For a couple of years ago I found a screenshot on the net, showing a broken screen from someone’s MacBook . The upper right corner on the diplay had got a punch and some liquid had start pouring inside the screen. It was something in that abstract shape I liked so I saved the picture on my hard drive for another day. This winter I started to think about my living room’s big white wall. I’m not so fond of placing prints or frameworks behind the TV so a vinyl print felt like a better solution. Therefore I made this print based on this crashed display. I liked the idea to have fine shapes with a little bit of attitude.
Right now I’m waiting for the real prints, so it will be great to see how it works. The idea is to add these to my upcoming online shop if it turns out well. Black Leakage will be printed on matted vinyl and available in two different shapes;
Black Leakage No. 1 (Portrait)
Black Leakage No. 2 (Landscape)
If you want a Black Leakage for your home as well, just send me a mail and I will notice you when it is available. And of course, you will get 40% OFF just because you read this! And if you recognize your broken display I will send you one for free! :)
If you are interested, just send me a note here. It will be available in a couple of weeks.
I have made the illustrations in Adobe Illustrator. More to come when it´s available and I have test it in my apartment.
Last month Marcus Ivarsson and I got the honor to be invited to London by the D&AD President Sanky. He asked us to speak at one of their D&AD President’s Lecture, which is an event they hold six times a year. Earlier speakers have been Neville Brody, Shane Walter and Kyle Cooper for example and it's just one speaker at each event. The arrangement was very professional done, so we had a great time both on stage, with the great audience (over 700 people!!), and at the dinner and the clubs afterwards. Thank you so much Sanky btw, for the nice opening words you gave me! I will remember them :)
On stage we talked about North Kingdom and how we are are making our projects. We talked about "finding and follow your butterflies" and how to "be one big brain". This is how we were presented on D&AD's website;
"D&AD Black Pencil-winning North Kingdom is a world leading digital creative agency. Their spiritual home is Skellefteå, a small town next to the polar circle in Sweden. Depending on the season, the team enjoys 23 hours of sunshine or darkness a day."
It was also great to see the following week how people from the audience wrote review articles about our presentation;
Concept art by North Kingdom (Robert Lindström & Mathias Lindgren). Deer by Mirada.
Three screenshots from the final work and the landingpage of ROME, everything made with webGL.
A couple of weeks ago we launched a little different project from North Kingdom called ROME, an interactive music video made in webGL from Google Chrome. To learn more about the technique you can read more at ROME technology site.
I wasn’t so super involved myself unfortunately when it was the music director who was in charge of all the visual stuff. I only did some early concept drawings together with our 3D artist Mathias Lindgren and some design directions on the website. These pictures will I show here below.
The beautifully Norah Jones, one of my favorites, is singing "3 Dreams of Black" in this interactive music video with Jack White from Danger Mouse & Daniele Luppi’s album ROME.
Some really early concept drawings. I had an idea of a mirror world underneath the surface, a more twisted version of the dream world.
"A dark world is found under the surface, as if you would look under the water's edge. This dark, odd, bizarre world contains a mirror image of the “real” world but within another shape. Here will you find the dark soup. A soup that could have same style in all three dark worlds."
We are always looking for new talents to North Kingdom, where I'm trying to keep an eye on designers and art directors. The best mix is of course to have both seniors with international background and juniors from the schools (where we for the moment work very close with both Hyper Island and Berghs here in Stockholm). However, to be honest it doesn't matter what school you have studied at, it's your portfolio we are interested at. So if you want to live in one of the best cities in the world; Stockholm and you have a great showcase, then you should definitely send us and email.
Apply here — email@example.com
Be sure you are proud of your work and that you have all details on place, otherwise I'm not sure we have time to get back to you.
Tonite I have modified my illustration from the wallpaper "En kopp kaffe" to match a 50x70 cm print for an upcoming exhibition. I will definitely play around with it more later, regarding colors and graphic elements. The print will be a limited edition of 25 or so...
Some first ideas of the package design — a box in wood.
For the moment we are in contact with a factory in Hong Kong who hopefully will help us with the production. This blueprint is made for them to start making the prototypes. I really hope we will have some nice looking prototypes in the office soon!
