Observation and Design

Richard Stowey's localised view of the world.

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North Kingdom Digital Monarchy – D&AD President’s Lecture at Institute of Education, London

May 25th, 2011 @ 20:15 GMT by Richard Stowey

North Kingdom FUCK rule

I recently had the chance to see North Kingdom as part of a D&AD Presidents Lecture in London. Hosted by Sanky from AllofUs, the event allowed two of North Kingdom to spread the word about their creative practice.

Co-founder Robert Lindström and Senior Producer Marcus Ivarsson came down from Skellefteå to show London more about their world and their work.

Skellefteå’s city centre is extremely reminiscent of a standard British town which hasn’t really had much love. An urban oasis in the far north of Sweden, home to about 30,000 people with the odd five story medium-high rise block of offices. It is this unassuming town which is home to the folk at North Kingdom.

Attention to detail

The lasting impression from the two Swedes was that North Kingdom value and maintain high quality, award winning, work. They go the extra mile to achieve a perfect product, even finishing off some of their work after it has been delivered to the client, just to finalise the details and ensure complete satisfaction.

Many of the projects are multi-disciplinary and their belief in cross-competency teams and individuals shows through in their work which encompasses film sets, videos, illustration, 3D modelling and animation, artworking, website design, product concepts and much more.

One particular project which, I think, shows off these skills is the Adidas Team Geist project to support the German football team during the world cup. The aim of the website was to get visitors to help find the German football team’s identity. The core of this was a strategy football game.

The attention to the graphics, game, animation and ensuring that all of these elements tie in together is a wonderful feat, which is admired.

See more at:  http://www.northkingdom.com/case-studies/adidas-teamgeist/

Process – The F.U.C.K. Rule

I’d normally avoid swearing on this blog, but when there is a process which I think makes sense, it’s worth mentioning. North Kingdom’s process is essentially broken down into F.U.C.K. It’s a unique way of remembering the order of things, how the work should be done and what is important.

  • Function
  • Usability
  • Cosmetics
  • Kärlek (Love in Swedish)

The fact that such a creative agency puts function and usability at the beginning of their process is actually very admirable. I haven’t quite decided whether they mean this in a creative sense, i.e. the function of the creative is to communicate a message, or the function of the product which could be a game or website. Either way, I like this idea of process where form follows function.

Love

The last item in the process is love, and that is where I get the impression the magic happens, and the final details and creative finesse is put into the work. But it’s not just about the work. The importance of and value placed on Love also shows through throughout everything they do.

Their offices are crafted into a more homely environment to encourage a better working environment. They partake in personal projects as part of what they do, and not just because it makes money – e.g. Woodbot Piliot. Their blog communicates all of this so well.

Overall, the talk was especially insightful into the world of a different agency. How they work, use process and SCRUM, finalise the details, the length of projects and the involvement of their teams. Every insight is valuable and this is a fantastic one!

Image by mediadeo