contrast illustration.

Reduce jacket costs by replacing 4-color with 2-color printing. Create surprising optical attraction, using unique color combinations and close crop composition.



Mazda’s ‘Zoom-Zoom’

For Mazda Motor Company:

Before getting a G-mail account I had one of those “my-own-snazzy-mail-address” accounts, that only was as cool as the amount of spam it could reject. On the verge of deleting one of those mails saying “Are you interested in …” I stopped and paused for a second: It was in Norwegian … Why would anyone spam me with jobs in Japan – in Norwegian?

Soon, I joined Kei Grieg Toyomasu and the Redwood staff in Harumi, providing on-brand spread and magazine designs for Zoom Zoom magazine, Australia and New Zealand edition.

Yes, I’ll confess: I’m a big train nerd. But never have I been as excited as when I took the train to Hiroshima to meet the Mazda staff. And I’ve never looked at Miata’s again the same way.

(Sad, but relevant: 6 months later, the financial crisis hit, forcing Japanese car companies to put a halt to their long-term Customer Relation activities, including Mazda).

“Per-Ole is not afraid to speak up when he sees room for improvements and he has a high integrity to the quality of what he delivers”
Kei Grieg Toyomasu, Head of International Clients, Proximity Japan / Redwood Japan

“Per-Ole was a blessing to Zoom-Zoom … He hit the ground running”
Silvina Penovi, Brand Development Manager, Mazda Motor Company


“Talent borrows, Genius steals”


Those are the words of Oscar Wilde, TS Eliot, Pablo Picasso and many others who thought it fitting to steal the quote from whoever wrote it in the first place. That was pretty much the code that wrote all we did on Torpedo magazine.

We’re writing the early nineties and the world was still young. Not. I was still young, fresh from an unfinished printer’s apprentice program. I was assisting software classes to pay the bills, as I toned my Photoshop skills. A pamphlet on newspaper print was dropped in the lobby. They looked for volunteers. For a magazine.


I joined the team. Did my first spreads in the fall of ’91. Then it all came to a halt. The editor had criticized the same public program that happened to support the media project. The sawdust from that log was still fresh, when Søren Heuseler asked me to develop an independent version. “This guy’s got drive” I remember thinking. “I don’t need the official brainwash from the Journalist Academy to make a writer”, he said. “How do you feel about the state of education these days?”


This was an approach after my liking. Who cares about theory, when you can learn through practice? Be your own Master. Teach yourself. Eat the mistakes and learn by flaws. Make mistakes faster.


We worked from a software class room at night until the cleaner came 7.00 in the morning. We only had one machine, so we had to switch between layout and editing. We changed the format. We threw printing friendly paper around the bulk. Added black and yellow warning stripes top and bottom and went to Jylland to get the thing printed cheaply. In the middle of Nowhere.


In Nowhere, they still know how to press. I didn’t. As we were having Danish with the sales-reprsentative, the prepress director peeked in: “Do you have a minute?”. I walked with him to his assistant, who looked fairly frowned. “The image are not adjusted over the cropmarks”. I tried to focus. Three days with no sleep and a mission does things to you. When you’re in Nowhere. “All through the document:. Look” I did not have a clue what he was talking about. I was 19 and an underground hero. But I … Suddenly, I got it. “How can the images be cut to the edge, if they don’t overlap a bit?”


After that pricey, embarrassing lesson, I went to the Craftsman’s Library. Studied hard. Established layout principles, that would be challenged and criticized by readers, writers and printers. Adjusted, re-tested and defended. It looked something like this:

1 Keep the body text strictly functional, maximum navigation and readability.
2 Allow white space to create optical tension
3 Let the visuals talk – create simple hierarchies
4 Go crazy on the headline

There. Not a bad start.


Monthly Powerhouse

I had put my wild years at Torpedo Magazine behind me and was trying to convince myself that Advertising was alright. Thankfully, Morten Linck called me for lunch only three weeks into that bad idea. Digesting my portfolio, he responded: “All the spreads you’ve shown … Some of them are a bit … But no, I would be ready to print them all in Euroman”. That was the moment I received my graduation papers – street style.

Euroman was an amazing place to work. Even though the Linck brothers already then had a spotty reputation, I couldn’t care less. Creative director Morten Linck was passionate about his work. Always gracious when it came to let the best idea win. Ideas was what brought home the awards. Portray the investigative journalist in combat and climbing gear on a backdrop of the next big scoop. Dress the prime candidate for the conservative party as James Bond. It was all about the idea.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

“Per-Ole joined the Euroman team and quickly became the leading design-figure: Shaping and defining the style of the magazine” Mads Christensen, Fashion Director, 1998.

IKEA Japan

Magazine concept:

IKEA contacted Proximity Japan (BBDO), asking them to join in on the competition for a magazine concept bid. Facing advertising giants and only 2 weeks to deliver, Director Naoki Fuchinoue approached me to join his magazine team* to provide a winning concept.

Focusing on Japanese reader profiles rather than on an international readers platform, we tailor-made a concept that would fit Japanese tastes while appealing to Scandinavian design and culture aspirations. The concept beat Hakuhodo and Dentsu competitors. The project was finally not launched, but the client stayed on board 😉

*Ota Minoru and Kate Klippensteen