The redesign of ’Vi’ (We) — a Swedish magazine classic

The Swedish magazine ’Vi’ hired my studio for the redesign project of ’Vi’ in digital and print. The ambition with the new design, is to keep a connection to the history, work in the present and prepare it for the future …

This video story shows my studios working process behind the magazine project ’Vi’.

‘Vi’ is a swedish magazine classic, founded in 1913 and stands for something greater: humanism, humanity and popular education. Therefore it’s almost an honorary assignment to create the new overall design.

The iconic logo was designed in 1936 by the swedish illustrator Curt Peters, inspired by the Swedish funkis-era, with the idea of showing the physical dimensions of type, shadow and light.

With the name ’vi’, (we) in english, it’s obvious to ask yourself; Who are we? The contemporary description defining ”The inner we” is a concept by the famous danish artist Olafur Eliasson, who was recognised for ”The weather project”, at Tate modern, that inspired me in the redesign process. Olafur Eliasson is currently returning to Tate modern with the exhibition In real life

The content brief is based on the idea of doing great journalism about people, culture and society, in visuals and text. Vi has a strong popular culture heritage and that is one of the inspirations in the project. I read the new »Vi anthology of the best texts«, edited by Tomas Fläckman, where more than 100 years of texts are collected and released again. Famous author Simone de Beauvoir contributed and many great Swedish author’s and poets published with their first stories in Vi;  from Astrid Lindgren, Vilhelm Moberg, Harry Martinson to Karin Boye.

Type & mood

My type mood for the project was to create an honest design with distinct type that stands the test for a magazine story in digital and print. I looked for a warm and humanistic type palette with a higher readability. The serif for text and display; ’Heldane’ is designed by Kris Sowersby, Klim type, New Zeeland, 2018. Heldane is an interesting new typeface inspired by the renaissance works of Hendrik van den Keere, Claude Garamont, Robert Granjon and Simon de Colines. The sans serif; ’Marcin Antique’ is designed by Mário Feliciano, Feliciano Type foundry, Lisbon, 2010. Marcin Antique is inspired by the late 19th century French types produced by Fonderie Gustave Mayeur, Paris.

The world isn’t just black and white, so I suggested new contemporary colours based on some colour metaphors; sun-red, fire-orange, dusk-pink, mountain-blue, blooming-green and midnight-blue and a greyscale with warm and cool grey.

’Vi’ asked for a new format, and we worked in Stockholm and my studio in Copenhagen, on various new ideas, in structuring the content. To create a better magazine flow and contrast I defined a new grid, with a new eye-liner, all-through the magazine.

’Vi’ has a very strong visual history, so the visual work, has been more about stretching it a bit … I showed new photo’s from from Rwanda by the Danish ’war’-photographer: Jan Grarup to show what a picture story, also, could look like.

I showed an illustration of a pink, melting ice cone looking like the Chrysler building, New York, by the spanish illustrator Javier Jaen, to visualise how to present a story about the climate threat.

Vi logo & cover

In redesigning the magazine cover I wanted it to benefit more on the clear iconic logo. The logo vs the cover visual should lead you in to the magazine. I showed the idea of the logo to move around depending on the visual. I also worked on various updates of the logo, to create icons for digital and social media as well as leading the overall design.

Vi’s cover is always a person from the main interview. I found it important with portraits for ‘Vi’, to not to try to look too much of a ‘glossy’ magazine, to be more original. Portraits that manage to get closer to the viewer. To show what I meant I borrowed a photograph by Jan Grarup of Ghita Norby, the grand lady of danish actresses. That portrait is like no one have seen her, before, it is made with a special camera, a vintage bellow camera dated in the 1850, used by the world’s first war photographers, this particular camera documented Second World War. With this camera Grarup also portrait Patti Smith, former danish prime minister Lars Løkke and Medina.


I worked with the publisher and editor-in-chief: Unn Edberg, the magazine managing editor: Tomas Fläckman and with one of Sweden’s best Art Director’s: Hanna Johansson. All black and white, ’behind the redesign’, photos, in the video  are shot by the swedish photographer: Joel Nilsson.

First issue