Subtopia’s new visual identity!

Graphic designer Daniela Juvall created a new look for Subtopia. In this interview she explains how it all came about and her thoughts on the new visual identity.

Subtopia’s new visual identity!

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This New Look is Meant to Capture the Spirit of Subtopia, Says Daniela Juvall

Subtopia is getting a new visual identity! Some of you may have already seen a teaser on our Facebook in the weeks prior to the launch, when we added some of the new colors. The change-over has now been completed, and in this interview, Daniela Juvall, the brain and talent behind the new look, explains how she developed our new look.

Subtopia’s new visual identity was not something that had actually been planned for. When I call Daniela Juvall, she tells me that the whole project of updating our visual identity started when Elin Borrie, Subtopia’s marketing manager, got in touch and wanted Juvall to make a slight update to the existing profile. Daniela Juvall responded with the counteroffer of changing the whole profile. She presented the idea and Elin instantly went for it.

The old profile really only contains the logo. So I wanted to expand the existing profile, so that it would become a larger toolbox. The next step was that I started to look at why it looks the way it does, and what that signals. And also what Subtopia stands for and what it is that you need to signal.

A picture with multiple color versions of Subtopia's new symbol which will now become our standard for profile images on social media.
Keep an eye out for our new symbol which now becomes our standard for profile images on social media. Picture: Daniela Juvall


Juvall then found that Subtopia’s visual identity sent a different message than what Subtopia wanted to signal.

What you had was pretty strict and heavy and templated and hard, she explains. While what Subtopia is, is a creative cluster with an ambition to make the world better and to use experimental and communal processes to find something new in different ways.

The visual identity has to surprise and be thought-provoking, but also aid in lowering thresholds.

Daniela Juvall then, together with the Subtopia marketing team, began to dig deeper into how we are perceived from the outside, how we want to be seen, and what is it that we want the visitors to feel when they come to us.

We reached the joint conclusion that the visual identity has surprise and be thought-provoking, but also aid in lowering the thresholds, and make Subtopia a warm place where everyone feels that they can come and take part of what we have to offer, she says.

A little look at how the logo was produced. Picture: Daniela Juvall


A Toolbox to Continue Experimenting With

Based on these ideas, Juvall started working with the basic idea that Subtopia’s new identity should be a toolbox to continue experimenting with. It should not be “finished” and “closed” but rather be a start, providing a building block that can then be used to create almost anything.

It could become a super big super graphics over the entire hangar’s wall [one of Subtopia’s buildings], but also a bench that instantly feels like “Subtopia” or a profile picture on Facebook or a brochure. There should be room for the creators who do something in Subtopia’s name to find something that is their own but still feels very Subtopia. I know this is so vague, says Daniela Juvall and laughs. I hear that. It’s so difficult to put into words right off the bat.

Here are some of the squiggles that can be used to build different patterns. Picture: Daniela Juvall

For the basic forms of the new identity, Daniela Juvall was inspired by the golden spiral. Using it as a starting point, she then built the base for the new form.

From there we have drawn the logo and these squiggles that we’ll build the patterns from, when we reach that stage.

The stage with patterns that Juvall is referring to is the built-in ability to build new patterns based on the basic forms found in the new identity.

And then this font. That it can be completely different things but that everything comes from the same source, all of it opens up for you to think creatively with your identity.

Here’s how super graphics can look. A mockup on how the facade of studio 3 could look. Picture: Daniela Juvall


Inspired by Super Graphics

Beyond the golden spiral, Daniela Juvall was inspired by various designers who frequently work with what the design world calls super graphics. Juvall explains that the reason is that super graphics is a tradition where you use both typography and patterns on a very large scale to inflate something to gigantic size.

Think of the Hollywood sign, that it’s something that takes up space, but is also very warm and inviting, and is physical. Subtopia also feels like it’s very physical in many ways, and that something is needed that takes over and puts its stamp on the site. So that’s how I came up with the idea of ​​patterns.

An identity created together by many.

The idea of ​​patterns was also influenced by the fact that Subtopia is a platform for the creativity of others, in so many ways.

Because of that we also wanted to get that aspect in, that it’s also a visual identity created together by many.

So how did you choose the colors?

Subtopia is a very warm and inviting place, and that should also be visible in the visual profile. So the choice of colors comes from that, to add some depth, warmth, something positive and inviting, but at the same time to keep it all together.

The different colors Subtopia has access to in the new identity are shown here in a mockup flag. Picture Daniela Juvall

You have been nominated for prizes before, and you work with Expo magazine, which monitors right-wing extremism.

— I’ve been working with Expo since 2010, since the Sweden Democrats entered the Riksdag. Something like four years ago I did a total redesign of Expo. Into the newsmagazine format and the visual identity it has now.

I really like the new format. I also like what you write about it on your website, that the magazine should be easily accessible while keeping with high quality.

The thing there was that we thought that it shouldn’t be difficult acquiring knowledge of racist and right-wing extremist organizations and ideas. That is something that has to be available to everyone, and it really should be easily understood. We can always improve, but it is still the ambition somewhere.

A last question. For those who want to see more of your work. What are your upcoming projects?

Right now I’m working with the City Museum of Stockholm and doing exhibition design for an exhibition that is about the suburb of Östberga. We’ve previously shown it in Östberga, because the City Museum was being renovated. Now that the City Museum is opening again [in the spring of 2019] there’s a room dedicated to the exhibition about Östberga. So now I’m spending a lot of time drawing exhibition designs – deciding where the carpenters are going to build walls. And we are going to make large sculptures based on a font that the children of Östberga created.

Daniela Juvall was interviewed by Alex Rodallec.

Browse through some of Daniela Juvall’s process in the pdf below.

[pdf-embedder url=”” title=”Subtopia-Visuell identitet-Process”]

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