Scandinavian Design

Since I’m a designer, of course we have to talk about Scandinavian design. I’ll again be focusing on Borås, Sweden. It’s a creative, artsy community and there are numerous examples around town of great design. If you didn’t get a chance to read my last blog on The Art of Borås, it would be worth the time to go back and take a look at the photos of the amazing murals and art around the town.

A little history

The Scandinavian design movement began in the 1930s and is part of the modernist movement. Interior designers and architects embraced functional design that was simple, and I feel, extremely appealing. Nature in abstract forms are also often present in Scandinavian design. Those same characteristics can also be seen in the graphic design of the region. Ikea is of course full of Scandinavian design. It is attractive. It just makes you crazy when you have to put it together.

Back to Borås

Most travelers don’t get to explore the office buildings of their tourist destinations. Luckily, when you have family in the area you get to see the community in a different way. Our first stop in Borås was to the office of my husband’s relative, Thomas. This is a coop-style work space shared by writers, developers, and graphic designers. Thomas enjoys the fact that if he needs someone with a different skill set than his, he can find them right in his shared office community.

This modern space has numerous meeting spaces, both formal and casual. There is a large library, common space and kitchen. I would love to spend my days in a space like this. I really love open office spaces with few barriers. I think for creative people spaces like this keep ideas and communication flowing.

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The Awards

I don’t know what award show produces these guys, but the following are from a local design show. They are scattered throughout the library.

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Let’s hit the streets

When you visit Borås you can easily be distracted by the large murals on many of the buildings all around you. They are fabulous. But don’t forget to pay attention to the graphic design on signage and doors of the local businesses. Take your time. You’ll find a lot of San-serif going on which makes me a happy designer. I also saw a lot of interesting use of materials on the buildings. If you look closely at The Food Company (below) you’ll notice these rusty plates all have a pattern drilled into them.

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Here are a few more attractive signs on the streets. Blondie caught my eye with it’s American auto industry inspired typeface. I think I may have used something like that back in my K-tel days. It probably was a compilation with Chubby Checker on it.

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Some package design for good measure

Finally, I’ll add in some of the packaging design that caught my eye. As I said before I love simple, clean designs and the grocery store did not disappoint. Although these appear to be beer, which they are, they have a very low alcohol level. A tip: If you are in Sweden and want to partake in some spirits you must go to the Systembolaget to purchase beer, wine, and other spirits.

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When traveling, don’t forget to observe the everyday things around you. You’ll see similarities and differences. I loved going to the grocery store. I am a design nerd. I know.


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