We chat with Swedish studio Snask on hating heights and having enemies

Published:  December 9, 2014

Brought together by bad Christmas costumes and their Swedish nationalities, Snask found each other while at an art school party in the north of England. We spoke to founder and creative director, Fredrik Öst, about making super-sized things with a smile.

Make Enemies & Gain Fans book

Set in a chronological order that follows the studio’s first three years in the industry, Make Enemies & Gain Fans is a guide to “creative entrepreneurship.” Snask explain, “making enemies is very important for brands. It helps customers distinguish who you are as well as the competitors — Pepsi vs Coca Cola, Apple vs Microsoft etc. Winston Churchill once said ‘You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life,’ and we think that’s a brilliant quote… Having enemies also helps you identify yourself. You’re namely the opposite of your worst enemy.”

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Malmö Festival 2014 poster and installation

When asked to make a poster, the studio made an expansive typographic artefact with a physical footprint of 13 by 9 metres, in order to create the imagery. A hefty handful to say the least, Snask “had to photograph it 30 meters up in the air”, despite being wary of heights. Fredrik says, “Kerning the typography was basically me up in the skylift (shitting my pants) screaming down to Jens — superstar designer at Snask — to move 100kg letters ‘to the left, to the left.’ Not knowing how 3 cm, from my angle 30 metres up, would translate to the ground.” Faced with the challenge of racing against the clock to capture a shadow headed in just the right direction, “We had to calculate where the sun would be at midday and then start working at 6 am… from then on we would have 3 hours to get it right.”

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Swedish Social Democratic Youth League campaign identity

In preparation for this years election, the studio were given the opportunity to rebrand the youth league of Sweden’s biggest political party, Social Democrats, describing the experience as “honourable”. They aspired to create something that would be “modern and fresh… without feeling childish.” To top off a job-well-done, “the election ended with Social Democrats winning and taking back power after eight years in opposition.”

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Swedish Handicraft members identity

“What’s most interesting about this project is that their members were dying, literally.” Luring an audience with a gaping age difference, the rebranding came about as hipsters were falling over themselves to ‘make their own stuff’ — “Build your own bike, bake your own bread, pickle your own onion, build your own furniture, sew your own shirt etc.” — urging the studio to start off “with [Swedish craft's] heritage 100 years back” then modernising “everything from colours to typography,” without losing the legacy of “handmade knowledge” that had been passed across generations.

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Printing Friends magazine

Working with Danagård LiTHO Printers, the studio rebranded the 7th edition of Printing Friends and “turned it into something extremely modern and design related.” With a firm grip on the new visual direction, the first updated issue was set to explore the theme of ‘Travels’ — to put it plainly, Snask produced “the whole magazine, hired journalists and designed the crap out of it.”

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3 Responses

  1. Solomon

    Everything these guy do looks good but the same. That is not challenging the world of design!

    • Emily

      Really? It looks like each time they are pushing a brief beyond the business card / stationery applications, into 3D, public space, and generally ‘fun’ areas. They appear to be excellent advocates to the inclusive and cheerful impact design can have!

    • Julian

      Boo Solomon! I cant believe you can look at that bright playful work and come out with a frown on your face :)

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