Lundgren+Lindqvist is a design studio based in Gothenburg, Sweden. Check out our conversation with their Co-Founder and Art Director Andreas Friberg Lundgren below.
What is the advantage of being able to do both design and development in-house?
Beside the obvious advantage of being able to provide our clients with a more complete service, it also allows us to experiment more freely when we are doing websites and digital applications. Without the constraints of constantly trying to guess how certain things will work, we can more swiftly move into the process of actually prototyping our ideas. This integrated way of working is really a key feature in our process, with many projects encompassing both print and web.
It also broadens our way of thinking about the possibilities we have for a certain project, as ideas are just as likely to come from the development side (although we are careful to create boundaries between the disciplines) as from a designer. At the end of the day, it is all design to us, no matter whether the tool used is a pencil or code.
Why is it important to use the right materials in physical pieces of work?
When it comes to print and other physical applications, tactility is everything. We really enjoy working with materials and take an immense pleasure in seeking out the right paper or finish for a job. Seeing that many of the previous functions ascribed to printed pieces have today been replaced by, or at least co-exists with digital counterparts, we also feel that printed pieces today have to be justified by utilising an added value, through materiality and tactility. If there is no added value, the information communicated in the printed piece might as well be transmitted digitally.
You've worked with O/O Brewing on a number of projects since 2011. How has that relationship developed since the beginning?
Olle Andersson, who is O/O Brewing’s co-founder and brewmaster, used to work for us, as he has a background as a developer. However, it was always clear that his heart was really somewhere else and it was only a matter of time until he left to set up O/O Brewing along with Olof Andersson. For a brief period, we did an exchange with Olle, where we basically traded our services for his services as a developer. During this period, we designed O/O Brewing’s visual identity, and set up a plan for the continued development of the brand.
As Olle left to focus full time on brewing beer, O/O gradually grew, as did our work for them. Over the years, we have designed a range of labels, signage, a website and merchandise for the company. Today, me and Carl-Johan Lindqvist (co-founder of Lundgren+Lindqvist) are very much involved with the company, both in our capacity as design and development studio but also as board members. Our primary task, aside from providing the brewery with a continuous stream of material, is to act as brand guardians and to make sure that the brand stays relevant. The ultimate goal is to make sure that the design is up to par with the beer (which is excellent).
What is the concept behind the design of the bottle labels?
The starting point for the design concept is the fact that beer is a social product. We decided to use that as a cue for the design process, and to turn the design of each label into a collaborative effort. Seeing that O/O Brewing already had a connection to the art world on a more personal level, with many friends of the brewery working within creative disciplines, we also saw an opportunity, from a positioning standpoint. The idea was to invite an artist for a collaboration, for each new beer. Who we would reach out to for a specific beer would be based upon the idea behind the beer and what associations that would give us. Sometimes, there would be an instant mental picture; like Karen Gunderson’s black sea painting for O/O’s pitch black Baltic Porter, or Fredrik Åkum’s signature paintings of plants for the Evergreen IPA. In other instances, such as for our collaboration with artist EKTA, the link was purely linguistic - as his pseudonym means ’real’ in Swedish and O/O was in the process of making a ’real pilsner’ (the Ekta Pils).
Today, we also get a lot of emails from artists who have seen the previous labels and who are interested in a collaboration, which is of course flattering. Over time, we hope to build a gallery in miniature and to take over the store shelves, one drinkable piece of art at a time.
What do you consider to be the most important part of the design process?
The conceptual phase. Although we, like most other designers, pride ourselves on ’having a keen eye for details’, and all those other clichéd expressions you are likely to find in many studio presentations, the work falls flat if there isn’t a strong idea carrying it. We are not interested in design for the sake of form, but for the associations and ideas that the design communicates. A message can of course be more or less abstract, but it needs to be there for us to take interest in the work.
Can you explain the concept behind the World of Shoes brand identity?
We started working with The World of Shoes a few years back, when it was nothing more than an idea in the mind of founder Daniel Pagrotsky. As an entrepreneur with an almost unhealthy interest in handmade shoes, he had realised that many of the premium manufacturers, often small, family owned companies, had no online presence and were notoriously hard to reach - if you didn’t have the opportunity to visit them. Most of the companies selling shoes online focused either on sneakers, the fashion segment or purely functional shoes. Out of this realisation, The World of Shoes was born.
We have worked with Pagrotsky from the start with the ambition of crafting a brand that feels contemporary, yet carries some of the eccentricity and classical elegance celebrated by the aficionados of good year welt shoes.
For the typography of the logotype, we devised a rather literal interpretation of shoe laces for the keywords ’World’ and ’Shoes’. This was combined with a somewhat cheeky marque, showing a tied bow, with the shoe laces proudly reaching upwards creating a fallus shape. A humorous nod to the fact that the scene for good year welted shoes is highly male oriented.
We also devised a rich colour palette based on four main colours and a combination of a quirky serif and the no-bullshit Akzidenz Grotesk.
You can see more information and images here: (01).
How did the spelling of MCKNGBRD, and the potential legibility difficulties faced with its lack of vowels, affect the way you designed the logotype?
MCKNGBRD is another example of a company with whom we have worked from the very start. As a premium leather goods company based in Los Angeles, they turned to us to design the visual identity, packaging and their website. In fact, we also came up with the name.
The brand name is both semantically and phonetically related to the name of the founder (Navid Mokhberi), with Mokhberi meaning ’messenger’ or ’bearer of news’ in Farsi. Adding to that, the (Northern) Mockingbird, a bird native to California, is one of nature’s most skilled adopters, known for mimicking the songs of other birds and the sounds of insects and amphibians, in their hunt for food. This versatility is clearly linked to the products, being one of their primary characteristics. Furthermore, the shell protecting the unhatched bird and feather sheltering its mother is a nice allegory of the products main purpose; protection and panache.
By removing the vowels we created a shorter and more distinctly unique wordmark, prompting the reader to interact with the brand through filling the gaps in the familiar word.
Seeing that the brand's products are of premium quality, aimed at a discerning demographic, we also discussed the notion of customers making a conscious choice by purchasing a MCKNGBRD case and thereby being part of some sort of club. The idea of a members club, with coded communication also appealed to us. This also influenced the decision of omitting the vowels in the brand name. While potential legibility difficulties might be seen as a risk, we decided that the word 'Mockingbird' is familiar enough for most people to be able to read the brand name. We also spaced the typography of the wordmark rather generously, to hint at the 'gaps' created by the missing vowels.
You can see more information and images here: (01).
Which company would you love to rebrand, and why?
It is hard for us to pin-point a specific company, organisation or institution that we would like to rebrand. That being said, we would love to design the visual identity for a major cultural institution.
Should a design studio's website be designed for designers, clients or both?
A good studio website should appeal both to new clients and to other designers. That it has to appeal to clients is of course a given. However, the need for the site to appeal to other designers is also very important, as most studios will need to recruit new staff or take on interns every now and then.
At the end of the day, the site should hopefully appeal to other designers if we are happy with it, as we are part of that demographic ourselves.
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