Swedish design agency Snask doesn’t do anything by the book, which is precisely why they’re considered one of the most innovative and all-round fun collectives out there (not to mention, one of the most attractive places to work).
In all its branding, design and stop motion work, the agency strives to go beyond the ordinary, often creating elaborate imagery and typography by hand rather than resorting to the computer. A prime example is the poster the company designed for the 2014 Malmö Festival that entailed 34 enormous 3D letters being built and shot from a crane high above.
While some of the members of Snask were down here for Design Indaba recently, we got a chance to quickly catch up with founder and Creative Director Fredrik Öst. Here’s what he had to say.
For you, why does design exist?
For our viewing pleasure! No, not only. It also exists to make life easier and solve problems. Design that is too abstract and doesn’t communicate a certain clear message or solve a certain problem should be called art.
Have you ever worked on something that bores you?
Of course. Especially in the beginning, but most of the time we realise it will bore us early on and can turn it down.
Where, in your opinion, is the most inspiring creative place in the world?
It’s hard to say. Mexico City has some extremely vibrant and creative areas. Stockholm is very innovative and full of creatives that are flourishing, at least right now. China is coming along and so is South Korea, but they have big issues with being very conservative while at the same time being very modern in terms of technology and innovation.
We’re interested in how Snask took a branding brief for the 2014 Malmö Festival and actually brought it to life, like, literally. How did that project evolve?
We had worked with the festival for four years in a row and this was our fifth year and also the festival’s 30th anniversary, so we wanted to push everything higher than we’d done before. We managed to combine two budgets, one for the design and communication and the other for the physical decoration of the streets, and after seeing what was possible we decided to make the biggest identity that the world had ever seen and transform it into a whole physical area that visitors could climb and interact with. We designed everything on the computer so we could calculate how high up we needed to be to get the angles right when photographing it – it turned out to be 30 metres up in the air. The next thing was to get the shadows to fall correctly from the upper left to the lower right. We realised that we would have to be done with set-up to start shooting at 12pm and then we would have just two hours to get the shoot before the shadows would be wrong again. We managed to pull through and it turned out really well!
What did you find most unique about the creative scene while in South Africa?
I think the most unique thing was the political background of the country mixed with a new generation who was brought up with Internet. It seems like all the different groups of people living there are pushing their agendas and beliefs to the extreme right now, and by doing so, they create limits, investigate possibilities and break down obstacles that will benefit younger generations, no matter what their background is. I definitely believe that new generations are the key to solving problems. I would just like to point out that I actually have no clue what I’m talking about since I was only in South Africa for one week.
Read about 15 ingenious design moments that came out of the 2016 Design Indaba in our May issue