Archive for the 'Expressions' Category

Flower covered police car. This is Sweden.

After the brutal terrorist attack of 7th of April, citizens of Stockholm step out, make manifestations against violence, give hugs to policeofficers and cover police cars in flowers.  

Colour matters

Those interested in synesthesia should get more information elsewhere. But we know that children often have strong preference for a certain colour of m&m, and even claim that the taste is different. I can also agree that the feeling changes with the colour, even if not directly the taste. White wine in a blue glass […]

Emotional leverage

Futurniture is a communications firm in Stockholm which started its enterprise with four design exhibitions the summer of 1993. Looking back, it seems like these events manifested a large shift in Swedish design and architectural culture where, up to today, good taste became commonplace. I had the privilege to have my then one year old […]

Does it matter what we call things?

Words, words, words… Does it matter what we call things? When Sweden voted to join the EU, one of the pro campaigns used the slogan ”It’s more fun to say yes!”. If that had any positive – or negative (!) – effect we will never know. But we know that the UK referendum on staying […]

No filter, just Denmark

A still early april evening on the coast of Denmark can take your breath, even 15 minutes from the national airport!

Just pressing the shutter release

A walk around Årstaviken, Stockholm in early March 2016.

Happy Holidays 2015!

A universe for a geographic consultancy

This Swedish geographic consultancy assigned me to design a logotype and soon we were all involved creating a visual universe. A hint of humour and explorer romanticism, mixed with institutional and functionalistic nostalgy created a visual theme that integrates all logical, empirical, ecological and society conscious aspects in a focused set of symbols and attributes. […]

Time is ripe for smart things

I am happy to see that the market is getting ready for ‘smart things’, that I worked on a bit in the 1990’s. Now there is technology, context and demand! FLIC is a wonderful example. It’s simply a button that you can use to control a chosen function on your smartphone. The most simple example […]

Wheel re-invented outside box

You should always be careful with what you say. Seemingly harmless expressions can keep you from opportunities. Luckily, Gilad Wolf ”thought out of the box” and ”re-invented the wheel”! It’s a wheel primarily for wheelchairs, but it has already been tested on bicycles. And the new thing is that the suspension is in the three […]

81 Cantonese proverbs in one view

Just one example of how you can visualise so many things at the same time if you choose to be visual. Information graphics can be cultural, beautiful and inspirational, not only vessels of facts. Don’t you recognise the proverbs? Totally understandable if you, like me, are not Cantonese… All communication, including visual, depends on the […]

Offering at a glance

SAS, Scandinavian airlines, present their offering with this snapshot, based on the temporal mental model of a flight. Instead of meaningless listings of features and benefits, you can get the whole picture at a glance in a meaningful way. Probably they used this mental model in their marketing development of their services, so why not […]

How broad a brand?

Visiting the Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair 2014, I found this stand with Canada Goose Home bedroom products; duvets, pillows, bedding and blankets. So Canada Goose has decided to extend their brand of down jackets and sportswear into the bedroom. On one point I wonder how the intensity of mountain sports activities goes together with […]

Strategic april fools-joke

Today SAS, Scandinavian Airlines, announced that they from now on will have a ”like” button above each seat in their airplanes. Of course it’s an April fools’ joke, but it’s also an interesting example of playful ways to make your brand and your strategy visible. Happy april fools’ day! (link from the photo to the […]

Where pleasure meets utility

Picture from the motorcycle fair in Stockholm last weekend. Live to Ride – Ride to Live!

Brilliant hack!

Swiss designer Andreas Bhend is specialised in ”hacking” IKEA furniture, for example the shelf above made from Frosta stools. Actually, since the 70’s IKEA has been encouraging people to modify their products or use them in another way than the obvious. For example a friend of mine uses a bookshelf as a coffee table, and […]

When innovation is to preserve as is

To be more creative, disruptive and innovative in as many areas as possible, except this one. For 2013, that is my little plan!

Disruptive innovation

In the middle of the 1930’s, the Czech car manufacturer Tatra launched its first drop-shaped aerodynamic model. In the picture, a Tatra T77a from 1937 in front of a T80 from 1935, at the Technical Museum in Prague. This was a leap in the development of the automobile that was only surpassed by the introduction […]

The best of two worlds

For a long time I thought it was sad that I could not use my Rotring 600 fountain pen more than I did. It would always dry out between times of use. I have simply never been a fountain pen guy. At the same time the plastic quality of my favourite writing and sketching instrument, […]

Nonverbal communication

This is a wall outside a school on the island of Formentera, in Spain. Obviously the values of the school are expressed with nonverbal graphics. Obviously the kids can get the message from the first day, long before they can read. But this form of expression has many other advantages. It’s concise, takes little space, […]

Why are most sewing machines white?

