Lundgren+Lindqvist has quickly become one of the highly regarded bureaus in Scandinavia with their strong grid based work. I was lucky enough to get an interview with them about their take on web design, and their design philosophy.


Who are Lundgren+Lindqvist, and why did you start your own bureau?

Lundgren+Lindqvist are Anders Friberg Lundgren (Partner/Art Director), Carl-Johan Lindqvist (Partner/Web Developer) and Anton Andersson (Graphic Designer). In some periods we are more people, depending on what fits the current project. We often collaborate with photographers, system architechts and sometimes with bigger advertising agencies.

Lundgren+Lindqvist are a strategic design and development bureau, who’s services include identity design, design for print, web design and development. We work with clients in a wide range of branches and from different parts of the world. Renowned customers include multinational companies like Apple, Sony Music, American Express and Ericsson. We also do boutique-projects for smaller clients, often within other creative disciplines like photographers, architechts, fashion designers etc.

We started our own bureau much because of coincidences. Andreas and Carl-Johan studied English together at the University of Gothenburg, and were both freelance designers in the spare time. When we were finished studying, we got a offer to rent studio space by some friends of ours in a music studio. After working there for a couple of weeks, we realized that we complemented each other very well. And from then on, it all came together, and we started the bureau, got new office space and concluded that we should pursue this. Now, five years later, we can look back and confirm we made the right decision. In connection with the growth of our customers and size of the projects, we too had to grow. We recently hired Anton, who previously studied graphic design in London and Malmö.

Oskar Kullander

Oskar Kullander, 2011

Your website says: “We embrace the constantly evolving Possibilities of digital design, and approach web design with the same attention to detail as we do in print.” How do you embrace the potential and possibilities of digital design, in relation to print?

For a long time, the potential of digital design was very limited, both by hardware as software, especially browsers. As it becomes less and less restrictions like these, the possibilities to create attractive graphic form on the internet has significantly increased. Today we have come considerably closer to the techincal conditions necessary to achieve the same degree of execution on digital design as print design.

The foremost advantage of digital design vs. print design are that we can digitally adapt the content for the recievers unique viewing conditions. In printed media, you are always limited to a certain format, but in digital media you can adapt the design according to the users resolution, language and similar prerequisite. These possibilites, on the other hand, sets high requirements on the structuring of content, and it’s not always that the project fits solutions which i.e. adapts to the screen resolution.

Many times, it’s rather favorable to limit the design, so the content stands out as much as possible. For us, it’s most important that the form lifts the content, so that it’s always in focus. That attitude follows us, no matter if we design for digital media or for print.

You are a team, where Andreas is listed as Art Director and Carl-Johan as Web Developer. Are you working together all the way through the finished web solutions, or do you have a collaborative idea and concept process before you start working separately? And when in the creative process do you start thinking about web design?

We begin all projects together, and work closely interwined throughout the process. That said, we have the main responsibility for various phases of a project, but sees a big gain in the synergies that arise when we discuss form based on a functional perspective and vice versa.

If a project includes website design, we have this with ous from when we start planning. In branding projects that includes both print and web design it’s important to take all the aspects into consideration during each phase of the project when the sum of the parts is what eventually becomes the whole.

We do the idea generation process on our web solutions together, and in this phase we try to think as little as possible on what specific techniques to be used or exactly how something should look. Most important is the feeling we want to convey to the recipient and, how we get there.

PAP Accessories

PAP Accessories, 2010

In a typical work process, how much work you put in strategic thinking? Is a strategic analysis is important for what kind of web solution you choose?

The initial analysis phase for a project is absolutely essential to us. By allowing a significant proportion of the total project period for research and planning, we save time in other phases of the project and reches almost certainly a stroinger end result. Strategy for us includes both discussions internally, and with our customers. We get to know the client’s target audience and market, and outlines the possible scenarios in which the project’s deliverables will be used. The result of the strategic phase might as well be a picture of what we not should do, as opposed to what we should do. We always want what we deliver to exceed customers expectations, and often challenge their conventions about how their company should be presented.

Who motivates you within web design? Is it pure web designers, or do you get inspiration from traditional graphic design – and the transfer it to digital media? Would love to hear a little about why strong grid based solutions are often represented in your works.

Rather than being motivated by specific designers and studios, we are driven by an idea of how information should be presented to best convey it’s message. We prefer well structured, unvarnished solutions, which you cleary can see in the jobs we do. In this view we make no distinction between print and digital media, although some adjustments must be made. If the project is text and picture based, it’s likely to have a editorial expression. We have long been influenced by the Swiss form traditions, and their quest for neutrality and clarity by parting with ornamentation and using a strict grid based asymmetry. With that said, we see a clear reaction to the abscense of physical objects (CDs, to some extent books etc.), which is replaced with digital substitutes. This has lead to a form that has a more distinct human touch. An example of this can be seen in the print industry, where letterpress and other, previously considered outdated, printing techniques have had a huge boost.

We try to, by general curiosity, to take in influences from various sources and not look too much at what other designers are doing.

We try to, by general curiosity, to take in influences from various sources and not look too much at what other designers are doing.

S.C.J., 2010

Do you believe in new techniques such as CSS3 (especially media queries) and responsive web design? Or do you think that a good mobile website must be tailored?

CSS3 and media queries are very useful techniques, which in the right context works well for creating responsive web design in smaller projects. Larger sites, however, we believe that you have to customize, because it’s not just the design that needs to be adapted to the device, but also the content.

Traditionally, many graphic designers are skeptical to web design, often because of the amount of technology, and that web design feels a bit new and strange. What skills do a graphic designer need to create good websites? Are skills in coding/programming necessary?

Graphic designers long had reason to be skeptical to web design, because until recently there were few opportunities for good graphic design on the web. Problems in the transmission of flat sketches into a working website was the rule rather than the exception when programmers without any understanding of graphic design would transfer sketches to the web. With these conditions, it is no wonder that many designers and photographers long saw Flash as the best option, since it at least looked the same in all browsers.

Today, conditions have changed, and with the many new technologies that emerged in recent years, web design made great strides. As a result, many talented designers choose to focus on web design, which in turn has led to more programmers now have a better understanding of graphic design.

To build complete websites is usually a team effort, and requires that everyone in the group has a understanding and an eye for good form for it to be really good. However, this does not mean that everyone must be able to use all the different tools. A graphic designers does not need programming knowledge to design a good website, but it requires an understanding and knowledge of how web design is different from traditional graphic design. Choices you as a designer must do differ between different media, but the ultimate goal to convey an emotion, a message or information to the reciever, is the same. This calls for an understanding of how your choices affect the experience for the visitor.