Illustration and design for Hyresgästföreningen

It's always fun to be given relatively free hands on a project and for someone like me who loves to do it all (graphic design, art direction, illustration!), it was lovely to work with Hyresgästföreningen and Arenagruppen to make educational material for high school students in Sweden.

I wanted to make something that I would have been excited to pick up as an 8th-grader myself, as I remember that I always cringed at the sight of most of our books and educational materials in school because they were so badly designed (I guess/hope that it's a lot better nowadays, but still). The material is about housing today and historically, so I thought it would be nice to draw an inviting pastelly house pattern for the cover.

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The pattern was then used again in a different color setting on the introductory pages, and complemented with colorful vector graphics throughout the material.

I was thrilled to hear that shortly after it was made available online for teachers across the country to order, it made it straight to the top of the list of the most ordered educational materials. It makes me so happy to know that students all over the country are learning from something I designed, hopefully not cringeing over the bad design ;)

Best 2017 wall calendars

Hello 2017! You are very welcome. 2016 was a pretty crappy year – not for me personally (or businesswise – it's been my first year as a freelancer and it was fab!) but for the world. Lets put our hope and faith in 2017 instead.

A new year means a fresh start, and I'm loving it. It also means that it's time to invest in a new wall calendar! I've been faithful to Kikki K and their previously awesome family calendars for years, but this year the design just wasn't for me. So I had to look elsewhere. And boy, was that hard. How come there are so few fabulous wall calendars out there? Isn't it just the most practical thing in the world, to have everything written down, hanging on the kitchen wall for everyone in the family to see every day? I especially love those family calendars, where every family member is assigned a column of their own. Some days there are just too many preschool outings, soccer practices and drinks with friends (hehe – I wish!) occuring at the same time to be able to fit it all into one tiny square.

Naturally, I first turned to Etsy. But nicely designed family calendars where scarce. Instead I found this beauty – not a lot of space for each day, but very satisfying having the whole year displayed like that. It's from Snug Studio, ships from Germany (yay! no custom fees for me) and costs about $23.

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Doodlelove also has a nice one, but no family calendar. So I turned to the Swedish ones and found this pretty nice one by Kuviokioski at Nordic Design Collective. Which I was about to get, when I stumbled upon this:

How awesome is this?! I LOVE it! Beautifully designed in Germany by Annywho. But then... I put it in my basket and went to the checkout. And the shipping cost proved to be a whopping €15 for a €25 calendar. So I'm still hesitant. But it's a beauty, for sure...

Doodling therapy


Yesterday was kind of a crappy day. Sometimes it's not easy being your own. Especially when being a people pleaser at the same time, turning yourself inside out to be as helpful and accommodating as possible, and getting nothing in return. It's amazing how quickly people get used to you going out of your way to cater to their needs and deliver more than they actually pay for, and just start expecting it.

Anyhow, waking up this morning I thought this would be such a wasted day, since I knew it would be hard to get anything work related done. Then I just decided to take the day off and not even try to do any client work. Instead I made some coffee, heated up some saffron buns (don't tell my kids that I already finished nearly half of the buns we made for December...), lit loads of candles and got my pens and sketch books out.

Three hours of sketching, doodling and hand lettering later and I feel like a new person. The creative juices are flowing again and I actually feel excited to work on some other creative projects of my own. Doodling therapy is the shit!

I'm writing this to make myself remember this next time I fall into a slump like that. Putting a pen to paper and let it draw whatever comes up will definitely reset your brain into being creative again.

My podcast


My friend and fellow freelancer Mina and I recently started a (Swedish) podcast! It's about life in general, and freelance life in particular. We're both relatively new to freelancing, but experienced in what we do (Art Direction/design and Copywriting). We're also both mums of small children and relatively new converts to suburban house living. In the podcast we discuss everything from how we're dealing with freelance related problems to general freelance tips and the struggle of raising small kids while having a career as a freelance creative.

So Swedes, go listen on iTunes, Acast or on Frilansliv.com!

Wallpaper decisions

We moved into our house two years ago, from a small two bedroom apartment in the city. It’s one of those modern, white, boxy sugar cube houses and since it was newly built when we bought it, it was like a blank canvas inside with crispy white walls and wooden floors (oak?) in every room. Needless to say the furniture we owned looked a bit misplaced in this big empty space, but two years later we still haven’t bought a new, big sofa (do you realise how freakin expensive huge sofas are?) and we still have the same kitchen table that we built by ourselves.

But the most overlooked room in the house must be my daughter’s. She basically has a bed and some storage boxes for her toys stacked on the floor. And there’s a guest bed (with a boring, white bed spread) in there as well. No carpet, nothing.

Because she likes to play downstairs where the rest of the family is, or sometimes in her brother’s room when he’s up to it, we haven’t gotten around to decorating her room. But as she’s getting bigger (turning four in February!) she’s started hanging around in there, rummaging around in her toy boxes, and it feels like it’s definitely time to start making her space cozier and more play friendly!

