As wonderful as it is to work in a field such as design there will inevitably be times when it all becomes a bit overwhelming. What just a moment ago felt like the most rewarding endeavor transitions little by little into an increasingly heavy burden. And with such a burden the colors begin to wash out of life, only to be replaced by a drab grayness.
When such thoughts make themselves known there is but one way out — what is needed is an escape! And as generations before us have all known, there is a destination for such a perfect escape that trumps all others. Yes, the open seas, with their promise of sweet eventlessness interspersed with moments of absolute terror!
There’s really nothing like sitting in a small plastic vessel paddle in hand in the middle of a storming sea to take the thoughts away from that unfortunate kerning mistake. Out at sea mistakes are rewarded with far more severe repercussions than the scolding words from an ununderstanding boss. When combating waves trying to tip you over into the freezing cold sea typographic concerns will seem increasingly distant.
And isn’t that what a vacation in the end is all about — a time when preoccupation with work details is dispersed into thin air like morning mist?
But before we’re allowed to forget about design we must do design! For no graphic artist worth their salt is willing to venture out to sea without a flag to identify themselves by. (Or, in the most unfortunate of circumstances, a flag to wrap around the lifeless corpse of a sailor embarking on their final voyage.)
Fortunately, our ships were allowed to sail under less hazardous conditions, which is why we can now speak about our flag and its design.
We’ll begin with a small language lesson: The text on the flag reads as ”Vida Vyer”, which is Swedish for ”open horizons”. (Actually Wide Vistas might be even a more accurate translation, but I feel open horizons captures the meaning better in this case.)
”But why Swedish?” you ask, ”I thought you were Finnish.” To which I reply with a (very) short history lesson: In Finland there are two main linguistic groups, the majority whose first language is (unsurprisingly) Finnish and a five-percent minority who speak Swedish as their first language. (I happen to belong to this minority.) Traditionally the Swedish-speaking minority has lived by the coast, and many of them have in one way or another earned their livelihood from the sea.
Another aspect of the Finnish Swedes relevant to the design assignment under discussion is that the colors of their (our) unofficial flag are red and yellow (as compared to the Finnish flag in blue and white). Which is why our flag too is red and yellow! You see, it’s all coming together.
And now for the moment you have all been waiting for – the typography! This time we went with two separate but at least chronologically somewhat related typefaces. The side of the flag that says ”Vida Vyer” is set (sewn?) in Rockwell Condensed, whereas the side stating the year of the great escape is in Job Clarendon. The seamstress behind all of our flags, this one included, is of course the multi-talented designer Anna-Leena Kirves.
The even more important question that remains unanswered is: did it work? Did our worries get blown away by the cool breeze of the Baltic Sea? Did we forget about file formats and passwords? Unanimously yes! Our seven weeks out at sea (or actually six weeks out at sea and one week stranded on a most remote island due to a prolonged storm) was just what the doctor ordered, should doctors order kayaking trips (which of course they should!).
During our time away from the office we had the good fortune of visiting five lighthouses, encountering an array of seals, and napped on the shores of uninhabited islands. And there you have it, our perfect escape. And should the stress of modern life become too much for you to bear, then the solution is just a couple of paddle strokes away.
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