Sweden has one of the most multi-faceted design industries in the world. From a land with approximately 9 million inhabitants there is such a great depth and diversity in our design and creative outputs that it makes my counterparts in other countries a little jealous of just how creative we are as a nation. So it's only right that I be a little bit excited about SwedishDesign.org and the reasoning behind its development - to showcase and promote even more Swedish design internationally. For it gives me even more of an opportunity to be a little vocal about how much talent we have active today and also show everyone the legacy of Swedish design history.
We started this long journey 16 months ago, working with our partners at Centre for Business History, Stockholm (CBHS), to make this site really logical in how it works. From the point of view of someone visiting the site to flick through great Swedish design and from the viewpoint of someone becoming a user we hope that it feels like you've been here before - like an old friend.
Two sign in options
For the user, we wanted it to be quick to get throught the registration process, the from start to finish it takes around two minutes if you really want to be quick - if you're on your coffee break perhaps. From there you can spend as much or as little time as you want enticing viewers to see your work. There's two main sign in options, the first for bigger companies and individuals - who want to really go to town and show our audience what they're capable of. The other is more suited to those who are just starting out on their journey in this great industry.
For the visitor we wanted a site that's quick to navigate. Something which you can dip in and out of throughout the day; on the bus to work, maybe during a presentation to show colleagues some great Swedish design, or find a specific designer or item quickly.
We feel that the site is going to operate like a jumping off point for Swedish design. It's not a comprehensive, sprawling mass of information and super-lengthy articles - there are plenty of other sites and magazines doing that job perfectly well. What we're trying to do is to collate as much of Sweden's creativity in one place, so that people can get a quick snapshot of what's happening, who's pushing things forward and then travel off in search of more - perhaps from the websites of the designers exciting them as a viewer.
In English only
You'll have noticed that SwedishDesign.org is written in English throughout, again for the sole reason that it's what Sweden's design industry needs collectively - to promote itself confidently internationally in a way most people can understand. Given that Swedish is a hard language and that Swedes do have an excellent grasp of English it's a logical decision. It also means that a designer with work on SwedishDesign.org has a fantastic chance to be spotted by the international press, distributors, suppliers and open up new market opportunitues.
One important thing though is that everyone has the same opportunities to see and to be seen. That famous Swedish level hierarchy. Young, old, established and emerging work all seen in the same place and with no bias placed in any specific direction.
"A Better Life Through Good Design"
At Svensk Form we work under the motto: A Better Life Through Good Design. I hope tha,t as this site flourishes, more people around the world will see the many ways that design benefits our lives and codes of existance and that, when it comes to positive creative thinking, Sweden is a land in our motto is relevant throughout its creators and companies.
So, it's with pleasure that I welcome you to SwedishDesign.org. We're excited to see how you'll use it.
Ewa Kumlin, Managing Director Svensk Form