The new arms in place. The smoother design gave them a better overall look I think. (Logotypes are missing.)
"Overloaded design can be both boring and distracting, while minimalism’s ability to cut to the chase gives it a decided commercial edge. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry defined the style as being “not when there is nothing more to add, but when there’s nothing left to take away”."
"Clean, unfussy, functional, minimalist... these are the kind of adjectives that would spring to most people's mind when the subject of Swedish design is raised."
In the latest issue of IdN, v17n6: Minimalism Issue, you find lot of Swedish creatives from varies fields. Really cool to see what's going on in the neighborhoods;
— Oskar Kron Design (Stockholm, Sweden)
"I find it interesting how typography can set a tone or convey a message in the way it is treated rather than what it necessarily says. It’s a bit like a bolt, it just holds everything together."
— Anneli Olander (Stockholm, Sweden)
— Chevychase (Stockholm, Sweden)
— Diftype (Umeå, Sweden)
— Slobodan Zivic (Stockholm, Sweden)
— Bergen (Stockholm, Sweden)
— Daniel Carlsten (Stockholm, Sweden)
— Dalston Creative (Stockholm, Sweden)
— RBG6 (Stockholm, Sweden)
— BVD (Stockholm, Sweden)
— Patrik Lindell (Stockholm, Sweden)
More minimalistic stuff here.
April 30, 2011 - Comments Off on Ten FITC Speakers. Ten Years. Ten Prints!
Got a mail from Shawn Pucknell, Director at FITC Events, today; "Just got all the prints today and sorted them all out and hand numbered them. They look great. Attached is a shot of the prints and album..."
My print is the one in the lower left corner. Great to see how the other artist solved the assignment. My favorite is the one by James Paterson.
"As part of our celebration for the ten year anniversary of FITC, we selected ten FITC Speakers from the past ten years and asked them to design a print with the theme ‘TEN’".
Read the whole post at FITC.
Yesterday we had one of our first soccer practice outdoor at North Kingdom Stockholm. Of course we were dressed up with our new, supernice outfits from adidas.
We kicked Perfect Fools butts in the last game, which made us to the best agency in Sweden (regarding to the trophy we won from them), so let us know if you want to challenge us for the title and the cup. Otherwise you will find us at Vasaparken every Wednesday at noon.
This weekend I have modified another nun illustrations from 2001/2002. The original illustration was never mentioned to be bigger then 800 pixels high so I have done some adjustments now in Photoshop, so it will work better in print. Work in progress...
"Designed Swedish Religion — The Red Nun". 50 x 70 cm, 300 dpi.
Last month I posted some pictures on our North Kingdom blog concerning the first Woodbot prototypes we have made via a 3d printer. For the moment this is a side project for Mathias Lindgren (3d) and myself, so it goes little slow sometimes, when our regular projects goes first. However, I’m strongly motivated to see if we can take it to production later this year.
The characters will be made in dark wood to get a premium feeling. Details like bag in leather.
So what’s the next step for our physical Woodbot? Right now we are talking with different partners around the world to see who can help us to move on. It's partners in USA, China, Japan and, of course, in the north part of Sweden. The priority for the production is (when numbers and profits doesn’t interest me that much);
1 — Quality
2 — Flexibility
3 — Cost
The idea for now is to make three models from start, with a limited edition of 250 – 500 each. It’s hard to say the price but I would guess around 150 USD each. The money is not the most important here; it’s to actually do it. I’m reading a book right now called “Making Ideas Happen — Overcoming the obstacles between vision and reality” by Scott Belsky, and I start to understand why so very few of all my ideas never left the drawing table. Yet.
As soon we have figured out whom we will take care of the production we will create one single, wooden prototype. When this prototype has the quality we looking for, then we will put Woodbot on Kickstarter.com to get, hopefully, a budget to start the production.
The prototypes are printed at Digital Mechanics in Västerås, Sweden.
