Thank you to everyone who participated in our 40th Anniversary Logo Contest! We had some really creative designs submitted to highlight “Your Japan” here in America, drawing on the history of the JFLA (Japan Foundation, Los Angeles) to do so. After a bit of delay, we’re proud to announce that the winner is:
photo by Van Urfalian
|Nathalie was born in Stockholm, Sweden, but moved to Los Angeles in 2012 to pursue acting. She has visited Japan multiple times, visiting various cities like Tokyo, Kyoto, and Sapporo. Her interest in Japan stems from her initial visit to Kobe in 1994, leading her to study Japanese as part of her university career. Nathalie remains interested in Japanese language, culture, and architecture, and when not acting can be found working as a graphic designer, doing guided tours in LA and Stockholm, reading books, or knitting.|
Could you introduce yourself to our readers?
My name is Nathalie Söderqvist. I was born and raised in Stockholm, Sweden, but have been living in Los Angeles since 2012. I primarily work as an actor, but I also take graphic design assignments and do guided tours in Los Angeles and Stockholm. I like keeping busy, but when I am not working I prefer to engage in relaxing activities, such as reading a book, going for a walk in the forest, or knitting.
When did you first get interested in Japan?
I went and visited Japan for the first time in 1994, visiting Kobe. After that I studied Japanese at university in Sweden. Since then, I have been back to Japan several times for both work and vacation. I have been to many parts of Japan, including Tokyo, Sapporo, and Kyoto. Besides Japanese language and culture, I am also very interested in Japanese architecture.
When was the last time you went to Japan?
The last time I was in Japan was back in 2007. I hope to be able to go back again soon. Japan is a country that changes quickly, so I am sure it is quite different today.
What brought you to Los Angeles and how did you hear of JFLA?
In 2012 I went to Los Angeles for my acting work, and a friend of mine informed me about The Japan Foundation. I was very happy to see that there was a place like JFLA to help spread Japanese art and culture, and I have frequently attended many of your events. It’s nice to be able to contribute to something so unique here in Los Angeles.
Could you tell us about the design you submitted to our logo contest?
As a graphic designer I often use a minimalistic aesthetic, which also applies to traditional Japanese design. I wanted to make the logo neat and easy to discern, and incorporate elements linked to Japan and to Los Angeles. I chose a font that makes the numeral 4 look as if it were hand-brushed, like in Japanese calligraphy. I then incorporated Japan’s symbol of the rising sun to act as the zero for the number 40. Many visitors to Los Angeles are captured by the palm trees throughout the city, so I decided to use that as part of the design, showing a timeless, natural example of Los Angeles’ iconography.
How has your experience with so many cultures influenced your work and you as a person?
By talking and working with people from different countries, experiencing different ways of thinking and interests, I am able to better understand how to create work that resonates with clients all across the world. Communication leads to understanding, which results in better creative work.
You can find her at: