The Simple Life

By Jenny Carless

By day a graphic designer, by night a nature photographer, Anders Bundgaard focuses on simplicity, no matter the medium.

Bundgaard’s interest in graphic design was first piqued during an internship at an advertising agency. After finishing school, he sought out a series of courses—including year-long programs in print and reproduction, drawing, advertising, and multimedia—to develop the skills he needed.

At 21, Bundgaard moved from Denmark to London in search of new and interesting work. “My first job here was for a company that designed film posters,” he says. “I really liked the work and continued in that direction.”

Today, Bundgaard’s graphic design work is mainly aimed at the film industry. His portfolio includes film posters, motion graphics for trailers, and title sequences.

Whether working in print or motion, his preferred style is simple and clean.

“I try to get to the core of a project and then distill it down to the bare minimum to communicate the idea,” he says.

His projects Hard-Boiled Sweets, The State of Medicine, and The Resident exemplify Bundgaard’s simple, clean style.

In a teaser for the 2012 film Hard-Boiled Sweets, Bundgaard plays with the phrase “hard-boiled criminals.”

“It’s about small-time criminals in a seaside town (where you can often buy hard-boiled sweets—a sort of candy),” Bundgaard explains. “The director and I came up with the idea of having a gun made up of candy to illustrate this.”

The State of Medicine is for a book about the current condition of the United Kingdom’s National Health Service. “I used an hourglass to express the feeling that time to fix it is running out,” Bundgaard says. “I like the idea that you can communicate the concept with a couple of shapes and a bunch of dots.”

The Resident is a film about a young woman who moves into a new apartment where her landlord stalks her from inside the walls. “The poster was created very early in the production of the film, before they had signed the cast, so I had no material to work with,” Bundgaard explains. “My idea was to make the title give the impression of a blueprint of an apartment.”

Stripping an Idea Down

Bundgaard’s process of coming up with the right concept for a project has developed over many years of experience.

“For print work, I try to get to the core of the idea and simplify it to its bare bones,” he says. “Motion graphics work is different, as it’s often for film trailers. In this case, my work must support the tone of the trailer. It’s often about conveying a mood instead of an idea.”

For Bundgaard, the challenge is to strip down a concept or mood to its most basic visual elements.    

Bundgaard says that ideas are his favorite tools to work with. “But when it comes to digital tools, for print work I use Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop—and then Adobe InDesign to bring it all together for the final artwork. I’ve always enjoyed working in Photoshop; I’ve been using it since version 2.”

Finding Beauty in the Overlooked

When not on the job, Bundgaard shoots still-life photos of objects he finds in nature. He sells his work on Adobe Stock, where he is a premium contributor. 

Bundgaard has been a photographer for more than 20 years. He began while working as a graphic designer and often uses his photography in his graphic design work. He is self-taught—relying on experimentation to hone his craft.

His favorite camera is a FujiFilm X-T2. “It’s pure joy to use,” he says. “I shoot most things with the Fujinon XF 35mm f/2 lens. But if objects are too small, I’ll use my old 105mm macro lens (from the days of film photography).” He develops all his shots in Adobe Lightroom and then brings them into Photoshop if they need retouching.

Bundgaard appreciates the graphic simplicity that nature offers.    

Nature is a strong inspiration for his work. “I generally like the outdoors, and I’ll always bring a camera when out hiking,” he says. “When I’m in my design studio and have a bit of spare time, I enjoy creating moody still-life shots.”

As in his design work, Bundgaard tries to keep things simple with his photography.

“I have a long desk; at one end, I do my design work, and at the other, I shoot still-life,” he explains. “I often find objects from nature while out walking and bring them back to shoot. I’m drawn to finding beauty in things that are not obvious—such as dead flowers, leaves, or deformed acorns. I like the limitations of my setup.”

One still life features a leaf skeleton he picked up from his garden. “I like shooting things that others would have discarded as uninteresting—but I think we can find something interesting and beautiful in these sorts of things.”

To achieve his signature, dark still life, Bundgaard uses black cloth as a background. A flexible arm attached to a shelf holds the leaf or other object. The lighting is simple: He places a softbox to the side, and sometimes bounces a bit of light from the other side with a white card.  

Another series of still-life shots features a collection of dead and dying leaves Bundgaard collected while out walking one autumn day. “Just because things are old doesn’t mean they aren’t interesting,” he says. “I think we can find something interesting and beautiful in these sorts of things.” 

Bundgaard’s still-life images often showcase dead leaves and faded blooms picked up on hikes.    

Whether in graphic design or photography, Bundgaard finds joy in simplicity—from his work setup to the message of a film poster to the beauty of a crumbling leaf.

“I really like that you can get something beautiful out of simple things,” he says. “I’m constantly fascinated by what I can create with a relatively basic setup.”

Find Bundgaard on Instagram and on Adobe Stock