Grand Classic revisited

“It’s an exclusive design competition – Per-Ole, we would like to invite you to join”. Intriguing, don’t you think? The invitation was from Gyldendal, Denmarks biggest, most prestigious publisher.

It got better. The subject was none less than a redesign of the grandmother of all Danish cook books, “Frøken Jensens kogebog”. If you form a sentence involving classic Danish food, the chance of mentioning Miss Jensen is about 1 to 1.

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I was excited. For a bit. Then I got nervous. Who was in the competition? … I researched all the publishers freelance designers and narrowed it down to a sizeable group. It looked grim. Skilled designers on board. Some of them former in-house folks. I’m always ready to compete on skills, but on the relational? I was way behind. It had been more than 10 years since I had created with managing director Lise Nestelsø.

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Then, I got competitive. I submitted biweekly design process documents, for the team to follow my research, sketches and preliminary ideas. I got feed-back on the go, analyzed the existing and former versions in detail. Meanwhile, I grabbed any occasion for more phone meetings, to hone in on the projects aspirations and limitations. I jumped into a maelstrom of ideas and executed like a kamikaze pilot. Deadline was grinding against my forehead, adrenaline pumping.

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Weeks of excited anticipation followed. I knew, my chances were slim. Still: I had a blast doing this. I was, honestly, quite honored for the invitation in the first place. This is the cookbook my grandmother, Rena Lind snr. absolutely loved.

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I had a few cards on hand. A textile + gold foil simple / classic, a classic porcelain inspired Indigo on damask table cloth pattern background and a fun, folksy frying pan iconic design on red-checkered background.

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I had tested numerous typeface combinations, to ensure a careful balance between traditional and fresh. If you go all-classic, you end up with old hat. If you push the innovation-button too hard, you miss the mark. I had to make it look classic, yet new. Express the grand story that the book withholds, while exciting new generations.

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One thing was in place: the interior. My analysis was in check. The existing design had forth-running layout, all recipes running one one after the other in two columns. I had tested 14 pages worth of a dynamic layout instead, splicing up ingredients, recipes and headlines and found that the page economy could handle it:

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And a version with brown ink on beige paper. Brown ink, baby.

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I fanatically checked my email. Inbox-silence. Eventually, my confidence dropped. No word so close to national holiday. Oh, well. It was still a blast to give it a shot, and … Oh, an email from the editor … Hmm … ambiguous … Oh, another one: I read it 4 times: I got the gig. My competitors had gone either too classic or to innovative. I had, in the editor, Ulla Selfort‘s words “managed to bridge the two”.

A month later, I submitted an updated process-document, based on the first feed-back:

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The old-school logo on damask had most traction. For the interior, brown ink on natural paper. Silver foil: Optional. The cutlery icon as a branding element got some attention.

500+ pages of forth running recipes to be carefully dissected and rearranged. 1200+ recipes.

As the layout progressed, it became clear that cover did not match the interior design. Blue on white against brown on beige? … Not exactly integrated design. Imagine a stately classic blue Mercedes. Would beige interior work? Absolutely. Indigo on damask had the right Grandmother feel.

Yet, great design grows from content. And in this case, the calm care of the recipes, not decades but a century of testing in the kitchen. It was also clear, that indigo was too much a remake of the previous publication. This one needed it’s own voice. The answer was in the icon.

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Silver cutlery on discrete damask simply made sense. The color for the type carried over from the interior. 53 versions of the typography was tested, before this handheld, rounded version held over.

The final result:

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Bonus: Tests of logo designs, final stage:

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National treasure

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Rarely do you get to promote a nation. Rarely are you asked to do a logotype, that signifies a country. Rarely, do you get to design for royalty, but in this case, it was nothing less. After this project, I could easily retire, saying I’ve done my bid for my country, my future king and my trade.

(But yes, you guessed it: I love what I do, so no I won’t stop just yet).

Below is the process from sketches through mock-ups to final product. As presented behind the Japanese Emperor Family, the Greenland Prime Minister and the Royal Danish family.

