45 minute read

Industrial Design from Sweden


Photo: Snask

Better by design?

How a Swedish industrial design foundation got involved in the humble task to save our planet with design

In 1989, when the Ministry of Enterprise, together with IVA (The Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences) and Svensk Form (the Swedish Society of Crafts and Design) founded SVID, the main reason was to boost a competitive Swedish industry. In order to keep an industry at the forefront and keep competitive companies, the aim today is mainly to ensure that our industry is resilient and sustainable – otherwise we will soon discover that we don’t have an industry at all, but a society that moves downhill all the way.

It’s simple: if our companies don’t make the green transition, they won’t be able to compete in a global market. The same goes for the societal transformation that must change direction from linear to circular. Did you know that 80 per cent of a product’s environmental impact is determined already during the design phase? We know that sustainability is also a profitable business – both financially and for the planet.

Everything we do at SVID, we do collaboratively. We do it together with governmental bodies, regional authorities and, crucially, the design trade and design community. If the design process during the late 1980s still mainly focused on product/object-orientated industrial design, the process and use of the expression of design have widened and are now the definition of a variety of skills that stretch from product design to systems-orientated design, not to mention the huge impact of Design Thinking, a human-centered approach of problemsolving methodology that is now being taught and lectured at universities around the world. Systems-orientated design uses system thinking in the complexity of systems in laboratory environments and in decision-making processes, like for instance the EU Policy Lab.

SVID are using design to future-proof our companies with courses, master classes, design sprints and other tools, all in close

Photo: Reload Design

collaboration with the trade and society. Surveys have shown that companies that use design double their revenue and returns compared to other companies – or enjoy three times higher dividends, according to McKinsey’s report. But how can you ensure that you develop the right offers and products that really meet the needs of customers and users? The answer to that question is design – or to use a design process that carries the user perspective and where you develop based on the needs of your users. But there is another user we can’t ignore: the planet. We would need at least four globes if everyone lived and consumed like today’s average Swede. The best way to create a sustainable future is reachable through design… and the time is now. Designing products that provide maximum use with minimal climate impact is central to sustainability, and to the approach of ecodesign. So, what happens if we all develop

Photo: Myra

goods and services based on both people and the planet? Or, let me rephrase the question: What happens if we don’t?

About SVID

SVID, the Swedish Industrial Design Foundation, is an independent governmentally funded research and development foundation that works with sustainable transformation using design. We want to contribute to sustainable societal development economically, socially and environmentally, by inspiring companies and organisations to use design as an approach and process in development work. We work with learning, research, collaboration and influence.

A large part of our business consists of running projects. SVID creates understanding, mediates and brings together organisations and companies that have design needs with actors who offer solutions with the help of and through design. We have a unique position as a national and independent foundation with public funding, and have the opportunity to initiate collaborations with many different societal actors and stakeholders.

Jonas Olsson. Photo: Caroline Lundén-Welden Web: www.svid.se sustainabilityguide.eu

Acid and marble. Photo: OXID

Melodifestivalen 2021. Photo: Stina Stjernkvist, SVT

The importance of achieving balance

All marketers are in search of potent, sustainable campaigns. The holy grail is to create programmes that both build brand loyalty and gain customer traction. But with the marketing landscape constantly changing, there are fewer agencies that rise to the challenge of determining a creative leap while delivering extraordinary execution. LA+B seeks to achieve both.

Using a unique methodology, LA+B helps its clients in an agile, pragmatic and innovative manner to conquer this increasingly discontinuous world. Love for art and business, simply known as LA+B, is a unique customer experience agency. It was ahead of its time when first set up in a cellar in an unfashionable part of Stockholm in 2007. Today, it stands out because of the panoply of expertise.

LA+B is a team of thinkers and doers, a careful symbiosis of the strategic and practical, of dreams and ideas brought to life and then delivered with a ‘punch’. “Our perspective from the outset was design thinking – yet from there, we learnt the importance of execution – and thus we coined the phrase ‘from thinking to doing’,” says Jonas Lundin, CEO.

Lundin leads the strategy unit at LA+B, but he also has a background in industrial design. “Some of the methodologies I learnt in my industrial era are applicable to the work we carry out for clients, regardless of whether it is less visible work such as consumer insight definition or the more dramatic, high-profile, technically challenging TV production work.”

Consumer journeys allied to the sustainability agenda Nearly every client brief that LA+B receives has a sustainability question to be considered and answered. “Every brief is going to bump into this challenge,” says Lundin, proudly adding: “That’s why I insist that the senior team reviews every new client brief together and determines the right approach from a sustainability standpoint. We are currently doing an important campaign for one of Sweden’s most renowned, fastest-growing tech companies that aims to achieve sustainable recruitment and development of world-class talent.”

Lundin emphasises the importance of mapping the user journeys, for employees as well as stakeholders and consumers, and explains that LA+B designs important touch points for businesses on this journey. “A brand can interact with the consumer all the way from initial communication through their experience, and eventually to the recycling of the product – this is self-explanatory. But when designing each step, we have noticed the importance of developing parallel employee journeys and the need for internal tools for implementation.”

