Scan Magazine | Issue 70 | November 2014

Page 29

2_0_ScanMag_70_Nov_2014_Text:Scan Magazine 1



Page 29

Scan Magazine | Special Theme | Visual Creatives - The Best Nordic Agencies

Art from the start Sauer co-founded Howl in 2007, after spending time in his father’s art and silversmith studio, which early on made him realise that he wanted to do something creative. He first tried his hand at sculpting, but soon turned to industrial and interaction design. ”I realised quite quickly that I needed something to relate to, aside from myself. I felt that there are no limits in design, and that seemed like a lot of fun,” he says. The philosophy was clear from the start: the Howl team wants to be personal and straightforward – with an approach that sees the whole picture. Sauer believes this is the foundation for any good product and a strong long-term brand. The agency is small, but growing, currently with eleven employees in the capital and three at the Malmö office that opened in 2011. Keeping it simple When defining Scandinavian design, Sauer admits that the term is a bit stereotyped. The Howl philosophy breaks it down and describes it as “human-centred and pure-thinking, with simple and clear design features”. “The product has a purpose that you need to uphold. Then you can add brand characteristics and try to create a distinctive product – perhaps by simplifying instead of adding something,” he says.

The new wireless earphones Jabra Sport Pulse, designed by Howl.

The Trabec mountain bike helmet, created in collaboration with POC Sports in 2011, is an example of this. Here, Howl met an action sports industry quite used to bombastic designs. “It would be like putting a Formula One car on your head – very speedy, but with ventilations. What we created is more calm, protective and cool,” Sauer says.

”They have everything we need to create a product from scratch: software, hardware and mechanics. We will copy the way of working together in Malmö and bring it here too,” he says, and continues: “We want to make real innovations, so we need to build products and see them at an early stage, even where electronics or programming are involved.”

Keeping it simple is not always easy. Product developers might feel obliged to add new functions, even though they might not actually be needed. When developing a new interface for Asko Cylinda dishwashers, Howl reminded themselves that the basic purpose is what matters the most. ”I want to put dishes in the washer and get them clean. And that’s that,” Sauer says, explaining that there is no true need for a state-of-the-art touch screen when all you really need is a button or two. ”Dare to simplify and create something clear and easy on the eye,” he says summing up the classic Scandinavian design approach.

Smart in a whole new way

Future innovations Howl Studio is expanding, but the focus stays on design and innovation. The Malmö studio shares an office with friends at the product creation agency Frankly Development. The collaboration will intensify at the turn of the year, when five new Frankly team members are recruited to Stockholm.

Products that learn who you are and what you do are really interesting where the future is concerned, according to Sauer. This could mean connecting sensors to hardware or services, like a music player knowing what kind of music you like at a certain hour or location. “Apps are already available for logging what we eat, our exercise and our weight. What’s the next step? What should we do with all this data? Things are really starting to happen, and this is just the beginning,” he says, adding: “We are currently working on a few smart device projects to be launched next year. It will be really interesting to see how they are received by consumers.”

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The Trabec mountain bike helmet, developed in collaboration with POC.

Issue 70 | November 2014 | 29

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