TEN PIECES. This is mine and North Kingdoms contribution to FITC 10th Anniversary (Canada). FITC have invited 10 artists that have spoken at their conferences the last 10 years to create 10 posters. Therefore the theme was just TEN. The size will be 12 x12 inches, printed on matte 80 pound stock.
Some of the other artists are Natzke, MK12 and Kyle Cooper.
My idea was to create something made by 10 shapes, based on a technique I used back in 2000 for a project called "The Skyscraper". I wanted to make a minimalistic symbol that both contains the word "TEN" but also something connected to North Kingdom, so I created a deer in a shape similar to our North Kingdom logotype..
The symbols/logotypes I made September 2000 for "The Skyscraper".
I’m have started to prepare some stuff for an exhibition this spring in Stockholm. Two of the prints will be modified versions of my nun illustrations from 2001/2002. These illustrations where never planed to be used bigger then I had them on my original website from 2002, but they have been printed up to 140 x 140 cm which is insane when all details looks pretty bad. However, I thought it was an excellent way to both improve my painting techniques and fix these old illustrations for print.
This is still work in progress but it will end up pretty close to this I think. I have some stuff left to do in her face and neck and I'm still playing with the design. And yeah, the logo is not set yet as well.
Size 50 x 70 cm, 300 dpi.
The original illustration was never mentioned to be bigger then 800 pixels high.
Thank you guys who posted feedback of the logotype redesign. Some of you have notified me that the minimalistic eagle was similar to the logotype for Design Made In Germany, which is true. You can say it is from the same logotype family so to speak. Not as much that it felt I really had to change it but I wanted to see if I could modified it a little to make it more unique. I mean, the logotype become even more similar when my original logotype from 2002 is based on the Germany eagle.
However, I ended up with a version where I have used a solid circle underneath and a slighter bigger cross symbol. The eagle symbol become more minimalistic then before which is good when it is the cross that is the core of the logotype.
Spontaneous I think the eagle loses to much of its symbolic language. And maybe it becomes too minimalistic? If I have time I will do some more versions later this week.
My original logotype, the heraldic eagle, have felt out of date and maybe little impersonal, so the last five-six years I have more and more just used the cropped cross in different ways. I have now finished an idea where I mix the eagle, the circle and the cross in a much minimalistic way, which I think represents me better. So the plan is to use this logotype from now on.
To keep quality in all your projects, every month, every year, and in particular as your agency is growing is not an easy task. Everyone who has been working at a design bureau knows how easy the growth and profit take focus from that final touch and execution. That’s a deadly, but common sin.
At North Kingdom we have always been discussing our projects quality. These internal design evaluations are not only important for you as a designer but for the entire company. How will you otherwise improve and take it to the next level? One step we have taken is to appoint a North Kingdom design director, and that guy is me since a couple of months.
In a growing, creative design company, there are two elements that needs equal focus; the economy and the portfolio. We use to say that if you concentrate on quality it will sooner or later pay back, when a well-executed project will give your company great PR which will give you more contracts in the future. Sounds maybe easy, but of course, it’s not. You really need to understand how to sell and run a business as well. When we started North Kingdom almost eight years ago we had something that later seemed to be a perfect match. When I focused 24/7 on the creative side, my colleague and the other founder, Roger Stighäll, focused on the business as a full bloodied business man he is. We were two strong individuals that were fighting our different interest.
Besides the internal design discussions it’s also important for you to fight for your visual ideas. As a designer or art director it can sometimes be hard to internally convince why you would need two extra days, fixing visual details when you have a strict budget and deadline to follow. A fight that becomes more important for you when you know how fine the line is between an acceptable and an award winning project. It's now so important that your colleagues are understanding what you want to achieve. Sometimes we have what we call a “tweak week” at North Kingdom; a week after launch where we fix details that wasn’t done during the last hectic weeks, so we ourselves are pleased with the final result. If you are building a pyramid it would be a bummer to miss the top, right?
Personally I think many companies needs stronger art directors and designers with authority to really fight for their design vision (which should be a vision that not only are based on personal style but business goal). If you as an art director makes a project without any bigger complications within the team or with the client you have probably not taken the work to the level it could be, or should be. If it’s easy, you are probably doing it wrong.
