The Swedish Factor

* 2 min read

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From the Vikings, to Abba to The Bridge, we Brits have long been influenced by our Scandinavian neighbours. It goes on. After the hype surrounding the Danish trend Hygge, 2017 started with an equally noisy fanfare for its Swedish successor, Lagom. 

Hygge was all about cosy contentment. The simple pleasures of soft knitwear, scented candlelight, hot chocolate, marshmallows and the like were a welcome refuge from the frenetic pace of the world around us. Lagom, on the otherhand, is a much more holistic approach to dealing with the problem of overload and to finding balance and happiness in life. 

Lagom, which happens to be a Viking word, means ‘not too much, not too little – just right’ Its philosophy of moderation applies to just about everything: your work/life balance, the size of your house, your environmental footprint through to the toys you buy for your children. Fashion is elegant but not overstated, meals are made with simple ingredients prepared beautifully, design is functional, stylish, sustainable. It’s not hard to understand the appeal to us in 2017.

And what of Lagom’s influence in our world of brand and packaging? Swedish design has been synonymous with pared back simplicity and beautiful aesthetics for generations. Contour Home is a lovely concept example of packaging and retail space design that honours the product while telling its story with clarity, honesty and beauty. However, Lagom influenced design moves beyond the aesthetic, adding wit and intelligence born out of the 

product truth. Just last month, soft drinks brands Charitea and Lemonaid launched with packs that express the sincerity of the message through an intelligent typographic twist that reflects the brand idea. 

Lagom influenced design is not about stripping things back to a minimum; it’s about creating a layer of emotional enrichment, simply expressed. Body and Soul brand Granit launched a range of soaps and lotions with the promise of ‘time out’ playfully embedded in the design idea. The design literally creates the visual pause. Every part of the visual space works to deliver the spiritual benefit.

Lagom is about being measured and considerate, creating a happy balance in all things. That thoughtfulness is expressed so beautifully through Fitzroy rum’s stunning sustainable bottle tops made from coca cola wrappers washed up on Dutch beaches. Consumerism is recycled into the solution. It’s all just right. Nothing should cost the earth.

The art of paring back, distilling a message until it is just right is, of course, not new. It’s been a principle of good branding for a very long time even if it’s not always followed!  Lagom captures this. It’s not about design essentialism.  The appeal comes from its emotional intelligence; finding the joy at the heart of every brand and allowing what’s important to stand out.

The Lagom trend may pass the way of Hygge but, for the moment, it’s good to see a consumer trend that’s so in tune with best design practice.

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Image(s) sources: The Dieline, Ikea, Vogue, Lemonaid, Granit and Fitzroy Rum.