Included in sustainability are also diversity and inclusive design. “This is actually at the core of what many industrial designers try to do; they look at how products can fit everyone, regardless of who you are and what culture you’re from. At LA+B, we apply this to big corporations and service design as well. And again, we see the importance of having the researchers and product developers on board to manifest the work within the organisation.”

Agile branding and design in a fastpaced environment Not everything needs a long-term perspective, though, as seen in the changed consumer behaviour during the pandemic. In some areas with a previously more analogue approach, the team had to look at digital solutions to how brands can operate and be more efficient in this new era.

“A lot of people have had more time to think and might have entered a phase of reflection,” says the CEO. “They might question what is right and what is wrong to consume; perhaps they stocked up on too much food initially and realised that they have a lot of waste at home as a result.”

As a consequence of changes in consumer behaviour, many brands have been forced to think differently. “There is a higher demand for better products and services now, and we see more sensitivity to consumers’ needs and requests for more sustainable solutions. In particular our industrial clients need help in re-designing the user journey and developing products and services for the new normal.”

LA+B also collaborate with TV programmes as well as computer games and social media campaigns, sectors with extremely fast turnaround times even before the pandemic. “It’s an important part to our mix, where we can apply our skills and redefine them reactively, since everything has to be up to date. Here, we can quickly measure and adjust as we get instant

Orkla Health – a sustainability project for supplements. With KdV. An inclusive and collaborative workshop practice is part of LA+B’s methodology and philosophy. user feedback in terms of how the viewer or user behaves and reacts to particular touch points. We see how the fast-paced and the long-term thinking nurture each other, which helps us create better outcomes for our clients.”

LA+B is a full-service brand experience agency based in Stockholm. Its clients include Tetra Pak, Orkla, Saab, Spotify, Atlas Copco, Assa Abloy, Klarna, Cargotech and Nobel Media Group, to name a few.

Web: www.loveartbusiness.se Facebook: loveartbusiness Instagram: @loveartbusiness LinkedIn: company/ love-for-art-and-business

Jonas Lundin, Creative Director and CEO.

Some of the crew from the Badminton film, which became a viral success. Photo: BildGates. Snask’s tattoo flag – every intern gets a tattoo at the end of their internship.

Pink, Swedish creativity building world-class brands

Knowing who you are and conveying your message to the world might seem like a daunting thing for individuals and companies alike, but not for the internationally renowned creative agency Snask. With a mission and vision submerged in pink, they are winning fans and big clients from across the globe, who want to sharpen their branding and communication, all while having a pretty damn good time.

Knowing Snask is knowing that anything is possible. Their official title may be branding and communication agency, but that doesn’t mean that they’re limiting their scope to, well, branding and communication. Did you ever try their Shower Beer, a wildly successful beer collaboration with Stockholm brewery Pangpang? Perhaps you’ve listened to a band signed to their very own record label, Snask Recordings, while swinging their tote bag, co-designed with Loqi, over your shoulder? The company breathes creativity and decided from the very beginning to forge their own route by doing things their way – a strategy that has paid off. You’re sure to have heard of their clients: Spotify, Klarna, Bang & Olufsen, Nordea, Target, Brooklyn Brewery, Fortnox – just a few of the big names that have chosen the agency because of their courage to take a stand, go against the grain, and strive for more empathy.

The power of a pink lie The founders, Fredrik Öst and Magnus Berg, were studying when they decided to start their own business – something that, according to their peers, required at least ten years of experience. But Snask being Snask, they simply invented another way and pulled a ‘pink lie’.

“A pink lie is similar to ‘fake it ‘til you make it’, a lie that you make come true – like a library where once you’ve fulfilled your lie, you can return it for others to use. We wanted to do lectures to get out and spread our name and gospel, but conference organisers required lecturers with experience. How do you get experience if you aren’t allowed to lecture without it? We pulled a pink lie, told every marketing school in Sweden that we had come home from a world tour and wanted to give back to society with some free lectures. Et voilá, we got the job, got the experience and could return the pink lie to the library, and we are now lecturing across the globe at companies and schools like Google and Stanford University, and at conferences in Australia, South Africa, Colombia, the US and more,” says Öst.

Aside from serving a handy purpose for a hungry agency, the colour pink is the foundation on which the brand rests its steady pillars. Sick of a marketing world where conservative men have held reign for too long, they decided that the conservative, old world was their biggest enemy and that they would source their creativity and inspiration from empathy, vulnerability and honesty. True inspiration for new ideas comes from an openness to new impressions, as well as equality.

The company has grown exponentially, and 15 years on, Snask is a female-led


1. Make enemies and gain fans Having values and standing up for them will create enemies, but the kind you wouldn’t want as followers anyway, and it will create true fans: people who like, comment, tag, share and favour your message. Engagement is created by standing for something and making it heard.

2. Change is inevitable Change is not an option, it’s inevitable. “Disruption is normal now. Change is f***ing inevitable. How it was done yesterday is not how it should be done today. Nothing stays the same and neither should you. The problem comes when change happens and you don’t,” says Snask’s friend, London designer Mark Shayler.

