Aarni Kapanen illustrates Dudes & Feelings podcasts

Aarni Kapanen is on his third year of studies of Visual Communication Design at the Department of Media. He explains how he ended up in Aalto, what he has learned and what inspires him, and also what it’s like to make a podcast where dudes can discuss their feelings.

Studies and insights

‘I’ve been lucky in the sense that I’ve always known I could express myself visually. I painted and drew playfully since I was a child. At the age of eighteen I realised that I couldn’t paint graffiti in Tampere my whole life. So, I pondered what would be the best possible work for me. I dreamed about working with visual art somehow, attracting the attention of the general public, not knowing exactly how and what that would be. Today, that job description to me means media communication and art direction. I realized that Aalto’s Visual Communication Design program would be the best place for me to learn the necessary skills to become a multidimensional creative worker.

Luckily, I got in by working hard. I can’t condense three years of study experience into courses that promote critical thinking or very personal teaching. In addition to the lectures, I learned equally as much during periods of stagnation. Sometimes the most important insights happen when I hang out with a friend in the school’s studios late at night talking about our childhood with Run the Jewels playing in the background. I feel that the school has, above all, provided extraordinary tools and resources to learn and try your own wings.

My main lesson has been that in visual communication, it’s best to do what you love. Nowadays, I try to forget the ideas I learned about good design and seek the sources for my inspiration myself. I get style tips from mafia movies, stand up comedy and Young Thug’s music. I get inspired about the fact that everyone express themselves in their own style during studies. I admire my extremely talented friends who follow their own passions and tastes in the field of visual communication.

The second most important lesson for me is to always present your own work proudly. I have tried to get attention with my visual work, because visual communication is based on attracting attention, one way or another.’