2 Minutes With ... Fura Johannesdottir, Global Chief Design Officer at Huge

Her creative adventures, from Nike to Android and more

Fura Johannesdottir joined Huge in February as global chief design officer, leading the agency's design pratice across 13 international offices. She joined from Publicis Sapient, where she had spent two years as chief design officer of the experience practice across EMEA, Middle East and Asia.

Prior to Publicis Sapient, Fura worked at R/GA for over 11 years, providing both strategic and creative vision for her clients and teams in New York and Stockholm. She was the creative lead on R/GA's Nike account in New York for a number of years, where she drove the e-commerce and retail business, moving the account into new territories by exploring emerging trends and innovations. She also led the creative team for Samsung U.S. and was one of the creative leads on R/GA's Walmart account. 

Fura started her career in Reykjavik, Iceland, serving local clients such as Icelandair, Icelandic Telecom, Toyota, and Hertz before moving to New York to study design and technology at Parsons School of Design. 

We spent two minutes with Fura to learn more about her background, her creative inspirations, and recent work she's admired.

Fura, tell us...

The town where you were born, and where you live now.

I was born in Reykjavik and live in London. 

What you wanted to be when you grew up.

First it was a farmer, then I changed to an architect. 

How you discovered you were creative.

I always knew, I have been finding creative things to do, either making stuff, drawing or up to some adventures.

A person you idolized creatively growing up.

My cousin Sigga, she was 4 years older. So cool!

A moment from high school or college that changed your life.

When I moved to NYC. It was a jump that totally defined who I am. 

The first concert you saw, and your favorite band or musician today.

I think it might have been Bryan Adams—we had very few international concerts in Iceland back then. I still love and will always love the Cure. 

Your favorite visual artist.

Bill Viola. I love the sensation of his art. 

Your favorite fictional character.

Tarzan. A hero who's hyper connected to nature. 

The best book you've read lately.

Reading strangely fell a bit off my radar during Covid. But I'm currently reading Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo. I totally love it. 

Your favorite movie.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. It was one of these movies that really got to me.

Your favorite Instagram follow.

@eyesores. Love his illustrations, full of positivity for life and always makes you smile. 

How the Covid-19 crisis has changed your life, personally or professionally, in recent months.

My life is totally different. I travel a lot less and have been spending a lot of time in my home country of Iceland, working from the family farmhouse. My life in some ways feels more balanced, but also a bit more rootless since I haven't been in my own home in London for a long time. I guess it feels a bit like everything is up in the air. 

Your favorite creative project you've ever worked on.

It was probably my thesis project from grad school. It was a mixed media project where I explored the intersection of the digital and the physical worlds through a multi-sensory interactive video installation. The project was called Hidden People.

From my professional life it was when I did OneNike. It was just an amazing group of people that worked on it, both my co-workers and clients. Outstanding talent with great energy. We had a lot of fun.

Your favorite creative project from the past year.

I'm always proud of the work we do for McDonald's because so many people are impacted by it, specifically now during Covid. The Android rebrand is another one I think is great because the work is outstanding. But we also have a lot of work in the pipeline here at Huge that I can't wait to show to the world. 

Huge | Android rebrand
Someone else's creative project that inspired you years ago.

Kate Spade Saturday. I felt like it was a really interesting experiment around the future of shopping. Truly challenging the norms. I remember feeling a bit jealous when it came out. 

Someone else's creative project that you've been impressed by lately.

DO Black, a sustainable credit card. I love the fact that a bank took a different approach to financial services and started to think through how they could have a real impact on the world. There is so much power in these actions and you got to think, How much can we actually change if all the banks would allow us to track the carbon footprint based on our spending?

Your main strength as a creative person.

I have a good nose for great talent. 

Your weakness or blind spot.

I'm bad at confronting people and talking through difficult things. 

One thing that always makes you happy.

The sea. 

One thing that always makes you sad.

How humans treat nature.

What you'd be doing if you weren't in advertising/design.

I might be in filmmaking—I thought about it for a minute—or a farmer! 

2 Minutes With is our weekly interview series where we chat with creatives about their backgrounds, creative inspirations, work they admire and more. For more about 2 Minutes With, or to be considered for the series, please get in touch.

Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd was editor in chief of the Clio Awards and editor of Muse by Clio from 2018 to 2023.

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