3. Do things in the right order As Ren Jones famously said, “if marketing is asking someone out on a date, branding is the reason they say yes.” Stop asking consumers out on dates if

‘Stay Pink’ means everyone’s right to be whoever they are, their true self, according to Snask.

your brand lacks personality, a voice and a matching visual appearance. Step one: make sure your brand has all of the above before adding a communication concept. Step two: tell the world you exist. Step three: happy dating!

4. 95/5 rule The classic 60/40 rule – that 60% of communications equals brand building and 40% equals performance marketing – has by some been renegotiated to a 95/5 rule in 2021. Don’t underestimate the importance of investing in brand building rather than sales activation.

5. Speak to the heart, not the head By selling a lifestyle instead of a product, you automatically speak to a person’s heart and emotions, instead of their head and thoughts. When people buy a BMW to get the lifestyle of a person driving a BMW, 4x4, German engineering and other rational sales messages become redundant. agency with Gia Stridbeck at the helm as CEO. The crew has a 50/50 split between genders. “We’ve been voted among the top 50 global creative companies to work for, and some clients have said that when they couldn’t work for us they instead decided to work with us. Our permanent employees and Snask Supreme – our pool of freelance experts, our extended family – make the magic happen,” says Erik Kockum, partner at Snask.

Snask off Make enemies and gain fans is not only the title of the agency’s sold-out book, but also a motto infused into their everyday operations, especially applicable to one of their mock-up projects, for which they decided to rebrand North Korea – a fully-fledged communication plan with a visual identity package included, with the clause that in order to use the identity for free, the country had to become a free democracy of the world (yet to be acknowledged and realised).

“A limitless headspace allowing you to think high and low and everywhere in between is essential to creativity. Snask is about realising the potential that resides inside every individual, as well as the endless potential for the companies and brands that we work with. We use humour, world-class skills and wellexecuted strategies to tackle the challenge,” says Stridbeck.

Creative minds need creative rooms, and their office is an extension to their values: ‘if you love someone, let it show’ is eternally engraved into the pavement outside, and stepping inside you’re met by their signature colour (you guessed it – pink), which covers the walls. Their own bar? Check. A custom-made oil painting portraying the team in a 17th-century setting? Absolutely. What else? The world’s only Will Ferrell museum? Look no further. World-class branding for world-leading brands? You’ve found your spot.

Web: www.snask.com Instagram: @snasksthlm Vimeo: Snask

Left: Poster campaign for the tour premiere for Axwell ^ Ingrosso at Governors Ball in New York 2014. Posters revealed lyrics of the upcoming single release, On My Way. Right: Brand identity for OXID Bar x Mat, a gold medalist at the Swedish Design Awards 2020.

Sustainable and conceptual design

Keep it clever. Keep it clear. Creating a sustainable brand identity is the secret behind Swedish design agency Acid and Marble’s fresh approach. Their ten years in the business are testimony to the business idea that has brought about collaborations with world famous DJs, renowned restaurants and exciting and up-and-coming brands.

Chances are you’ve already seen the duo’s work. If you haven’t, you may have come across it while listening to a dance track by former Swedish House Mafia DJs Axwell, Sebastian Ingrosso and Steve Angello, or Alesso, to name a few. For Mia Askerstam Nee and Antonio Vergara Alvarez, the creative masterminds behind Stockholm-based design agency Acid and Marble, it’s all about amplifying a client’s voice by strengthening their business benefits.

“We are a small design agency in big packaging,” says Askerstam Nee. “We are conceptual in everything we take on. A project or a job is never better than the idea behind it, regardless of how well the execution might have been. We always strive to work sustainably, with a longterm view so that it won’t feel out-dated after a few years.” Even the company name has a deeper and more sustainable backstory than at first glance. Two minds means bigger ideas – Acid and Marble represents the balance between the two. “Acid is for Antonio, who usually takes the creative and conceptual process a few steps further,” explains Askerstam Nee. “He doesn’t seem to have a creative limit. He’s experimental and as much an art director as a designer.”

That leaves us with the other half, Marble, or Askerstam Nee. She ties the knots together. “She’ll gather and concretise ideas, and put together a guideline,” adds Vergara Alvarez. “She has a huge interest in conceptualisation and typography, and perfection. She makes sure the projects have a persistent quality from idea to execution. We are both creators and designers, which means we have two different expressions and backgrounds. We wanted our company name to capture our personal expressions.”

Baby steps Acid and Marble took its first steps in 2011. The arrival of their first child meant they had to put the firm temporarily on hold, before bringing it back full steam in 2014. “When our working day starts, we disconnect our relationship,” says Askerstam Nee. “Even if we are in the middle of an argument!”

Their approach and unique touch on everything they put their hands on have led to commissions from all over the globe. They describe their style as modern, high-end, minimalistic. “That is probably a result of the clients we have,” explains Vergara Alvarez. “We always try to look at the business benefit for our client. We aim to land in something that feels new, but still sustainable. We try to find a nerve and still be as clean as possible in our ideas and expression, without any clutter.”

