PERNICLAS BEDOW — Interview
Perniclas Bedow, founder and creative director of the Stockholm based design studio Bedow.
Hello Perniclas Bedow how are you?
Hi there, very good thanks! Spring has come to Sweden and I am on my way to Gothenburg to see IFK Göteborg play the national football cup final.
Can you introduce yourself?
I am the founder and creative director of Bedow – a small Stockholm based design studio with three employees celebrating ten years this year. I started the studio in 2005 trying to make a living after a few years as employed in the advertising industry.
Where does your interest in graphic design come from?
In the mid 90’s my parents bought a personal computer and a 28.8 modem and I started exploring Internet and html. After high school I got a job at Nintendo in Sweden and the opportunity to manage their website. That was the first time I came in contact with graphic design — before that I didn’t really know there were a profession called graphic designer. I was 19 and for the upcoming years most of my spare time was spent on trying out Photoshop and Fontographer.
How did you come to start up the studio?
In 2001 the dot com bubble bursted and the year after I had to go from the advertising agency I worked for. I applied for a job at some design agencies here in Stockholm, but I had a weak portfolio and most of the agencies didn’t even reply. I moved to Berlin, travelled for some months and studied a year at Stockholm University before I realized that my only chance to work within graphic design was to start on my own.
What are the key features of your design?
I would say that our ambition to be understandable is a strong feature. I have never looked at graphic design as art and I think design should answer questions rather than ask them.
Can you tell us more about the monograph you designed for the Swedish artist Martin Ålund?
The design of Martin’s book is not very spectacular. I see art books as objects that shall be around for a hundred years so we try to stay away from trends. It makes me sad to see books that were hot five years ago and now feels outdated. We try to be quiet without being boring — after all the artist is the singer and we’re just the guy in the background trying to keep the rhythm.
What’s the idea behind the Polyester identity?
It’s very simple — type constructed out of code. This kind of solution is something we often tend to end up with — we create type out of elements from the client’s business. Type out of code for a front-end developer, type out of pie charts for a finance app, type out of city environments for landscape architects. It’s not unique, but it often results in an “aha moment” for the viewer and I think that is a good way of communicating.
What would you recommend to a young designer?
I wanna inform them that they are valuable, that design agencies won’t survive without them and that they shall expect to be treated well by their employer. I also wanna inform them that graphic design is a part of the advertising industry — don’t be naive, in the end your salary is paid by a client that hire you to earn money. It doesn’t matter if it is an artist or a multi national corporation – one of them wanna sell art, the other hamburgers.
A designer that you admire?
I admire people who do the same thing year after year without compromising — like musician Steve Albini or fashion designer Walter van Beirendonck. It might sound strange, but I am not very interested in graphic design and rarely read about other graphic designers. It was a bit of a coincidence that I started working within design and if the people at Nintendo had asked me to build a house instead I might as well have ended up as a carpenter. With that said, I love working with design, but I find more inspiration in music, football or politics.
Do you have a favorite typeface?
No, there are many good typefaces with different purposes and to choose just one would be hard.
Which books are on your bedside table?
I have one book on my bedside table that’s been lying there for almost a year. It is written by Gudrun Schyman who is a Swedish politician and feminist. I think she is very interesting, but unfortunately I rarely have the time nor patience to sit down and read it.
The last word…
“Thank you” and “excuse me” are two of the most important phrases in our daily lives. So, thank you for taking your time to ask me all those interesting questions and excuse me for taking so long to answer them.
Interview : Dennis Moya & Tiffany Bähler — 05.15