Söderhavet capture the rich culture of Sweden’s Dalarna region with a bright and modular identity
Located in central Sweden, Dalarna is a region that promises some of the richest cultural heritage in the country. Whilst its valleys are a popular holiday spot for tourists, it is significantly known for Dala horses, copper mining, midsummer, Vasaloppet (the world’s biggest cross-country ski race), rolling hills and red cottages. However, Dalarna is not just history. History is just the beginning. Working alongside Placebrander, the team at Stockholm design agency Söderhavet built a unifying identity that marks the contemporary era of the region – emphasising the strength built in Dalarna over the centuries. Delivered in a high-impact red hue, the new look recognises the past whilst paving a path for the future.
The aesthetic of the brand’s custom display typeface was guided by the rich mix of cultural touchpoints. “The thinking and rationale are rooted in one of the initial insights we had, which is that Dalarna is known for so many unique things,” Design Director Tobias Eriksson explains. “Basing the idea on just one of them would be unjust. Instead, we wanted to create a typeface that could act as a holder or window containing all these things and much more. The general shape of the letters is a nod to old graphics from the region called ‘kurbits.’ These can be found on architecture, Dala horses and much more from several hundred years ago.”
The shapes themselves serve a functional purpose too. Using either one letter or one word, the forms can be stacked or act as windows, containing an abundance of content.
Supporting this is Camelot’s early-grotesk-inspired sans serif Gräbenbach. “We chose it because of its friendly and human qualities that nicely contrast the blocky feeling of the display typeface,” Eriksson reveals. “It also works great in both longer and shorter texts, meaning we can keep it simple with just one typeface. This will simplify implementation as well,” he concludes.