In September 2015, I joined The Swedish Association of Designers as a new board member. Since then, we've renamed the organisation to Design Sweden, formed a rebrand project team, and together re-launched the organisation from scratch.
Design Sweden is an organisation dedicated to Sweden’s designers. An independent practitioner’s organisation founded in 1957 by members, for members. The organisation acts collectively with one voice, to drive and engage opinion around design. Our purpose is to make everyday life easier for the individual designer, and to highlight the power of design as a builder of cultural and economic value. We are excited to see the definition of design expand organically and are now embarking on a big change to better represent and support our members. We are moving away from the traditional model of the degree-based, national members-only organisation and re-launching ourselves as an open, international platform for designers affiliated with Sweden from across the world. To reflect this change of perspective we are making major changes, some of the first ones being renaming the organisation from The Swedish Association of Designers (Sveriges Designer) to simply Design Sweden, a new identity – and introducing a free membership.
Design Sweden – History
For over half a century we have been an axis for Swedish designers. However a whole lot has changed since Rune Monö, Carl-Axel Acking and Sigvard Bernadotte chaired the organisation in the 50’s and 60’s. The world has evolved in disruptive ways and design as discipline has developed to reflect advances in new technology and organisational practises. We have gone from confining design to the industrial space to considering it as an all-encompassing process and culture, with an ever-growing amount of job variations. Today, design is present in all companies and organisations and is an unquestioned cornerstone for all start-ups and new initiatives. From its unique vantage point – exploring and analysing emerging behavioural patterns and cultural shifts – design plays a vital part in shaping our surroundings.
The Board (2017)
Petrus Palmér – Chairman
Creative Entrepreneur & Product Designer, www.hem.com
Jenny Theolin – Vice Chairman
Creative Director & Educator, www.studiotheolin.com
Communication and Graphic Designer, Lecturer, www.studiosophiawood.com
Identity Designer, www.parasol-projects.com
Digital Designer, www.kodform.love
Angela Tillman Sperandio
Project Manager and Communicator, www.halloffemmes.com
The new look
At the Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair
The brand team
Ramiro Oblitas – Graphic Designer
Born in La Paz, educated in Stockholm, co-founder of design studio Parasol. Studied Graphic Design at Forsbergs School, Communication Design at Berghs School of Communication, both in Stockholm and Graphic Design (BA with Honours) at Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design in London. Previous experience: Design Director at Winkreative; Design Director at Wednesday Group, and other design studios in Stockholm, London, New York and Barcelona. Projects of note: British Airways, Prada Sport, COS, The Future Laboratory, Björk & Berries, Nina Ricci, Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development, Bally, The Blackstone Group, Swiss International Air Lines, Moncler, H&M, Stella McCartney, Acne, Kasthall, David Collins Studio, Inditex, Knoll International etc. He regularly lectures and organises workshops on identity design and brand building.
Göran Söderström – Typeface Designer
Swedish type designer and founder of Letters from Sweden, Göran has developed type for Tele2, VSCO, Ableton, Cadillac, Nilsson Förlag, Acne Studios, ICA, Posten Frimärken and Tictail, among others. Letters from Sweden designs retail and custom typefaces for local and international clients alike. Their mission isn’t just to churn out fonts, their purpose is higher. Printed or pixelated, what drives them is clear communication in the right voice. The studio is 15 minutes from downtown Stockholm, at the edge of the woods in beautiful Björkhagen. Letters from Sweden don’t just draw letters – they teach, develop, and talk about them too, through lectures and workshops at any level of education. Their letters are from Sweden, but they’re for everyone.
Edvard Scott – Digital Designer
Edvard is the initiator of digital design company KOD & FORM, and currently Digital director at the internationally revered design studio Stockholm Design Lab. Edvard has designed and coded for a wide range of domestic and international clients; Space Matters, Carl Kleiner, Electronic Arts, IKEA, Jonas Hassen Khemiri, Farewell, Saltkråkan, S7 and many more. Edvard values his thoughts on the in-betweens of design and technology as much as his craft.
The Face of Design Sweden
The Face of Design Sweden 2017
During 2017, we are profiling practitioners from different design disciplines to give face to Design Sweden. We aim to show how the design profession can look like in 2017 and to promote the exchange between disciplinary boundaries.
The project is photographed by Erik Wåhlström and kindly supported by Bolon.Erik Wahlström is a photographer trained architect at KTH in Stockholm. Erik left the prestigious Tham & Videgård Architects for a career in photography. His keen and curious eye for elegance and simplicity has earned him commissions from Absolut Vodka, Our Legacy and the Museum of Modern Art and a series of editorial clients including Nowness, Bon Magazine and Apartamento. Erik approaches each assignment the same way - with open eyes, and full heart.
So far, we have profiled:
Göran Söderström – Typeface designer
Daniel Östman – Interior Designer
Minna Palmqvist – Fashion Designer
Erik Olovsson – Product Designer
Clara von Zweigkbergk – Graphic and Product designer
During this past year, we have completed the transformation of Design Sweden; from a traditional members-only club to a modern and nimble association. With combined efforts from the Design Sweden board, supporting partners, and participating members, we have;
- Introduced a small-scale research format labeled Design Sweden Sessions, providing a snapshot of the practitioner’s situation and ideas
- Chaired a new design prize – “Best Product & Accessory” within the prestigious bi-annual Design S Award
- Celebrated Design Sweden’s 60 Years anniversary with an evening of talks from some of Sweden’s leading creatives
- Expanded on our Ambassador Project, adding new and progressive practitioners to our growing roster of profiles connected to Design Sweden
- Launched an interactive map documenting Design Sweden.
Amidst this, we have continued to grow fast, and we are now amounting to a respectful total of 1819 members.
The association may be turning 60 in 2017, but we still consider this to be the early beginnings. Design is assuming an ever-larger role in both private and professional life, and we at Design Sweden look forward to continue to champion those who drive that movement – the design practitioners in Sweden and abroad.
We launched at the Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair during Design Week.
Organisation-wise—fast-forward one year—we have taken firm action to rethink and redesign the organisation to better reflect how the world works and looks in 2016. The changes are helmed by a new membership model, a basic version with no cost associated. This marks a big change of thinking—instead of confining the organization to members only fitting a set of educational and professional requirements, we have opened up to everyone who supports our cause; to enable designers associated with Sweden.
- We've relaunched with a completely new name, brand and website, designed by some of the most talented designers Sweden has to offer.
- We have successfully gained the control of our economic situation.
- We have increased the awareness of the organization within the design community by signing partners within media, trade organizations, venues and education.
- We have activated existing and potential members through our own channels and partaken in events such as the Stockholm Design Week and initiated dialogue on the topic of the situation for today’s design practitioners.
- But best of all—we have more than doubled the amount of members! We are now twice as many designers than we were a year ago. We are organized to support, develop and challenge each other and to drive change with one voice. It is a grassroots movement, and we are just getting started.
Design Sweden identity, by Parasol, Design Week, February 2016
New board, new name, new look: Design Sweden launches a new brand identity, Creative Boom, February 2016
Design Sweden website on siteInspire.
Are you a start-up or established brand in need for a refresh or a brand new identity? Get in touch.
If you enjoyed this case study, have a look at the Speed Communication case study too.
For more information, send me an email and I will tell you all about this project, or chat to you about yours!
/ Jenny Theolin