The brand MILLION acknowledges in its product line that there are a million ways of living. But when it comes to identity and visual expression, the rules by which logo and font are developed are clear. Co-founder of the Copenhagen-based furniture company MILLION invites you inside the engine room to discover the process behind the creation of the brand’s identity.
Would you say that there is too much empty space above this line of text? Probably…
We are playing around with the white spaces between letters, the same way a decorator would do with furniture and a graphical designer would do with fonts.
T h i s is no d i f f e r e n t from what the co-founders of the Copenhagen-based furniture company MILLION did, when establishing an identity for their new brand.
Their brand was about to be baptized and the possibilities seemed infinite – except that the name should not be part of the New Nordic trend, nor should it say anything about Danish or Denmark. The co-owners – Jens Kajus, former founder and creative director of e-Types, and Claus Jakobsen, a wood craftsman working in the design department of HAY and Muuto – were looking for a name that would allow for some playfulness around letters and words, a name that would be slightly provocative and maybe even anti-Danish (read: slightly boastful).
‘When you are used to working with graphical design and communications, you know that the elements you choose need to have longevity. They are supposed to grow on you over time. They should also be suitable for inserting into a lot of different contexts and platforms and they should be easy to remember,’ explains Jens Kajus, co-founder of MILLION.
Jakobsen and Kajus have always been fond of homes that reveal the lives of those who live there. As Kajus explains, the generic look of the neighbours’ house is boring. It was this thought that inspired their choice of name: MILLION.
‘We believe in and want to support the million ways there are to live your life. Our philosophy is reflected in our products. We do not design for people who want to buy a set of something. Our hope is that one of our designs will fit in with what you already have.’
‘million: It looks good – there’s a typographical harmony and geometry to it,’ says Kajus. ‘I kept developing my ideas around it, because I realized the logo should be repeated as a logomark within each piece of furniture as well. How lucky are we that the word “million” in Latin is a capital M with the horizontal line above it?’
With the name in place, Kajus himself designed the font. ‘I was looking for something anonymous and at the same time something with character and clout. The identity had to reflect all our products, which have a Nordic heritage but are also inspired by our travels.’
He loves playing around with proportions and working with the white spaces in between the letters.
‘There are tools you use regularly, like repetition, proximity, alignment, and contrast. But within this, there is always a 5 per cent margin where the magic happens. When you find it, you create a set of rules that are just intuitive, logical and easy to follow. They are part of building a foundation for the brand that’s agile, works on different platforms, and is adaptable to changes in time and trends,’ Kajus says.
Of the four tools, the one he values most is repetition. ‘Good design needs time to make an impact. If you fall in love with something immediately, there’s a risk that you might lose interest quickly, too. Repeating some elements in your collection or your design over time indicates a patience with it. It’s a powerful indication of the trust you have in your own design,’ he adds.
MILLION can be found here and retailers of the brand are to be found in the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Spain, Germany, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the Scandinavian countries.