I’m very excited to be working for Articulate, I’ve been here my first month. Couldn’t be happier. I’m going to work with Articulate’s 80 employees as the only Visual Designer, working on several very interesting projects that will be launched soon.
I’ll be based in USA and Sweden working remotely from time to time, until we’ve found a visa suitable for me.
My Design Philosophy
As I was born into a socialist country where the primary focus was not to stand out and excel, or at least not brag about it. I was taught how to love & worship the Swedish word ‘lagom’.
'Lagom' can be translated into the english word 'moderate’ or ‘just enough’. Originated from the ten rules of 'the Law of Jante', which is basically an idea that there is a pattern of group behavior towards individuals within Scandinavian communities which negatively portrays and criticizes individual success and achievement as unworthy and inappropriate. In short, you are not to think you are anything special or better than anyone else in any way; You’re one among the crowd and you do not stand out, everything in your life should be mediocre and moderate.
I was born into this mess, and it raised me into the person I am today––in both good and bad ways. I detest the means in which people still refer to this ‘law’ and live by it. This is one of many reasons why there is something even called Swedish minimalism and this is shown in true swedish fashion––graphic, and web design today.
In the early stages of my career, I always felt like something was missing in my designs––maybe a colorful call to action button or perhaps an extra needed feature. But during my later days, I’ve come to realize that maybe it is the way I was raised. I’ve always loved minimalism, always believed in that less is more and that you should always ‘kill your darlings’.
A good designer should be able to reduce clutter, focus on the user experience and still make it look good. Sometimes I think some people would rather sacrifice usability for the sake of having a visually appealing product.
A hungry designer who is willing to improve is a designer that loves what he or she has created, but the next week hates it. My number one rule is to never be satisfied, never settle for ‘lagom’. Be the best of your craft, or at least try to reach for the stars. I’m not even remotely close to be as good as my colleagues in the industry, but that doesn’t mean that I’ve lost the ability to believe in myself.
I’ve always loved minimalism, always believed in that less is more and that you should always ‘kill your darlings’.
I’m young, raised into loving mediocrity and ‘just enough’, and hating it. But it has helped me in many ways, it has introduced me to simplicity and minimalism, that less is more and as Antoine de Saint-Exupe said ‘Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.’
Mochila Mail returns
After a week of negotiating and recruiting new people we’re up and running again. I’m really happy about the new team. We’re back and stronger than ever. We’re still running for becoming the most lightweight and easy to use email client out there. We still believe in simplicity above unnecessary details. We’re a company that is not trying to solve something that isn’t broken, we’re a company that is going to improve and simplify by making our email application as light and easy to read as possible.
We still believe in simplicity above unnecessary details.
Our new team consist of three members, Victor Erixon as designer, Tim Herbig, from Germany, as Project Manager and Maxime Pontoire, from France, as developer. We’re working hard to push new updates to our current website and pushing hard to release our iPhone application to the AppStore.
Every day I browse into Designer News to find interesting articles, I never leave the website disappointed. Any time when I need inspiration for my workplace I normally go into Minimal Desks and find beautiful workplaces. Everytime I need to test any iOS icon I’ve created I normally go into Ikonica and use their application. I use Skala Preview to see how my designs look on an iPhone. On the days I need an iPhone template to start from, I normally use this. The music I listen to on Spotify is this playlist, warning the songs are not uplifting.
Mochila Mail departures.
Our journey started in November last year after I had posted an email client on Dribbble for fun. I teamed up with Andrew Zimmer and we came up with the name Mochila Mail.
The word Mochila translated from Spanish to English means Backpack. We drew inspiration from the Pony Express, fast mail service of 1860-1861. The mailmen delivered mails riding on horses from the west to the east in the United States. And it became the West’s most direct means of east-west communication before the telegraph was established and was vital for tying the new state of California with the rest of the country. The mailmen attached Mochila bags that carried mails on their horses. We were looking for a name that represented speed and had a historic meaning mashed up with the present. Therefor we went with the name Mochila Mail and used a rocket horse as inspiration from the Pony Express.
In November 2012, I started designing on an email client for fun. I imagined an email client which purpose was only to satisfy my email needs with being simple and lightweight. I designed it and published it and was directly contacted by Andrew. We were an instant fit. We started to work on Mochila Mail with the vision of creating something together that was entirely for us lightweight users that needed something plain simple.
