I have been lucky enough to visit both Sweden and Japan within a span of a few months, two cultures known for unique, high-quality design. I wanted to try to put my finger on - and then share - what there is to learn from their regional aesthetics that might be applicable and actionable globally.
While in Tokyo I spent time at the flagship stores of both Muji and Uniqlo, both of which I consider design success stories. I also visited the
reknowned Advertising Museum of Tokyo and was lucky enough to catch an exhibition of award-winning designers at the Ginza Graphic Gallery.
In Stockholm, I visited the Design House Stokholm and Svenskt Ten, and browsed the Sodermalm to see what the best contemporary Swedish interior designers had to say, then turned to the photographers at the Fotografiska.
Here are the 3 design aspirations I took away from my travels:
Clear. Everything you see, feel and experience should clearly
communicate the story being told. No confusion.
Clever. The best design has smarts, managing to add an element of whimsy and quirk while still getting the job done.
Clean. No frills, no fuss, no sentimentality. Even cute can be crisp.