I thought I’d start with the boring white walls, and I’m torn between paint and wallpaper. But once I started researching what’s out there I was amazed at all the wallpaper options. Being Swedish my mind instantly turns to Ferm Living when it comes to kids wallpaper. I almost bought their minty green cloud wallpaper, but I’m kind of tired of it already since it’s featured in every single interior decoration magazine, blog and Instagram account out there… Another less exposed Ferm Living wallpaper is the confetti range, which I love (little sparkling pieces of gold confetti!), but I’m unsure of the colors, they seem a bit too dark.

Ferm Living Clouds wallpaper

Ferm Living Clouds wallpaper

Ferm Living Confetti Wallpaper

Ferm Living Confetti Wallpaper

I’ve always been fascinated by waves and especially painted Japanese wave patterns. So i browsed around Pinterest and actually found really beautiful wallpaper ones! They’re amazing - but will it be a bit too much and feel messy for the eye? Maybe not!

Cole & Sons also have the beautiful Melville wallpaper, with gorgeous waves and wales. I saw them live in a store and they’re shimmering beautifully. Beige might feel too boring, but green..?

Finally, I stumbled upon this AWESOME Canadian company called Anewall. They make the most beautiful wallpapers and murals. How about this cactus wallpaper?!

This watercolor mural is also amazing.

I initially jumped for joy thinking this was it! I would be able to find the PERFECT wallpaper here. But then I discovered that they don’t ship wallpapers to Europe… (plus they’re a bit pricey, and even if they did ship here it would probably cost too much, with the shipping cost and the damn customs). But now I can’t stop thinking about this cactus wallpaper. Is it hard to make your own wallpaper…? :)

Wes Anderson <3

Being an Art Director this is not exactly dropping a bombshell – but I love Wes Anderson. Love, love, love. I clearly remember the first time I watched an Anderson movie (The Life Aquatic) and my jaw just dropped. Earlier I had been very fascinated with Baz Luhrmann's theatrical films and their beautiful scenography, but this was something else. Everything just felt... well, perfect. And not perfect in a boring, tidy way - but perfect in an aesthetically pleasing way, totally different from any other films I had ever seen. I was just totally amazed at how perfect everything worked together, from the colours to the props (down to the tiniest details) to the storyline and the dialogue.

At the time I wasn't even a designer by trade. In my heart, yes, but professionally I had just landed my first real job in marketing (which lasted for 1.5 horrible years before I realised I was meant to do something else). In retrospect, one might say that his films made me realise that I just HAD to get into a creative field. 

Now, luckily my husband also really likes Wes (would we even be married otherwise? Hmm...) but I think I might just have filled my quota of Wes Anderson themed posters. Too bad there are just so many beautiful ones out there! Here are a few that I wouldn't mind hanging on our walls...

Moonrise Kingdom painting by Roland the Illustrator on Society6

Moonrise Kingdom painting by Roland the Illustrator on Society6

The Life Aquatic poster by Heather Buchanan on Society6

The Life Aquatic poster by Heather Buchanan on Society6

The Grand Budapest Hotel painting by SanMartinArtsCrafts at Etsy

The Grand Budapest Hotel painting by SanMartinArtsCrafts at Etsy

Rullebo identity

Oh my goodness, I've just been super busy for the last weeks. Just waking up, getting the kids ready and dropping them off, driving home, opening the computer (such an unnecessary time consuming step to actually turn it on and off), work work work like a maniac, picking the kids up, cooking dinner (while still working if possible), eating in front of the computer, putting the kids to bed, work work work, collapse in bed. Repeat.

Sigh. Must catch my breath.

Anywho... It's all good, since the projects I've been working on are all super fun! They all made me think "now, THIS is what I should be doing!". Me loves identity projects. Especially if the client is awesome and gives me relatively free hands and actually trusts my judgement. Yay for awesome clients!

Here's some pics of the first identity project (out of three that I've been working on simultanously) – Rullebo, awesome tiny houses on wheels!

The copy is in Swedish and translates to something like: House. Haven. 

I really like the hand made feel of the letters. These tiny wooden houses are really well made out of quality materials and it felt nice to channel that. With some imagination you could picture the little "u" and "o" as the wheels, and there's a roof on top of course. This solution only came to me after hours and hours of sketching little pictogram houses to use as a symbol above the name. Sometimes you're just not seeing the obvious.

To complement the basic black/white/wood I added a birch bark texture and a brown recycled paper texture to use throughout the identity, where applicable. Below are some brochure sketches (using sketch photos found online just for look and feel, as we're about to shoot our own).

Also, I put up a temporary website that I designed in Squarespace. It will hopefully be replaced by an awesome big site with great photos soon... Stay tuned for that at rullebo.com

Sign perfection


Have you ever seen such PERFECT number signs? Everytime I browse my Pinterest Display & Signage board I have to stop and gaze in awe at these awesome wire numbers. Today I clicked the link for the first time, only to discover that they're actually designed by Swedes - yay, go Sweden! 

Erik Olovsson and Kyuhyung Cho are the super talented designers. You can buy them here. I might just have to update our boring house numbers to a minty green pair of these.

Oh, and there are letters too! How gorgeous?