“If people aren’t telling you that your idea is crazy, then it is likely not a very big idea” - Francis Ford Coppola. I like this quote when it touches design as much as ideas itself.
What concerns me, is that is too often we see well known agencies working with super big brands with a terrible result. I hardly believe the budgets are too small, instead I believe there are stronger people in their organizations who are more concerned about money or credits than what they actually are going to launch. Maybe, we should question more if these persons are having to much power in house for each companies best?
— Robert Lindström, art & design director, North Kingdom
This is cool! The first photo I have seen on a FWA wall with my design. It's from ATTIK, San Francisco, USA. ATTIK was one of my absolute favorite agencies (together with Büro Destruct) when I began my carrier. It's also pretty cool that the certificate in the end of this photo, the one from 2010, is together with us at North Kingdom for Scion.
January 24, 2011 - Comments Off on FWA 3rd Best site of the Year – Cheetos
This year we had one project in the FWA’s big final; Best site of the Year. Myself wasn't involved in this one when Nils Arvidsson (North Kingdom) was our interactive art director. Actually, I haven't done so many cases at all during 2010 when I had been involved in other stuff/roles within North Kingdom. However, I hope to do lot more work during 2011 when I'm back on the drawing table full time.
From North Kingdom blog;
"Battle of the Cheetos made it all the way to the third spot in 2010 FWA People’s Choice Awards – Website of the Year. Thanks to all of you who voted for our piece that we developed together with our old friends at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners." (Case movie by GPS)
View the project here — Battle of the Cheetos
Last month we launched a pretty cool project at Times Square for LG on their huge LED screen. A project within the project was to create a character, a process I will show here below. Usually I don't work as an illustrator but sometimes it happens...
Overall we created over 50 characters during two hectic weeks...
A — Final direction from client B — My redesign and modification of the character when we wanted him more mature and cool C — Klaus Lyngeled (Character Designer och Animation Director) did some tweaks on my sketch D — The final character made in Unity 3D
When a project have a character in focus it's of course super important to give him a look that works both for the brands philosophy and the project itself, a combination that can be very tricky sometimes. This autumn I helped one of our teams with some early concept ideas and development of a character for LG. The character was going to have artificial intelligence and "live" inside the biggest LED screen in NYC; a huge 15x25 meters display (1984x1136 resolution) on Times Square. His name is Gil (Life Is Good backwards) and he's LG's Good News Ambassador. Gil is animated in real-time 3D (Unity 3d) which means instead of using loops of pre-rendered animations, he actually can respond differently to messages, weather reports or news feeds so that he feels really alive
January 3, 2011 - Comments Off on D&AD President’s Lectures — Digital Monarchy
The 12th of May 2011, Marcus Ivarsson and I will speak at D&AD President's Lectures in London, invited by Jane Morley.
About D&AD President's Lectures — D&AD Events exist to inspire, stimulate discussion & fuel debate. Speakers at D&AD President’s Lectures represent the best in their creative fields whilst Sharp’ners offer the opportunity to share opinion & exchange ideas in a more informal setting. D&AD Workout is a series of challenging workshops taught in unusual ways by unexpected people.
Suggested title — Digital Monarchy
"D&AD Black Pencil-winning North Kingdom is a world leading digital creative agency. Their spiritual home is Skellefteå, a small town next to the polar circle in Sweden. Depending on the season, the team enjoy 23 hours of sunshine or darkness a day.
Renowned for their stunning digital production combining 3D, live action and brilliant art direction, the team create beautiful interactive communication as on projects such as ‘Get the Glass’, ‘Teamgeist’ for Adidas’ and Vodafone’s ‘FutureVision’.
For North Kingdom’s debut lecture in the UK, co-founder Robert Lindström and senior producer Marcus Ivarsson will delve deep inside their favourite projects to and explain in detail how they were created."
Thanks for these fine words Jane! It is our debut lecture for D&AD but we have been in UK before. Actually, I did my absolute first lecture ever in London back in 2000, for Flash Forward.
However, if you are in London this spring, come and join us for a fun night.