“We see our projects as collaborations,” continues Askerstam Nee. “We want our

clients to be part of the whole process and be able to influence along the way. Insight is the key to success. We enjoy working on projects that tickle several senses: conceptualising a club, a dish or a menu, or staging an entire restaurant, a fashion runway, or creating a scent with a specific identity. In a previous project, a collaboration with the fashion brand Concepts d’Oeur and the music producer and artist Steve Angello, we created a graphic concept based on music. We found that very exciting. We’d love to do more projects like that, which cross the border, no matter the product or business.”

When they aren’t busy creating visual concepts for some of the biggest DJs and artists on the planet, they’re working with brands in fashion, tech, marine technology and the restaurant industry, and that’s only scratching the surface of their broad palette.

Picking up the Swedish design award, Svenska Designpriset, in 2020, for their striking work with the bar and restaurant Oxid Bar, was one recent highlight. “They are one of our later and braver clients,” says Askerstam Nee. “We created a playful logotype. More of a symbol actually. It was daring and not very traditional, especially for a bar only 20 years old.”

“What inspired us here was the heritage of the venue,” adds Vergara Alvarez. “When the locals think of the nightlife in Stockholm, and Stureplan in particular, it often brings a smile to their face, a smile that feels like home, followed by a wink.”

The future is an exciting place for Acid and Marble. Plans for their own brands and projects are currently in the making – but they are still a secret at this point. If you happen to be in Stockholm in the near future, perhaps staying at Lydmar Hotel, you’ll be able to experience Acid and Marble a little bit closer. They developed a cocktail together with an inhouse bartender, based on the design agency’s brand philosophy. What does it taste like? Give it a try – there’s definitely a refreshing edge of chilli and acidic lemon in there.

Above: Brand identity for record label Size Records. The project included conceptual single release design, using liquids to achieve a variety of images within the same style. Below: Packaging and brand identity for the sustainable luxury shoe brand Sweyd Footwear. The shoes are handmade in Italy and the box is produced using 100 per cent green energy recycled materials.

Web: www.acidandmarble.com Facebook: acidandmarble Instagram: @acidandmarble

Left: Graphics concept for the capsule collection O-S-A, a collaboration between the fashion brand Concepts d’Odeur and artist Steve Angello, released during New York Fashion Week at the Art Director Club Gallery in Manhattan 2016. Photo: Simon Larsson. Right: Antonio Vergara Alvarez and Mia Askerstam Nee, the creative duo behind Acid and Marble.

With the core mission of strengthening brands, Stendahls has all the tools necessary when the goal is to digitalise an organisation’s business model.

No point without passion: welcome to the Stendahls family

This constantly forward-thinking, award-winning agency has been in the lead from the get-go when it comes to innovation and digitalisation. With playful teamwork and disruptive digital business development, Stendahls offers tailormade solutions for brands looking to accelerate their digital strategy into the future.

Based in Gothenburg, Sweden, with over 140 top-skilled individuals, this agency is always ready to work in lean and mean cross-functional teams, depending on the challenge that needs to be addressed. With the core mission of strengthening brands, Stendahls has all the tools necessary, whether the goal is to digitalise an organisation’s business model, build a digital eco-system or create worldwide PR-driven communication. “Stendahls was founded back in 1954, and one of the reasons we still exist and perform top of the class is our ability to innovate and continuously take things to the next level,” says Kaj Leissner, director of service design and innovation at Stendahls. “We have an open, family-like culture, which enables us to move quickly and reach top results – and most importantly – we have fun along the way!”

Faster together Not only is ‘together’ one of Stendahls’ core values, but it also lies at the heart of all the work carried out at the agency. This, matched with the ability to move fast, gives Stendahls its unique position. Unlike traditional business consultants working on costly projects for months, or ideas-driven agencies unable to anchor the concepts, Stendahls delivers speedy, realistic results on a high level.

“We hack the process,” explains Leissner. “We have the ability to swiftly put

together a team, with let’s say, a programmer, a designer and a strategist, for a quick and precise delivery. One of the biggest challenges for companies today is that they have their goals and strategies, but it takes too much money and time to test them. At Stendahls, we can tie a strategy to a prototype and test it straight away.”

A family of Stendarlings Becoming an employee is becoming a ‘Stendarling’ – a member of a big, joyful and top-skilled family. The playful culture, with emphasis on creativity, is one of the largest factors behind Stendahls’ ability to attract both clients and employees. “This gives us the best, brightest colleagues, which in turn gives us the best, brightest clients,” says Linda Wegdell, project manager at Stendahls.

The agency has five strong company values: passion, courage, honesty, collaboration, and respect. “If you want to move fast, there is no time for sugar coating. We need honest, direct answers,” says Leissner. “In order to give quick and honest feedback, you must respect each other, at the same time that courage is needed. You can’t be disruptive if you always play it safe. And lastly, if there’s no passion, there’s no point.”

By inviting the client into Stendahls’ extended family, the magic can start. “The client is with us every step of the way. After all, they are the experts on what they do,” Wegdell explains. “An ideal project delivery is when the final presentation doesn’t surprise the client, since they’ve been part of the journey since day one.”