We were looking for a name that represented speed and had a historic meaning mashed up with the present. Therefor we went with the name Mochila Mail…
We got carried away and lost a lot of focus on our own personal lives and our current jobs. But we wanted this so badly, and recently a lot of different competitors has reached the market before us. We’ve therefore decided to put the project on hold until we find a financial solution or a lot of extra time to work on the project. I’ve hammered out a huge amount of design and Andrew has done an enormous amount of coding. But every happy story needs its end. So therefore Mochila Mail is officially put on hold for an undecided amount of time.
You can follow the projects from its beginning till today here.
How I learned to Design
I’ve always been keen to hear about how other people learned to design. Some people went to school, some people learned by themselves. In the end what defines an extraordinary designer is the willpower of always wanting to become better. Never settling for "okay".
My chronicle began as I’ve mentioned before in about one year ago. I was unemployed with a newfound hobby called design. I could never imagine making a living out of design, I thought I would never be good as Robyn Morris, Facebook. And one of the key-factors in my career is that no matter how good I become, I will never ever see myself as good as Robyn Morris, or any other of my design influences. My key to success has always been that I’m desiring to be the best, but I’m never satisfied with what I create. It could be an iPhone application for a client, it could be a personal project, I’m never satisfied with the results. And that is in some bizarre way, what keeps me going.
… what defines an extraordinary designer is the willpower to always wanting to become better. Never settling for “okay”.
I was a teenager without any experience that created my own cleaning company with 10 employees and 500$ in salary each month. We topped Google search. We had an incredibly ugly website, so I had to install Photoshop and get creative. I managed to create some kind of replica of some other theme that some other designer had made. But then I had to code it, so I ended up using the already made theme. But that is my first experience with Photoshop.
On the side of being the CEO of a small cleaning company in a suburb to Stockholm I played around in Photoshop, creating meaningless things, learning how every feature in Photoshop works. Later on when I left the cleaning company to go study national economics at Stockholms University, I realized I have to have a job on the side to even be able to live. I looked around the internet, browsing various McDonalds jobs and found a company in the heart of Stockholm, a start up, that needed a designer. I’ve always been the guy that applies for any job I want even though I don’t match what they’re looking for. Luckily these guys brought me in for an interview and it was an instant match, even though I had no clue how big the design industry really is. And I don’t really think they took in consideration that I didn’t know a dime about the industry. Good for me, bad for them.
Here I was, 19 years old, with my foot inside of an enormous industry I had no clue about. I had to create an iPhone application for this startup, and I had no clue how to create for a retina iPhone. In fact I had no clue how to design at all, I only knew about all the features in Photoshop. They had expectations and I wouldn’t let them down, so I studied various articles about how I design for iPhone. I even printscreened the Facebook application, put it into photoshop and studied how they did their app. After studying every pixel of the Facebook app, replicating it for educational purposes, I actually learned something.
Somehow I found Dribbble through the internet, I don’t remember how, and I don’t remember why. I scouted Swedish designers that lived close to me and I found Patrik, my mentor. I showed him my poor replicas and what I’ve done in Photoshop so far and he took me in, he wanted to mentor me without any gain. I practiced through replicating works from designers such as Daryl Ginn, Thom van der Weerd, Tim van Damme and Patrik. Learning all about how they style their elements and what is common. I didn’t show any of my replicas to anyone but Patrick who gave me critique, totally ripping me to shreds.
I practiced through replicating works from designers such as Daryl Ginn, Thom van der Weerd, Tim van Damme and Patrik.
In pursuit I didn’t want to bother Patrik as much as I did and I asked him for a Dribbble invite, so I could get feedback from others showing my own work. He declined, he didn’t think I was good enough and that I could do better. So I had to prove myself to him, by creating my own stuff with what I’ve learned through other designers. He gave me tasks such as creating my own User Interface kit. He ripped my designs to shreds until I learned and he was happy about the results. After a while of breaking me down and building me up, he was happy about me and I was invited to Dribbble.
This opened up a new world to me
Now I could get feedback from 100 different angles. I could interact with others and learn even more. After leaving the startup in Stockholm I pursued learning more, craving better results. I was addicted to design. I was addicted to become better at my craft. I took constructive critique in, and pushed out a new design. Some were successful, some were not.
After one year in the industry, I still feel the very same hunger for success, that I’m a nobody, that I’m a shitty designer. And I’m never going to make it. But in the end, that is what keeps me going, keeps me evolving, keeps me from settling down - never learning new stuff. I would say you’ve lost the ability to grow as a designer when you’re fully satisfied with what you’ve created.