The Workbench: objects that inspire me.

Written on 2013-08-01

This is my entry to Zander Brade’s ebook The Workbench. It contains small interviews posing short questions to the world’s best designers about their work and process.

Question: Shapes are a big part of your work - in everyday life, are there any objects or tools you use that inspire you and transfer into your work?

I have a love for sturdy tools of good quality, that lack unnecessary features and details. They don’t have to be expensive (they often aren’t), and using them will tell me that they are made by people with a love and passion for creating the very best product possible.

Using and looking at great designed products gives me a pleasant stirring feeling in my gut; it is something magical that is hard to explain. It is the right combination of how it looks, how it feels in your hands, and how easy it is to achieve its purpose, that makes an object or tool a joy to use. In sweating the small details the producers of these products have made something extraordinary, that has become an essential tool in my life. Or, as one of my heroes put it:

“Design is not just what it looks and feels like. Design is how it works.”

Steve Jobs

My Pentel GraphGear 1000 mechanical pencil is a great tool. It is made of sturdy aluminum and it has just the perfect heavy weight, great for sketching logos. The massive pocket clip at the end can be pressed, which activates a spring loaded retraction system that retracts the tip of the pencil, to stop it from getting damaged when traveling. Clicking the pocket clip feels and sounds very pleasant. I guess I am one of those people that enjoys pushing, switching, and turning knobs and buttons just because they sound and feel nice.

I have a Sweden-made Rapid 1 plier stapler, and it is a beast: made from heavy chrome plated metal, and staples up to 50 sheets at a time. It looks and feels like an industrial tool from the 40’s. No unnecessary fluff, just bare essentials. It seriously makes me want to staple stuff all day.

Then there is my iPhone 4 (yes, I should upgrade). The design is just perfect: a pleasant shape, no unnecessary details, and buttons that feel great to use. The glass and aluminum make the phone a pleasure to hold, and it just looks so much better than those feeble plastic phones the competitors make. But the phone is also great to use, the Retina screen is amazing, I will never want something else. The software is very user-friendly, my daughter has been using my iPhone and iPad all by herself since she was one and a half years old.

As a logo designer, I don’t make something that is touched or physically used everyday. However, I aim to make my logos meaningful, sturdy, and simple, hoping for that same magical feeling for those that look at it. I hope my logos give people a feeling of joy and appreciation, because they are well designed. Whatever the brand and target group, just the design of the logo itself should make people think: “Dang, that is clever and it looks great”.