Best-in-class cases Stendahls has a solid track record of successful digital business transformation projects, where one of the latest features the electrical car brand Polestar. In this case, the smartphone app, developed by Stendahls, becomes a digital extension of the actual product, serving both as dealership and a hub packed with inspiration. Users can book test drives and even purchase their car in the app before the final revelation: the app is the car key, and they had a part of the product in their pocket all along.

Digital innovation can also push brand development in the right direction, and with many suffering from the backlash of too much screen time, the Swedish insurance company Länsförsäkringar wanted to enhance its focus on social sustainability. The creative solution? Stendahls equipped a hotel’s check-out suite with sensors, tracking the screen time of the guest, with each minute adding to the bill for the room.

Another major brand on a digital journey is Husqvarna. “We had a prototype for the digitalisation of their products, long before the hype of Internet of Things peaked,” explains Leissner. “Since then, we’ve connected Husqvarna’s tools, which enables them to track processes and see where and how improvements can be done.” The result? Real, measurable wins for the client.

Without giving too much away in relation to the future, the excitement on Wegdell’s and Leissner’s faces says a lot. “There’re definitely some huge projects in the pipeline,” they smile. Only time can tell exactly what this means, but stay tuned to find out what thrilling news will next come out of this creative family.

Left: Have you ever designed something with the intention of it first being used 20 years from now? Neither had Stendahls – until Halmstad University came into the office. Right: When Polestar said ‘Goodbye normal’, traditional ideas of car ownership became a thing of the past. Polestar wanted to show people the future – and let them hold it in their hands.

Left: Kaj Leissner, director of service design and innovation at Stendahls. Photo: Catharina Fyrberg. Right: Linda Wegdell, project manager at Stendahls. Photo: Catharina Fyrberg Web: www.stendahls.se/ service-design-innovation Facebook: Stendahls Instagram: @stendahls Twitter: @stendahls

Refrigerator and freezer for ISS. ABB GoFa collaboration robot.

Product design out of this world

Multifaceted, multi-talented and multi-awarded product design and development studio No Picnic has a mission: to create products that will enhance and improve the world we live in. Thanks to grit and playful thinking outside the box in collaboration with globally esteemed companies, they are well underway towards achieving a more functional and sleek society for all. is non-existent. Their collaborative robots, meanwhile, developed with ABB, GoFa and SWIFTI, are pushing the boundaries for what companies – from large industries to small businesses – can achieve.

Their most current project is charging posts for electric cars designed for urban areas. Form and function are integrated to improve the charging infrastructure as well as the city landscape, creating smarter and more habitable cities prepared for a better future. As we are well aware of, a fairer and more sustainable society will require new ways of thinking. Luckily, No Picnic is there to help us on the way.

The creative studio was founded in 1993 after five tight-knit students realised that work developed as a team often ended in better results. “Our exchange accelerated the outcome and starting a company together only seemed like a natural next step,” reminisces Stefan Magnusson, one of the founding partners.

Thanks to determination and a refusal to take no for an answer, global telecoms company Ericsson became one of their first clients, and their fine sense of form made a great impact on the mobile phones for years to come. “Our primary focus is the user: a product needs to deliver a good feeling, physically as well as emotionally, and deep-seated empathy with the end-user is key. We help our clients to visualise their dreams and encourage a bolder and greener future, which will benefit the company and society simultaneously,” says Jonas Bergfeldt, creative director and partner.

From outer space to benevolent robots and everything in between Global corporations, medical companies and specialised luxury brands act as solid proof of the widespread talents that make up the team. Their infallible focus on creative innovations for a smarter future has earned them numerous awards, as well as the opportunity to make a real impact and show how society can promote a more sustainable life.

A zero-emission vessel, run on wind, sun and wave energy, was developed as a concept for Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics and is now being realised for commercial use. A fridge for the International Space Station, ordered by NASA, required lofty ideas to function in space, where gravity

Web: www.nopicnic.com Instagram: @nopicnic.se

Left: Contura is one of Myra’s long-term clients. Their collaboration has resulted in stylish, easy-to-use and well-integrated stoves for the home environment for customers all over Europe. Right: Samba II is an HIV blood analyser for the developing world.

When design potentially saves lives

Can industrial design be as pleasing to the eye as it is ergonomic, functional and optimised for production? The answer is yes. Since 1976, Myra Industrial Design has been pushing the boundaries for design and functionality.

Although a nice side effect, racking up design awards – and they have a fair few – is not why they do it. CEO Jon-Karl Sundh is slightly modest when he describes Myra Industrial Design as a “small and flexible organisation”. It may be a closely-knit company, but their ambitions are far greater than simply producing a good product.

“About half of what we do in terms of time is in MedTech,” says Sundh. “That includes anaesthesia machines, laboratory equipment and technical medical products. But it can also be professional battery chargers, product design guides or cranes for lorries; it varies a lot.”