Workspace plans

This is my current workspace. My kitchen table. And I hardly recognize it like this, because it's always covered with paper piles, brush pens, notebooks, coffee mugs, sunglasses, books and what have you. People who have worked with me will testify: my desk is never the tidiest (it's probably the messiest of all the desks in the office, actually).

We built the kitchen table ourselves (well, I designed it and Rasmus did the actual building). Chairs are Eames DSR, big poster from danish art museum Louisiana, square forest poster: Thordis Kayma on Society6, Wes Anderson posters (the Life Aquatic and the Grand Budapest Hotel) by Concepcionstudios on Etsy

We built the kitchen table ourselves (well, I designed it and Rasmus did the actual building). Chairs are Eames DSR, big poster from danish art museum Louisiana, square forest poster: Thordis Kayma on Society6, Wes Anderson posters (the Life Aquatic and the Grand Budapest Hotel) by Concepcionstudios on Etsy

Anyways, there are two reasons that I sit here and work. I actually invested in a desk, a huge screen and a Wacom board when I started freelancing, but just two weeks in I got a shoulder inflammation (due to sitting in an awkward position while working on my Wacom board at a client's office) and since then I've found that it's easier on the shoulder to work on the laptop with my elbow close to my body. The other reason is that I bought a desk that was way too small. It is a perfect fit for the small hallway which I had originally planned to use as an office space, but it can barely fit the screen and Wacom board, leaving almost no room for the keyboard or the laptop – not to mention all the papers, notebooks, coffe cups etc. My mistake...

Lisabo desk from IKEA (which actually looks awesome and I love it, apart from the size issue), Snille office chair from IKEA (the cheapest adjustable office chair I could find, as an intermediate solution while saving up for one of them fancy kick ass chairs), utterly awesome Cross Blanket from Pia Wallén (that I allowed myself to splurge on when staging our city apartment for sale, and I'm so happy that I did!)

Lisabo desk from IKEA (which actually looks awesome and I love it, apart from the size issue), Snille office chair from IKEA (the cheapest adjustable office chair I could find, as an intermediate solution while saving up for one of them fancy kick ass chairs), utterly awesome Cross Blanket from Pia Wallén (that I allowed myself to splurge on when staging our city apartment for sale, and I'm so happy that I did!)

So I stationed myself at the kitchen table. 

But this temporary solution has got to stop. I really need to find a way to work on the Wacom board without straining my shoulder, and I need a bigger office space with actual shelves, drawers and desk space enough to be able to work comfortably (and I also need to stop being the super annoying wife who keeps leaving half her office on the kitchen table). So I've decided to make our (pretty tiny) storage room slash dressing room into an office! 

Now, this would be a total dream project, if I actually had some money put aside for things like this. But since this is my first year freelancing and I just took two months off for summer holidays, I don't have the luxury of decorating it just the way I want to (and I know EXACTLY what I would do to get a totally dreamy office space! Just check out my Pinterest account). But if I want to be positive I can tell myself that it will be a "fun" challange to decorate an office space with as little money as possible... 

Here's the tiny space, that we've been using as a storage room. It's really small, but at least it's got a window!

Here's the tiny space, that we've been using as a storage room. It's really small, but at least it's got a window!

Before I realised exactly how little money I could put aside for this project I bought one roll of Emma von Brömssen's beautiful dancing cranes wallpaper. Hopefully that will be enough for the wall opposite the door, so that it will be the first thing I see when I enter the office every morning!

Beautiful blue handpainted dancing cranes!

Beautiful blue handpainted dancing cranes!

Golden shoe procrastination

I'm working on a new branding project and just entered the second stage of the creative process, which is the "oh my god, I don't have any ideas, my head is blank" stage (preceded by the "woohoo, such a fun new project, let's do this!" stage, and followed by the "I am a fraud, I have to quit designing" stage) so naturally I spent the first hour (or two...) of the day googling for gold shoes. 

I have to to find the perfect pair of gold shoes. Can't stop thinking about it. So far, I've found a few candidates, but I'm not convinced any of them are THE ones. Also, not sure if I want laced shoe-shoes or sneakers (obviously I want both, but since I can't really afford one pair at this stage, until I finish this branding project at least, two pairs would really be a stretch). 

food photography <3

I love freelancing, but I do miss certain things that I was able to do more of while being an Art Director at a medium sized advertising agency here in Stockholm. Several of our clients were food related companies like Arla, Sweden's number one dairy company, and I loved planning and directing photo shoots and collaborating with some of the best food photographers (and, added bonus: there was often leftover props to munch on!).

Below is a photo from an Arla photo shoot, snapped by the awesome Bengt O Pettersson. While it took us ages to get the milk coloured in the exact nuances I was after, I love the final foggy pastels together with the crisp, clear glass bottles.

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And below another image from the same photo shoot. When our production manager Lisa returned from a meeting, ecstatic about the awesome cookies we would be shooting I thought yeah well, how great can a cookie be? Well, other cookies don't even deserve to be placed in the same category as theese INSANELY delicious american giant cookies, signed Gustav Mabrouk. I still dream about these babies. Did I mention that you get to munch on the props afterwards..? :)

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