Introducing Snask: A creative agency that (literally) rocks

Snask, a Swedish creative agency who moonlight as a rock band, give us the lowdown on creating and rejuvenating brands and getting enough sleep to be creative.

Part of the event

Snask is an unusual creative agency based in Sweden. Their 10 commandments (which you can find on their website) include brand wisdoms and philosophies such as "See people as people, not as target groups" and "Just because you wear a black suit, doesn't mean you're a goddamn professional". Their clients include H&M, Samsung and Microsoft and in between being busy rebranding an island in the Maldives and writing rock music, the Snask designers will be heading south of the equator to make an appearance at Design Indaba Festival 2016. We're getting to know them a little bit better, and had the chance to chat to creative director Fredrik Öst about how they find their find inspiration, the role of a designer and sleeping off creative block.

What is the best thing a designer can do? 

Have pride in your profession. You were not educated to just sit and produce flyers and banner ads. You have a higher purpose. There's so much more to the profession than that. Step away from the computer and start doing a lot of work by hand and you shall see that the passion you thought was blown out by the wind of bureaucracy will once again burst into fire.

What’s the worst thing a designer can do?

Follow rules and boundaries. Break them. The person who made them up was either an old man with too much power or a seriously ill and small minded person. When it comes to design you are free. Of course you should still design for a purpose but following already beaten tracks is something we gladly avoid. To cook a great stew it must be a huge benefit to know how a lot of different ingredients taste, unless you're preparing the most boring and tasteless stew in the history of mankind that is.

What pieces of work have you done that you can look at now and think – “yes, we rock”?

We feel that we rock when we rebel against the conservative and boring world. We felt amazing when we had two days lecturing at Google and Stanford University, two things to cross off our bucket list. Apart from that we love it when work becomes what we envision. Like when we did the Malmö Festival 2014 we felt really proud when we understood that no one else on this planet had ever done something similar! Another time was when we started our record label and signed our first rock band! A third time is right now when we are actually rebranding an entire island in the Maldives.

How do your individual skills compliment each other?

At Snask everyone is a superstar. No one is an assistant to anyone else but we collaborate in teams all the time. We have a very flat hierarchy and everyone contributes equally to our quality of work, brand and Snask lifestyle. I would say that everyone possesses remarkable specialties, but the most important one is the ability to not take ourselves too seriously – even though everyone is superstars.

Where do you find inspiration?

In the world around us; politics, film, music and popular culture in general. Family, friends and pets... You name it. We have the belief that in order to be a successful creative you have to know and be a part of the world around you. Simply claiming that you're not interested in politics doesn't do it for us. Simply put, life in general inspires us. And if we stop being inspired it means we have to live life to it's fullest again and that we probably had a dip.

What’s the best way you know how to get ideas flowing when you’ve got creative block?

Do something else for a while or just think about nothing. Everyone has their own ways. Some go out and run, others read a novel whilst some sink into a nerdy video game. Clearing your mind can be a huge anti-blocker. We also find it common that creative block and bad sleep behavior goes hand in hand, so go to sleep!

Is kooky something people can learn to be? Or were you just born that way…?

If kooky means strange I think everyone actually always is. It's the normal state of a human being and being "normal" is just a game and a cover up. We are all born kooky as well as creative. Society then makes you unlearn the behavior with something they call "act grownup". And that's exactly what people run around doing. They act grown up and everyone are afraid that soon someone will call my bluff and realize that I'm actually not grown up at all and that I actually don't know anything for certain. We stopped acting and try to just be ourselves. If creativity was crystal meth we would be Walter White and Jesse Pinkman. Kooky, unpolished but fucking amazing at what we do.

What’s the dream job you are yet to do?

We would love to rebrand North Korea the day they would become a democracy and open up as a country and society. It would be an incredible challenge since they have a very distorted view of their own brand. They have an equally distorted view of what the rest of the world see them as. Imagine to create new hope for them and build everything around a new and proud democracy with a new tone of voice and a new pride built by the people rather than an elitist dictatorship.

Snask will be speaking at Design Indaba Conference 2016.

Watch the Talk with Snask