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A1 Poster Design

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Façade Design, embassy front

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Postcard Design

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Event Backdrop

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Logotype

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Logotype integrated with official Greenland Icon

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Japanese curtain design (Noren)

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Signpost Design

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How to design a logo for a brand that specializes in property protection?

Not much room for flourescent colors and trendy typeface there. What you want is solid, trustworthy and four-wheel driven.

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A favorite classic typeface of mine would shape the main letters. (Notice the curves in the S correspond with the C). The sans serif PROTECT was redrawn to stand stronger and tighter. (Notice how the last T has it’s left wing is shortened).

A well-balanced mini site with slides, animation and retina-ready details, got the company of to a decent start.

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Logotype, long version.

 

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Color palette.

 
The project included brand-questionnaire, drafts for taglines, various drafts for icons and logotypes, gradually presented in a progress transparent document.
 
 

Danish Furniture

The brief: Provide a concept that promotes Danish Furniture intuitively displaying the new generation of Danish furniture designers.

Problem: The contemporary Danish furniture designers are standing in the shadow of the mid century masters.

Rephrase: Design a poster that weaves in the new generation with the old in an integrated visual language.

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To keep things simple we decided on crisp outline illustration plus pop art-inspired graphics. The portraits were hand drawn in nearly full size to provide richness in the detail and poster-size optical impact.

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QR codes ensured high user interactivity and traceable user data.

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Client: The Royal Danish Embassy, Tokyo.

The Poster in progress:

Big Green

“Make a green consultancy look like Wall Street”

Solution: Combine authority and approachability:

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Tagline: “Green Energy without Red Numbers”

Updated tagline: “Greener Every Day” … The company soon included water-saving devices to their portfolio, why the tagline needed to get beyond “Energy” only.

Early process web draft:

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Visit the website here

Ingsil Energy is a Green Consultancy Business, that specializes in guiding customers to save while going green. Ingsil Energy placed an order on a Brand Elements Package that includes research, questionnaire, creative process, icon and logotype design, web-site, mail graphics, business cards and digital letterhead.

Here’s how Ingsil Energy received the project 2.0:

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Victorian Typograffiti

“Lind’s design turned out to be perfect in all kinds of unexpected ways”

Metro Pulse, July 24, 2013

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Design Contest: Create an interstate mural design with clear regional and historical references.

Rephrase: Design iconic logotypes for the surrounding neighborhoods using South Eastern wood block typeface and Victorian colors and wood cut illustration.

Conceptual presentation:

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It’s a Community thing: More than 70 volunteers from the surrounding neighborhoods made the artwork come alive:

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The finished result:

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As covered in the press:

Eleanor Scott in MetroPulse

Terry Shaw for Knox News

Photo: Knoxville Mayor visits

Amy McRary in Knoxnews

Letter from a resident – MetroPulse

Visit Knoxville

Official FB page – see the whole process

Design for a Champion

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Karsten Blauert spotted Mette while she was still building her reputation at Cafe Glyptoteket in Copenhagen’s winter garden. Little did I know, that I was going to be involved in a cookbook that would flip things on the Danish dessert scene. Far less so, that I would be on a constant feed of giggles and delicacies for the next 3 months.

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But that was not it. It was her personality. No photo shoot without cramps of laughter and red ears from the constant flow of tease from this remarkable connoisseur and European patisserie Champion. Even Mr. Blauert left crimson-cheeked every time. For the first book, we hired food photography master, Columbus Leth.

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Remarkably, Mette returned to me 6 years later. I had been off the radar during my time in Tokyo. Now I was in Switzerland, breathing a bit. Still. She wanted me on board for her next book, despite sensible recommendations from editor Ulla Mervild. I was with Ulla. “Mette, I’m in the Alps, studying art theory, and … ” She responded: “I understand, if you don’t have time. But I want you on board. No discussion“.

I found time. It was a ride. The editor did a splendid job, despite my whereabouts. Highly acclaimed food photographer Lars Ranek did his magic.

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Logo, window-display and other elements soon followed.

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Blomsterberg facade

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