Illustrator Olle Eksell (1918-2007)
Carl Olov (Olle) Lennart was born March 22, 1918 in Ål, Kopparberg Community, Sweden. Olle was a creator ahead of his time and only 14 years old when he decided that he wanted to become an advertising illustrator, and as soon as he could, in 1938, he started training in Stockholm as an illustrator and graphic designer with professor Hugo Steiner-Prague, where he stayed until 1941.
He later on started work at advertising agency Ervaco in Sweden, where he also came to meet his future wife, fashion designer Ruthel Eksell. After the war in 1946, WW II, when the borders had opened up for travelling, they together sailed with the Drottningholm ship to USA where they both continued their studies at the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles. This is where Olle developed his close friendship with contemporary designer Paul Rand, and the two of them started developing ideas and designs.
They later moved back to Stockholm, and live in their apartment for over 40 years. And in a five square meter studio, Olle was creating his masterwork. He became famous when he created and design pieces for Sweden’s most acclaimed programs, Mazetti and Nessim, and he soon came to create the iconic design of Ögon Cacao (the famous eyes of cacao), designed for Mazetti.
In 1964 he also wrote the book “Design=Ekonomi”, where he’s discussing the importance between design and economy. He said, “Good design is not just aesthetic – it is also good economy. Good design is not just cool – it is bloody serious!”
After participating in international exhibitions in New York, Paris and Venice, and being nominated to the advertising world’s Platinum Academy in 1985, the Swedish government later awarded Olle with the title of Honorary Professor for his magnificent contribution to the world of design.
His abstract and fantasy filled illustrations will continue to live forever.
Images from www.olleeksell.se