Well….

Nature abhors a vacuum

I have always wondered what goes on in the minds of the people that design caravans and motor homes. Especially the graphics which form a genre of its own. Visiting a fair for these vehicles gave a lot of interesting impressions, but ended in more new questions than answers. What’s the point of the stripe […]

Practical allocation of resources

For example putting the source of heating where the people are. Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool; not part of the exhibition.

Straight forward

On Januari 25th, the ”un-conference” Internet Discovery Day was organised by Grädde (Cream), a Stockholm based investmet company. Anyone with a business idea could take a section of brown paper and market their idea to venture capitalists, suppliers or potential partners. It was interesting to see how the simplicity of the brown paper postings made […]

Mediocrity 2011 – irony by Subaru

My favourite of japanese car manufacturers, Subaru, is currently running a wonderful viral campaign where they present the fictive ”Mediocrity 2011”. Subaru intends to market itself as the Japanese car manufacturer with integrity, that sticks out. You may argue on the exterior expression of Subaru’s, but as a whole they are quite different with rumbling […]

Not for sale

Many times have I been defending the practice of marketing among people who think of it as tricking people into buying what they don’t need and want. Today’s form of marketing, that I represent, is rather about matching needs, demands and offerings, while taking attitudes and awareness into account. You can make people aware of […]

One hand does not know what..

Winter has struck Sweden harder than in many years and of course the railroad companies, working under SJ, Swedish Railroads, get a lot of attention. Will they cope with the upcoming weather conditions or will we face the same disastrous delays as last year? This week the state owned real estate company Jernhusen, owning the […]

Experiences that make sense and add value

These are barley grains, from which you make malt and in turn beer or whisky. They come from the exposition at the Guinness brewery in Dublin, ”The Guinness Storehouse”. I guess that if you were to visit the Guinness factory some 20 years ago, you would probably be led through the factory in a group. […]

What a wicked wicket!

Some time ago I checked in for a flight at one of the terminals of Arlanda airport, and I was confronted with this peculiar thing. A small piece of (maybe bullet-proof) glass separating the customer and the staff. I found two things interesting about this. Firstly I wonder what went on in the minds of […]

Department of mystification

Some things are so complicated that you cannot understand how they could be so just through ignorance or negligence. The complexity seems to be there by design. Like bank notes, old style airline tickets, the table of contents of medicine or the back of a PC. When discussing examples of this approach, a friend of […]

Designed vegetables

In the daily life you don’t think so much about the origin of things. And at least myself I usually regard vegetables as something ”real” that comes from ”nature”, not as something that has been made up or ”designed”. Last night I saw Jimmy Doherty’s tv programme about genetically modified food, about how the global […]

Open for business

I am now officially open for business. My objective is to make companies and their offerings more competitive through innovation based on inspiring customer/consumer/user insights. Primary tools will be persona- and scenario methods, sensemaking and creative prototyping together with classic and new strategy development methods. The picture shows a traditional Swedish kiosk (newsstand/sweetstall) which has […]

The sign could say anything

We would understand anyway.

Expo 2010 – big and small

When the queuing time is 2,5 hours (early May, on a weekday) or more for the larger pavilions it’s an interesting alternative to visit several small pavilions and get in touch with countries you have little access to otherwise. This is the queue to the pavilion of Saudi Arabia. To see some highlights from big […]

Expo 2010 – an expo in itself

Even if you don’t visit one single pavilion at Expo 2010 in Shanghai, only the infrastructure and constructions around them make a fantastic experience. Just the number of flags near the entrance is breathtaking. These are 189 national flags and 57 international organization flags. The whole area, with all its components is an experience in […]

Categories of world exposition pavilions

Just watching all the world expo pavilions from the outside is a great experience. When you enter, often after a long time of queuing, you will find various expositions which can vary in quality just as any expositions. You may conclude the types of pavilions like this: In some cases you get a great experience […]

Expo 2010 in Shanghai – Sweden

The theme for the Swedish pavillion at Expo 2010 in Shanghai is ”Spirit of Innovation”. The exposition relates to the overall theme of Expo 2010, ”Better city, better life”, discussing the cityscape as well as the Swedish approach to tradition. See more pictures here. Innovation seems to be on everybody’s lips right now. No one […]

