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Once upon a time

Astrid Lindgren is Sweden’s most beloved author of children’s books. Her characters are etched into the mind of every Swede – as well as an ever-growing number of young readers worldwide. Created by the Swedish government in 2002, the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award for outstanding contribution to children’s and young adult literature is the biggest of its kind, with a cash prize of around €500,000. The award has a global reach – in 2021, there were over 250 nominations from some 70 countries.

Direction

Every assignment evokes a range of emotions, but only one has managed to stir shared childhood memories in an entire creative team. To say that we were happy to be entrusted with re-imagining the message and identity of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award would be an understatement.

Our first task was to create a solid platform for the brand as it faces the future, including clarifying what it stands for. The second was to establish an even stronger connection – not least visually – to Astrid Lindgren herself. After all, she was not just a writer of genius, she was also a tireless champion of democracy, children’s rights, and non-violence.

Astrid Lindgren’s cryptic shorthand was a source of inspiration.

The colour palette is derived from the author’s books and the characters she created.

Creation

It is not unusual for a prestigious award to depict the individual in whose memory it is given – either in a logotype or on a medal or certificate. Those depictions are rarely flattering, with the individual often coming across as severe and two-dimensional. In a departure from convention, we wanted to portray Astrid Lindgren in a way that captures her wit, warmth and wisdom. The assignment was given to Swedish illustrator, Amanda Åkerman. The result is a dignified and expressive line drawing that complements the word mark and completes the new logotype.

When it came to additional graphical elements, Astrid Lindgren’s stories, notebooks and original manuscripts were a treasure trove of inspiration. The author’s cryptic shorthand (she was a trained typist and stenographer) provides not only a decorative pattern but also an insight into her creative process. A varied colour palette combine with typography, photographs, and illustrations to shine a spotlight on laureates and young readers.

The most important task of the visual identity is to shine a light on the authors and their work.

Activation

The new visual identity was first launched on the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award’s website (alma.se) and later showcased at the 2021 award announcement, which was livestreamed to a global audience.

Amanda Åkerman’s portrait is dignified without being pompous or conventional.

What we did

  • Brand platform
  • Design applications
  • Design concept
  • Design platform
  • Direction