A project Myra is particularly proud of is a collaboration with DRW, Diagnostics for the Real World. “It’s an HIV analysing instrument that gives a result very quickly,” Sundh explains. “The main use is for the developing countries, making it possible to test in remote areas. Thanks to its ability to give quick and accurate results, users are able to respond with the best recourses as soon as possible. And this product has even been used during Covid-19: in essence it’s a pipetting robot, for analysing samples.”

Another interesting product and potential lifesaver is a device that will be found in conjunction with cardiac starters, placed in public spaces. “It’s a new type of device with a direct link to doctors, straight from a trauma scene,” says Sundh. “They’ll receive the patient’s status and values before the patient comes in and will be able to prepare accordingly. This is a project where we’ve worked with the digital interface, the technology behind it and the hardware. It is vital that everything coincides, is durable and easy to use. In medicine, everything needs to be very straight-forward, as you may only get one chance to understand how to use it.”

When a project comes together from start to finish, with all the ingredients – userfriendly, smart looking and functional – they know they’ve done a good job.

“There is a common denominator in all our projects,” adds Sundh. “They are clean and uncomplicated and self-evident in their handling; that’s how I would describe our philosophy. All of our projects are unique, and our job is to optimise the products based on the user, the market and the company behind the product. This might sound like a cliché, but the end user is always at the centre of our projects.”

Web: www.myra.se Facebook: myraindustrielldesign Instagram: @myraindustrielldesign

Unparalleled functionality embracing the value of exceptional design

Struktur Design is the Swedish, Umeå-based company that has been specialising in user-friendly products for the industrial market since 1993. Creating new products and services as well as improving existing ones, they play a vital part in empowering the development of an intelligent industry that benefits all segments of production – from powerful machines to the individuals managing them.

There’s no place like Umeå for design addicts. It is home not only to Umeå Institute of Design, ranked the best design school for six consecutive years, but also to Struktur Design, an industrial design company that has served as a trusted partner to businesses for nearly 30 years.

Struktur Design is building and improving products inside industries worldwide and has, through its careful design process, earned a client network that is well aware of the fundamental value in cleverly constructed gadgets to increase manufacturing efficiency as well as customer satisfaction. Johan Gustafsson was one of three classmates that founded the company back in 1993, and has since partnered with Nikita Golovlev, who spent a decade at Hultafors Group designing hand tools.

“We work business to business, and our mission is to advocate for the endcustomer, whose viewpoint can easily get lost in the process. Producers choose us because they know we pay attention to the details, both great and minor, that enhance user-friendliness and increase efficiency on a production level. We know the power of ergonomics in combination with good design, and our focus is set on creating pioneering products where performance and subtle elegance go hand in hand,” says Gustafsson.

The environmental benefits of clever design Their projects are used in a wide variety of markets – from engineering industries to health care technology and consumer products. Most of the products are designed in close collaboration with the companies. Brokk 900 is one example of their ingenuity, where a new-generation demolition robot has

been rebooted, presenting a great leap forward from its preceding models. Design and construction are fortified and its functions have been refined – powerful features added without a noticeable change in size or weight, enhancing the Brokk signature design.

Intelligent solutions mean that environmentally responsible thinking has been part of the company’s default mindset since day one. “The benefits of a resource economic mindset are manifold: it saves resources, and it saves the producer from spending too much on surplus materials. Material that lasts longer, is more responsibly produced and sourced closer to home will help not only in saving the planet, but also in saving time and energy spent working in the wrong way. We always involve the clients in our conversation about sustainability: will we create a product that you can dismantle, where you can replace parts, recycle?” says Golovlev.

Knowing where the materials come from, their inherent capacities and how to utilise them to an outstanding level is key for long-lasting products. R2 Scout, where the knife is secured from accidentally falling out, to a secure cabin in the mining industry. Regardless of the size, our clients’ products are treated with the same attention. From a georadar system for Guideline GEO, the Malå Easy locator PRO, to forestry machines for Komatsu Forest, customers know they can rely on us to understand how products integrate into their business model and focus on solving problems that actually matter,” says Gustafsson.

Their products are multi-awarded, the latest addition to the long list being Konftel 70, a Red Dot 2021 winner and handy conference speaker, where dynamic design and the unique OmniSound technology combine for a slick, beautiful and functional product – classic trademarks of Struktur Design.

“Naturally, functionality and quality are our starting point in every product, but design is just as integral. It’s about combining top-of-the-line technology and subtle elegance, where design is an important part of our development process,” says Torbjörn Karlsson, product manager at Konftel AB.

Design and ergonomics are not only good for profit but can also have life-altering consequences – something they were reminded of when an operator, who suffered work-related problems almost forcing him to quit, was able to return to normal after changing to the Mig2 joystick, designed for Engcon.

“Throughout our design process, we are taking the environment where our products will be used into great consideration: what emotional and physical impact will they have on their user? Functionality and quality are essential, but that doesn’t exclude design – it’s a constant theme that helps push innovation and production forward. Our products have to be sustainable, beautiful and functional. Simply put: design that works!” concludes Golovlev.

Awarded gadgets trusted by many “Our solutions range from a smart lock function, as on our client Fällkniven’s

Web: www.strukturdesign.se

Absolut Paper Bottle.