Expo 2010 in Shanghai, first glimpse

The world expo of 2010 in Shanghai has only been open for a week. I thought it would be a good idea to come here while everything is fresh and while the weather is not too hot. Yesterday it was raining, today the weather was fine. Those who visit later on may have the benefit […]

Shanghai at 431 km/h

My first impression of Shanghai, and China, is friendly and efficient. Like the Maglev train from the airport which reaches 431 km/h before it has to slow down again. With buttons ranging from sad face to happy face you can rate your experience of the passport control officer. Signage is clear and evident, complemented with […]

Servings on airplanes

Flying with Turkish Airlines, Stockholm-Shanghai via Istanbul, I thought it would be a good occasion to ask for a real raki. To have some local benefit of the detour. And they gave me this: one glass with raki, one glass with mineral water and one glass of ice. As in many countries in the mediterranean […]

What’s the deal with the red dot?

Once in a while I have wondered about where that red dot, generally seen near surfaces of matte black, comes from. Richard Sapper has put the red dot on many designs like the Tizio lamp and the IBM/Lenovo Thinkpad laptop computers with their red pointing device, ”Trackpoint”. The latter has become such an icon that […]

Visualization is coming!

This Monday I attended the Visual Forum 2010 in Norrköping, co-located with the EuroGraphics 2010 conference. There seems to be a growing interest in visualization, and specifically in Norrköping they are just about to open the Norrköping Visualization Center. With visualization as a theme you might expect a lot of designers and communication people at […]

My talk at TEDxNorrmalm

The video has now been published on YouTube. To see my talk at TEDxNorrmalm, 17th of april 2010, click the image or this link. Welcome!

The original Macintosh manual

Some time ago I came across the manual for the original Macintosh. It’s quite fascinating. When you open it, it feels almost a bit surreal. A bit like watching Teletubbies, the TV-show made for 2-3 year olds. Why? Because it explains things we all know by heart since a long time ago, as something completely […]

Is this what you might think? Yes.

This picture was taken in the mens’ room in a very large restaurant in Germany. What it is? It is practically a toilet bowl at washbasin height. What it is used for? Well what do you think? In a restaurant with hundreds of seats, where people endulge in the wonderful german beer and rich foods, […]

The next thing in bicycling?

One of mans greatest inventions is the bicycle. They say that a human being on a bicycle is the most energy efficient form of transport (in relation to weight) on earth. On the other end of the scale you find some insects. When I was a kid, a bicycle with more than three gears was […]

House red wine

One of the stories in my TEDx talk was from a vacation in Croatia. I had some ”house red wine” with my dinner one night and it was so good that I asked what kind of wine it was. ”- It’s house red wine.” ”- Yes, but I mean, what kind is it?” ”- No, […]

My TEDx Norrmalm talk in brief

My talk was basically about my experiences from several creative areas, and the pattern I have seen when putting these on top of each other. Instead of a PowerPoint I used the blue and red glove so that the audience could follow the idea and make up their own minds on the pattern I am […]

And then the senses on top of that…

Twenty years ago there was a tea and coffee store in the block where I was living, and what always struck me when visiting it was that there was no particular smell of coffee in the shop. Today this would of course be impossible; a well dosed smell of coffee is expected in a coffee […]

Two bites, two eras

Food is both survival and experience, depending on situation. It also reflects our attitudes in general. The hotdog is definitely a child of its era, industrialism and modernism. Easy to grab and eat on the go, rational, practical and functional. Perfect for its context, where people would no more gather in families for the daily […]

This is just a very small part of it

Around the 80’s a new style emerged in product design, furniture and architecture. One of the leaders was the Memphis group, with Ettore Sottsass. Simple things like a piece of furniture having several colours were quite new at the time. The objects and buildings clearly broke with the modernistic tradition and started to mix style […]

How could they be so sure?

In the old world things would not change so quickly. Change was predictable. You could extrapolate the current conditions and get an idea of the future. To some extent you can today also, but in some areas that kind of linear predictions can be quite risky! Apart from all the physical uncertainties you also find […]

The increasing complexity of symbols

Once upon a time, the signs around us referred to known things like natural phenomena. And symbols were given specific things. Today it has become much more complicated, but also more interesting. When we dress in the morning we choose attributes, statements and stories for ourselves and others to see. Symbols and other signs not […]

Experience innovation, existing components

In the 80’s, the largest milk producer in Sweden – Arla – was facing a decline in milk drinking. From being a standard drink at all meals, milk had started to be considered fattening and was now losing market share to mineral waters etc. Especially in restaurants this was evident – people were drinking other […]

