Illustrators and designers Ingrid Reithaug and Tonje Holand of Darling Clementine started their careers making whimsical stationery at their boutique studio in Oslo.
Fifteen years later, the creative duo produces their signature style of dreamy patterns, colorful designs, and decorative packaging for clients in Tokyo, India, Norway, Korea, and beyond.
bbhugme is offering special edition prints designed by Darling Clementine. We talked to Darling Clementine founders Ingrid and Tonje about their work, what inspires them, and why they love the creative process.
The Early Days of Darling Clementine
Ingrid and Tonje earned their degrees in visual communication and art direction in the U.K. but didn’t meet until after college. The found each other after admiring one other’s stationery designs from afar.
“We were both making cards before we met and liked each other’s styles. We tracked each other down—this was before Facebook—and a friend finally introduced us at a concert,” Ingrid says. “We shared our portfolios and inspirational work. It was destiny.”
They launched Darling Clementine in 2006 and never looked back. “We felt very lucky to meet and to have wanted to do the same thing at the same time,” Tonje says.
What Inspires Them?
Ingrid and Tonje look to nature, popular trends, Pinterest, fashion, and movies for inspiration.
“We have similar tastes. When we started 15 years ago, we realized we had the same dresses, kitchen utensils, and furniture. We liked the same things,” Ingrid says. “For us, illustration is such a good way to express ourselves. Graphics can be strict and quite limited, but illustrations can be a bit more fun and over the top.”
How Would They describe the bbhugme Special Edition Prints?
bbhugme asked for a design with a Scandinavian theme. The result was two Nordic botanical prints—one is deep green, called “Green Meadow,” and the other designed in pinkish hues, named “Pink Wildflowers.”
“The prints are very botanical and decorative, but they still feel like something drawn from a Norwegian forest,” Tonje says.
What Other Brands Does Darling Clementine Design For?
Darling Clementine’s clients are around the globe in Tokyo, Helsinki, Korea, Estonia, India, Norway, Sweden, and the U.K.
While Darling Clementine’s roots are in stationery, Ingrid and Tonje mostly work for food brands, specializing in package designs for Godiva, Ounce Cookies, Jade Forest, and Marks & Spencer.
Non-food clients include Stokke, a Norwegian children’s furniture brand, the Norwegian Munch Museum, Neutrogena, Lufthansa, and H&M.
How Would They Describe Their Work?
“Decorative, feminine, and ornamental with organic shapes and unexpected color combos,” Ingrid says.
Darling Clementine’ Creative Process
Ingrid and Tonje each sketch their ideas for clients and hone the final design based on creative direction from the client. Since working remotely for over a year, they email each other their sketches several times a day.
“We always show each other our work as we go,” Ingrid says. “We both try to look at Pinterest or the Internet and find a reference to inspire us. We agree on a color scheme, and it just develops from there.”
After all these years, Ingrid and Tonje still enjoy the process—and each other.
“We still have fun, even though it’s a business,” Tonje says. “It’s been a nice journey.”