Designing our future

When your entire business is about creativity and innovation, it can sometimes be hard to create a straight-forward definition of what it is exactly that you do. Grow continuously redefines the scope of what it means to be a forward-thinking creative business partner, brand and experience transformer as well as an innovative industrial design agency.

Building the business on an everexpanding offer, Grow started life in 2004 as a brand-development agency. It’s since grown into an international business with offices not only in its native Stockholm, but also in Helsinki, London and Vancouver. Teaming up with a sustainable pulp and paper innovator early on the journey ignited their passion for sustainability, with the opportunity to create packaging that doesn’t cost the earth.

“BillerudKorsnäs approached us to work together specifically on their futurefocused projects,” says Isabelle Dahlborg Lidström, head of design and creative director. “They had grand ideas and a need to get closer to their brand owners. They wanted to approach a crisps company to see if there was an opportunity to create paper-based packaging, but they needed someone to make that a reality. They gave us free reign to conceptualise what we thought it could look and feel like.”

This holistic way of understanding their own role as creative catalysts has informed the journey from the start, and has meant that the business has kept transforming. Today, Grow offers support throughout the whole journey, from brand and experience transformation to designing products and services. Their offering spans the whole spectrum from brand strategy and concept creation, product and packaging development, marketing and communication, through to UX and digitalisation.

“We’re privileged in that we get to be a part of the whole process. We often come in well before the product is conceived to guide the client throughout the whole process. We’ll advise on what sort of machinery is needed to create the product and the packaging, and we stay with the business on that whole journey to bring it to the end consumer, as well as what happens after that. There aren’t a lot of agencies that get that opportunity,” says Axel Brechensbauer, director of concept design.

Future gazing Four years ago, the business teamed up with Digitalist to expand their digital of-

fering. Rather than being a design firm that can help brands create beautiful branding, Grow wants to work at a higher level and help their clients in achieving sustainable growth.

“We do a lot of very high-level future innovation,” says Dahlborg Lidström. “We also work a lot with sustainable concepts; it’s important for us to see how far we can push our visions and imagination. For example, we innovate with new, sustainable materials made of cellulose and then enter international awards for the world to see them – purely as an imaginative exercise and to push the packaging industry. Our angle is ‘we know this might not be possible right now, but what sort of ideas is it giving you?’ And, actually, we found some new clients that way. And they started working on developing those innovations and bringing them to life.” Brechensbauer adds: “We’re working on things that create a roadmap for the next 30 years. So while many of those innovations may not be achievable right now, having that vision reassures us and our clients that we know what we’re talking about and that we can help them build the future.”

Sustainable development With a future focus, it’s no surprise that sustainability is one of the key pillars the business is built on. Rather than only analysing consumer behaviour, Grow is also looking to help brands get ahead of legislation and guide the public conversation. “It’s a bit of a red herring to say that individuals need to act more sustainably,” Brechensbauer says. “Brands and governments have a real opportunity to guide behaviour and create a whole new way of thinking about it.” With opportunities to shift consumer behaviour in the physical world, and to design in the digital world, there are new opportunities for innovation every day. “It used to be quite difficult to get clients to understand our thinking,” Dahlborg Lidström says. “They weren’t quite ready to be thinking as far ahead as we wanted to be. But there’s been a real shift in the past couple of years. Legislation and the urge of sustainable solutions are catching up. Brands want to get in ahead of that, where they’re seen as innovative and ahead of the curve. That’s where we fit in. It’s a really exciting and interesting time to be a designer and innovator!”

Web: www.grow.eu Instagram: @growstockholm

Packaging journey.

Reusable make-up jar insert. Truffle packaging.

Sjöborre wire casing.

ABB next-generation cobot. Coala, a better life.

Technology fit for the next industrial revolution, Industry 4.0

‘We live for design’ is the greeting when you land on the homepage for Reload Design, a Swedish design, technology and innovation company. The statement resonates perfectly with the energy and enthusiasm Felix Ferrer, CEO at Reload, displays for the cutting-edge technology and innovative design he and his team apply to their projects.

Felix Ferrer joined Reload as a designer 15 years ago and brought with him the structured approach of Design Thinking methodology. He applied this method not only to his designs, but also to the collaboration with colleagues and clients. The three main phases of this organised way of working have, he argues, proven to be the basis of Reload’s success story, and include:

The analytical phase: Information gathering is at the centre of this phase, being curious about the client’s ideas and the end-user needs, while leaving assumptions aside.

The creative phase: Pulling together all the information gathered and, with the team of technology and engineering specialists at Reload, involving the client to develop technology and design fit for the fast-moving world of the fourth industrial revolution, Industry 4.0.

The executive phase: The prototyping and testing of the product or solution and, finally, the end-user and customer validation and approval.

This is the recipe for the success that Reload is enjoying, and the structure that has brought Ferrer his personal achievements. But for him, it isn’t about individual success – it’s all about teamwork, and when you look at the Reload Design portfolio, you can’t help but notice the brilliance it exudes.

