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Åhléns by Happy FB

Opinion by Richard Baird

Visual identity, shopping bags, packaging and signage by Happy FB for Swedish retailer Åhléns

Åhléns began in 1899 as a small mail-order business. Aside from it being one of the oldest it has also grown to become one of the largest retail chains in Sweden. By carefully collating a variety of items across brands and price categories, the retailer maintains its relevance today, understanding and responding to the many ways in which its customers have changed over its long history. Happy FB, the Scandinavian design studio behind Åhléns new visual identity, puts it simply “to Åhléns’ urbane and socially conscious patrons, shopping and sustainability are not contradictions. Inspiration and trends do not equate to use and discard. Premium can be inexpensive and cheap doesn’t necessarily mean a drop in quality”. The retailer’s new visual identity expresses this by taking the well-established Åhléns wordmark and single red and builds this out into a range of changing graphic expressions, imbuing a variety of touchpoints, material and digital, with more character whilst retaining a recognisable immediacy through simplicity.

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Maldini Studios by Jens Nilsson, Sweden

 

Opinion by Richard Baird

Logotype and letterpress business cards by Jens Nilsson for interior design and carpentry business Maldini Studios

Maldini Studios is a Stockholm-based interior design and carpentry studio made up of project manager and carpenter Rasmus Moberg, interior designer Elina Johansson and carpenter Theo Klyvar. The studio’s work often uses precise lines and geometric forms to elevate the irregular detail and texture of natural materials. There are moments of utilitarian and ornamental juxtaposition, times at which this feels subtle and transitional, others where it is more severe and abrupt. Much of the studio’s work displays a contextual sensitivity, either in its continuity with or intentional opposition to space.

Drawing on the forms, materials and woodworking craft of the studio, as well as its understanding of object and space Swedish designer Jens Nilsson, former Design Director at Snask, built an identity that explores the intersection of the functional and the sculptural, material pleasure and communicative intention. This is done through the distinctive typographical forms of a custom typeface, a material variety, and by employing letterpress as a bridge between the two. Graphic identity runs across website and a variety of printed assets, these include stationery and business cards, branded items such as tote bags and scarves, as well as signage.

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