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Blå Bär by BVD, Sweden

Opinion by Richard Baird.

Brand identity and bags by Swedish studio BVD for Blå Bär, an Osaka-based retailer of Scandinavian goods

Blå Bär (Swedish for blueberries) sells a variety miscellaneous goods from Scandinavia from its store in Osaka, Japan. These include, but are not limited to, glass and kitchenware, soft furnishings, ornaments and jewellery. Many of these could be described as having something of a shared Scandinavian simplicity of form, lightness of colour, natural material quality and cheerful character in pattern and imagery. These are displayed within a well-lit space that blends white walls and shelves, a light wood floor and storage, with the blue of its brand identity, created by Stockholm-based graphic design studio BVD. This appears as a solid matte colour wall, glossy counter, pattern detail and display case, and runs across the store’s packaging.

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Artek Helsinki by Tsto, Finland

Opinion by Richard Baird.

Brand identity and shopping bags by graphic design studio Tsto for furniture and homeware store Artek Helsinki.

Artek is a Finnish furniture and product design business and retailer with a flagship store in Helsinki. It was founded in 1935 by architect Alvar Aalto and wife Aino Aalto, the arts promoter Maire Gullichsen and art historian Nils-Gustav Hahl.

Artek grew alongside and shared many of the qualities of the  20th century modernist movement, blending art and technology, and making the most of improved technical expertise in mass manufacturing to produce well-crafted and functional products from good quality materials for everyday living. The company has remained true to these values, and its 2nd cycle initiative, a platform for reselling Artek furniture, is a testament to the aesthetic and material longevity of its products.

Artek worked with Scandinavian graphic design studio Tsto to build out the visual identity system of their flagship store, Artek Helsinki. The studio’s approach layers this system with additional type, illustration created from the partial forms of Artek’s product range and establishes a new set of visual guidelines. This runs across and links tags, stationery, business cards, packaging, magazine covers and shopping bags.

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Modern by Dwell Magazine by Collins, United States

Opinion by Richard Baird.

Branding and packaging design by New York studio Collins for product and furniture range Modern by Dwell Magazine, a collaboration with Target.

Modern by Dwell Magazine is a new range of home decor products, tablewear and furnishings for those who want to create a welcoming space with a modern aesthetic. It is a collaborative project between design and architecture magazine Dwell, designers Chris Deam and Nick Dine of Deam+Dine, and the American retailer Target.

The range features over 120 products. From chairs, tables and glassware to kitchen utensils, bowls and cocktail shakers. These all balance an everyday functionality with what is described as a high-quality material beauty and share a modernistic design foundation, good design for everyone, only truly made a reality with more recent improvements to mass manufacturing.

New York-based design company Collins, working with the Target Creative Team, drew on a similar modernistic approach taken by Modern’s designers to create brand identity and packaging. This can be seen in structure and high quality materials, and throughout the range’s graphic expression, a balance of high-impact colour, typographical detail and a practical grid-based layout.

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