Orange button enabled radical innovation

The first Sony Walkman, introduced in 1979, was a completely new and different product even though all its components had already existed in other products. There had been stereo heads before, but never in a pocket tape recorder. And so on. The innovation was based on ideas of human behaviour, and re-arrangement of technologies, rather […]

The holy pub institution

Last autumn I went on a train trip through Great Britain, from north to south. On this beautiful trip I saw several times, across the country, pubs being left when their surroundings had changed. The whole block may have been torn down to the ground, but the pub stays. If not large industrial or office […]

Private camera rebranding

Some time ago I decided to buy a new camera, and suddenly I found myself in a private badge engineering project. And of course it turned out that changing the logo had a good effect in itself, but only after adding a couple of other elements the experience was complete. The feeling you have for […]

From badge to brand

Branding is not just about the logotype. Not even the logotype is just about the logotype. That’s what every branding expert will tell you. And they’re right! But still, once you have managed to build a certain image and confidence, it is striking how strong the effect can be in changing both expectations and experience. […]

Added value or holistic value development?

I have always thought there is something strange about the concept of ”adding value”. Which is frustrating as that is basically what I try to do in my work. I think the problem is that ”adding value” has a linear touch to it, like if some part of somethings value was already there by itself. […]

The shift in big and small

The shift from modernistic to post-modern, physical to mental, basic to added value can be seen in big and small. What’s interesting is how this shift of focus is scattered around all possible areas, taking place at different times. Many areas are still in the modernistic, physical, basic stage, and will still be for some […]

Warfare from physical to symbolic focus

Even in the major world conflicts you can see how focus has shifted from physical to mental. If you simplify this vast and complex subject into four images you may see this pattern: World War 1: Basically traditional warfare man-to-man in the fields. World War 2: Modernistic, industrialistic warfare added the use of not only […]

Beautiful in itself?

Can something just be ”beautiful” in itself? Looking for examples I find my turntable below. But then I realise that the consequences of this product design were more interesting than that. The beauty is not only in its minimalistic brushed metal shapes, but also in its statement towards the ordinary. Basically, the traditional modernistic approach […]

When there was just one phone

Once there was basically just one model of telephone in Sweden, as in many other countries. One single model should fit all environments. They were owned by the telecom authorities. Old phones were recycled. Telephones were infrastructure, like electricity, running water and heating. A fascinating design task, quite different from todays context. In all a […]

Attraction and interest

Design often deals with two parallel aspects: making things more obvious and making things more attractive and interesting. For a true modernist the choice is simple: always aim for maximum clarity and remove everything else. And there are so many areas which still have a long way to go before reaching basic acceptable level of […]

Surprising candleholders

A few years ago I made these candleholders by cutting off a pair of boat horns. When I started using them I was surprised by the strong formal effect of the candle holders being flush with the candles themselves. I think it’s a good example of how the effect of a certain feature often doesn’t […]

The white stone and the sleeping one

During my time as a guest researcher at KTH/CID* I led a project where we imagined future use of IT in a social context. Will interactive television affect future sitting room design, was one of our research questions. To visualise one of our conclusions, that new communication channels seldom replace but rather complement others, we […]

Styling is human

When I was a design student in the 80’s, ”styling” was a bad word. Any element of a design that was not motivated by technical or practical functionality, or perhaps support to practically understanding the product, was dismissed as ”styling”. The expressions should be based on these aspects, clad in harmonious shapes. But if these […]

Experience based architecture

Architecture is one of the areas where ”postmodern” is referred to as a special style in the 1980’s, which makes the postmodern discussion a bit tricky. Sweden was one of the leading countries in early modernistic architecture. Functionalism was introduced at the Stockholm Exhibition in 1930. It went very well together with the upcoming creation […]

A fruit plate by Jacob Jensen, in a way

Jacob Jensen, creator of the design language that made Bang&Olufsen world famous in the 60’s, also designed this fruit plate. Well, in a way. Jensen developed his linear and modernistic design language during the 60’s. The design was based on great attention to choice of materials, surfaces and graphic design, and it did not look […]

The product life cycle

Let’s start with four examples, from left to right: The last edition of the Olympus XA camera (XA4). At its launch in 1979 the XA was the first quality camera made of plastic, which was a sensation. Shape, choice of plastics and surface treatments, and graphics made this a not at all ”cheap” product with […]

The future of medicines

Since a long time, science knows that placebo is over 50% of the effect of medicines and drugs, including coffee. Still most products in this area rely on chemical performance. This is my first example of how many product areas develop: initially focus on physical performance, then presentation and handling and after that experience and […]