Among the variety of innovative products, all designed with empathy for the end user, is the niche market of the Racerunner, a bike designed to “attract runners both with and without disabilities – a paradigm shift for the sport,” Ferrer explains. There’s also the Coala Heart Monitor, ergonomically designed for the accurate and reliable recording and remote reading of heart activity to improve the quality of life of their users; and, at the other end of the spectrum, the ABB IRB 1100 Industrial Collaborative Robot, specifically designed for the production lines of the automotive industry to allow robots and humans to collaborate at the assembly lines.

The designs are proof that this dedicated Swedish design and technology team boasts the latest skills and knowledge while not being scared of pushing the boundaries of the norm. Ferrer proudly describes his team as working at the cutting edge of technology, and he modestly refuses to take personal credit for any success. “We are not individuals, we are a team,” he says. “That’s the only way to succeed in designing solutions ready for Industry 4.0, where the boundaries between the physical, digital and biological world blur.”

Felix Ferrer, CEO Reload Design.

Web: www.reload.se

User research in context.

User research in context. Part of the Zenit Design team.

Creating value through user-centric design

Zenit Design is tackling complex business challenges with user-centred and sustainable design, ensuring a matching user experience and a more sustainable product lifecycle.

Swedish design and innovation studio Zenit Design was founded in 1994. From the start, the team has designed products, evolving over the years into product-service systems, creating both physical and digital user experiences by using a human-centric, research-driven design approach. They respond to users’ challenges with sustainable productservice systems.

“Our design is driven by users’ needs,” says Jonas Svennberg, CEO at Zenit Design. And the word ‘users’, he clarifies, doesn’t just include consumers – it involves all stakeholders in the process, such as producers, developers and marketers, as well as internal and external end-users. “All these stakeholders have different needs, and design means finding the best compromise. When we design, we try to create the right solutions, which solve the right problems, in the right way.”

Stakeholders with varying needs In the case of medical devices, which represent a third of Zenit’s business, the team looks at types of users for inhalers, blood analysis equipment for lab environments, pumps for mattresses, and disposable systems for surgery, to mention a few. “In these environments, users include patients as well as nurses and doctors,” Svennberg says. “It’s important that we consider the big picture, to see if our solutions fit within the overall context. All pieces need to fit together, to solve known or previously unknown problems, to ensure economic and environmental sustainability. This is what we mean by creating value through user-centred design.”

A user-centric process is essential when designing entirely new products; for example, body-worn cameras for police and fire fighters. Zenit Design has a long collaboration with Axis Communications, a market leader in the network camera industry. For Axis, the team has designed award-winning products such as a series of live-streaming cameras, to stream and webcast audio and video in a variety of applications, and a dome network camera series. “Together with Axis, we have investigated renewable materials and circular business models, with a longer perspective in mind,” explains Svennberg. “Sustainability for electronics has in the past been a lot about minimising size and weight to reduce carbon footprint. Now it’s all about long product life and a design that is easy to repair, reuse and recycle in the future. We look at functionality and usability with a long-term vision; for the user, the business and the environment.”

Jonas Svennberg, CEO.

Web: www.zenitdesign.se Facebook: ZenitDesign Instagram: @zenitdesign.se

Adapt, adopt, pivot and make your mark in this world

In a society where the most reliable variable is change, the question of what makes worthwhile education is more relevant than ever. Hyper Island is the school that was founded to respond to the technological changes rippling through society and, in doing so, is providing the tools to turn challenges into opportunities for something better.

The school is well-known for its subversive pedagogy, which decidedly rejects traditional schooling methods in favour of hands-on projects with real-life companies and clients. With international courses, in-person and online, ranging from part-time courses to diplomas and master’s-level courses, there are options for anyone who wishes to embark on a new career or simply up-skill from their current one.

There’s no shortage of exciting subjects in the digital sphere for those who wish to prepare for a professional life without limits – design, marketing, leadership, data analysis and brand strategy serving as some examples – but the Hyper Island vision is not merely about teaching a subject. It’s about the mobilisation of a mindset that will help change the world.

“Hyper Island is about learning to thrive in change. If the world that we are living in is riddled with uncertainty, how are we going to respond to that? How can we meet in new spaces we never thought were possible, and how are we going to forge that connection, to support one another in where we will be going next?” says Rebecca Taylor, PhD, academic lead of the European master’s programmes.

“We work in cross-dimensional teams where the experiential learning plays the main role, always informed by the industry,” adds Jörg Teichgraeber, head of the school. “We encourage our students to play, to fail and to take ownership of their learning, where collaboration and team understanding are fundamental. We don’t believe in the old academic notion that students are empty vessels to be filled with knowledge; no, we believe that power already resides within the individual. Our courses are designed to bring this out.” Their agile mindset and unique methodology are proven to have effect: alumni are holding key positions in global companies as well as playing integral parts in transforming communities and influencing systemic change. As new ideas in response to a post-pandemic world have become more urgent than ever, it’s safe to say that the future will present challenges as well as opportunities. This school is designed to push change in the right direction – the Hyper Island way.

Web: www.hyperisland.com Instagram: @hyperisland YouTube: Hyper Island Content Channel