For a couple of days ago I got my test prints for the FWA award certificates from a local print house, just to check the design. All new winners will receive these from FWA via post, starting January 2011, except for SOTD winners who will just get a pdf.
Old winners will also get these certificates. Rob Ford; "Initially, I think the certificates might be printed for all SOTY and PCA winners I can still get in touch with. For previous SOTM winners, I think it makes sense to send them a PDF which they can print from themselves."
The famous FWA digital award ribbons are vectorized and placed in the lower right corner.
Last week I was in New York for some interesting meetings and for the launch of our LG project (more about that later). I have been in contact with the great illustrator Celia Calle for many many years and now, finally I had a chance to meet her in NYC one night. We had a lot of interesting discussions over some wine. She encouraged me to start illustrate again and she was also so kind to give me her new book and one of her lovely prints (which fits my Designchapel very well :).
She made fun of me when I had so hard to find time for our date because of the LG launch.
Our fireplace have been in our foyer for a while, but it's first now we can call it done, when the surface has been missing the right touch.
To get the right style we first used signal red spray all over the plate. After the color dried, I used sandpaper and paint thinner to scrub away some color, owensoot to make it darker and dirtier and salt water to give the surface some rust.
The fireplace is actually working when we are using bio fuel in three small tanks under the surface.
The final result become pretty close to my rough 3D sketch, even if it looked pretty bad.
The installation at Skellefteå Airport is now built. It's a fantastic feeling to see how your sketches become reality and it looks as good as you hoped for. Skellefteå Snickericentral (SCC) have done an amazing work, they are great cabinetmaker! The whole thing will be launched next week so I keep my fingers crossed from New York where I'm right now, that everything turns out good! We still have some minor problems with the technology but I think everything will work smoothly. We will launch the web version and some documentary movies from the Airport within a week I hope.
The very first test of the screen on place. December 10th, 2010, at 12:38 AM. Mia Vallmark, Project Manager, stands in front of the for moment only blue screen, like a digital gateway..
WORK IN PROGRESS — This autumn I got an amazing assignment from Rob Ford at FWA; to design four prints for their awards.
The basic idea was to make something that would look good on your wall, and even better if you would have a collection. Rob Ford wanted to have a different award certificate for FWA, a vision I liked very much. However, the design have to be simple in a way, when it still is an award. You should be proud of it, and not feeling that you have a piece of art on the wall you maybe don't like. The typeface and the design are taken from the FWA digital award ribbons, which made me start thinking of knitting, which also looks like pixel art in a way. Both knitting and pixelart are just handcraft, which matched the idea perfect when the projects you see on FWA are filled with that
Some lines from the brief;
"They could all be the same format but with a slightly different colour style to resemble the level of award. I've attached all of the award ribbons in case they help in any way and I have also attached the FWA logo in eps format."
"I have thought in the past how it might be cool to have a 3D trophy image on the award certificate but I really have no requirements on the design style or idea. Of course, FWA is all about being progressive, original and innovative so I'm sure you will have that in mind anyway."
(The award would not come with a wooden frame btw, I just wanted to see how it would look like.)
The four certificates — SOTM (Site Of the Month, SOTY (Sity Of The Year), PC (People's Choice) and SOTD (Site Of The Day). I added some awards from us at North Kingdom to see how it could look like.
SOTM, SOTY and PC will be printed and sent over. SOTD will be available for downloading. Some test prints will be made next week.
— This post will shortly be updated.
A first rough body tracking test from out little lab project Woodbot Pilots. We have used a 82-inch display from Samsung, Unity 3 technology and a camera from a local Skellefteå company called Fotonic, who manufactures 3D cameras, based on time-of-flight (TOF) technology.
The difference between Xbox Kinect and our camera is that we are using TOF when Kinect is using a structured light and can maintain tracking through a range up to 3.6 meters when Fotonic have a max range of 7 meters. The Kinect sensor is built for use in living rooms and our camera has been optimised for industrial and demanding environments. Both cameras are using imaging CMOS sensors
The huge display was sent to Skellefteå today where we will finish the work within the next two weeks. More stuff will be posted soon.
Link to Vimeo.