Virpi Oinonen, Chief Illustration Officer
I like to describe myself as a professional simplifier and “storifier”. Illustrator is too narrow a term. Especially since the kind of work I do is really more about the think than the ink.
I set up Business illustrator in 2013. I use drawn visuals because they often help explain abstract and complex ideas better than video, photos or text. I discovered this by accident while working as a digital campaigner for nonprofits. This accidental observation slowly turned into a full time profession. Today I work with other illustrators/comics artists and designers on projects that tend to be mainly about internal change (new corporate strategy, business transformation, innovation – basically something big is happening that needs to be communicated). It can also be about training or selling an idea to external people (potential clients or collaborators) .
At the moment Business illustrator is more like a semi-agency than a one woman operation.
Digital campaigner come cartoonist
My background is in (digital) campaigning which combines aspects of digital marketing with long term online community building. A lot of the techniques I use in my visual communication work are informed by my digital background. When you use data to see what converts people to your followers/subscribers/donors you tend to look at things differently. You basically try your best not to be boring. Boring is the enemy. Boring kills communication.
I’ve also done consultancy around social collaboration tools within larger companies. Collaboration is incredibly difficult in many organisations (silos, email as an internal collaboration tool -yikes- and reward systems that reward information hoarding not information sharing…). Since there are only 24 hours in a day I had to choose between collaboration consultancy and visual work. I chose visual work.
Political sociology and animation
People often ask me if I have an arts background. Not really. I dropped out of animation school because I realised I was more interested in studying the world through academic disciplines. I also thought I could develop my arty skills in my own time. And I realised I don’t have the patience to be an animator…
I have a Master’s degree in political sociology from LSE, and a half-finished Master’s degree from the Aalto University Media Lab (playground for digital innovators and other hard to define human beings). I like to think myself as a neo-generalist. I know a little bit about everything so can connect the dots between disciplines, but I’m not really an expert on anything. I’m also a bit of a tech geek, but only a bit (no pun intended).
Existential comics artist
I used to draw comics as a semi-professional hobby before I embarked on my visual communication career. I drew comics on animals with existential problems, serial entrepreneurs and the absurdities of the business world, as you do.
Finn in London
Those who wonder where the name comes from: I’m originally from Finland, but I live in London, UK. (Heippa suomalaiset – meikäläiselle voi hyvin meilata suomeksikin!)
I’m always happy to chat with people who are doing interesting things.