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Scandinavian Design Trend: 50 Dazzling Examples That'll Inspire You to Try It

Laura Busche March 31, 2021 · 4 min read
Scandinavia is a word often used to refer to a region of northern Europe consisting of Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. Sometimes Finland and Iceland are also included, given their historical ties with the area. But why would a design movement adopt that label, and how does it shape its aesthetic? Scandinavian Design borrows from the region’s focus on simplicity, minimalism, and functionality to inspire design choices across various fields. Visually, you can identify it through the use of clean shapes, earthy color palettes and significant use of white space. Off-whites, neutral tones, and crisp lines are all common elements.
The Scandinavian (also referred to as Nordic) aesthetic has significantly impacted the worlds of graphic, interior, fashion, and product design. Throughout this article, we’ll share examples that feature the trend in use, go over some of its recurring visual elements, and suggest a few tools you can use to bring it to life in your own work.

But first, where did all this come from?

Scandinavian Design is said to have emerged between the 1930s and 1970s. That places it directly under the influence of Modernism, a ground-breaking movement that spanned across the arts, literature, and design. Scandinavian Design inherited many of Modernism’s core principles: the defense of white space, the influence of function in a piece’s form, and the importance of remaining affordable. It coincides with many Mid-Century Modern design ideas, which has recently earned it some major attention in countries like the United States.

Scandinavian Design examples

The clearest way to illustrate these principles is with real examples. Let’s take a look at 50 inspiring pieces that add Scandinavian elements to graphic, product, and interior design.

In Graphic Design

Ample white space and elements from nature come together in this clean website design.
Scandinavian-Design-Graphic-17 Image by Adam Zielonko on Dribbble A crisp yellow line is combined with more organic shapes from nature. Scandinavian-Design-Graphic-13 Image by Adam Zielonko on Dribbble Scandinavian-Design-Graphic-16 Image by Henning Gjerde on Dribbble Typography can also incorporate elements from Scandinavian Design. Swedish typefaces are particularly great tools to build that look. After looking at this mockup for an airline, check out the two fonts I’d suggest you try out for similar projects.
Scandinavian-Design-Graphic-19 Image by Emil Widlund on Dribbble
Scandinavian-Design-Graphic-4 Image by Farzad Ban on Dribbble Scandinavian-Design-Graphic-18 Image by Matthew LeGrice on Dribbble Recently, we’ve been spotting a trend within Scandinavian Design where elements are placed somewhat randomly across the page. Defying the grid, many of these examples remind us of the Dada movement or the Postmodern work of David Carson.
Scandinavian-Design-Graphic-9 Image by Emma Holder on Dribbble Scandinavian-Design-Graphic-21 Image by Rainfall on Dribbble Scandinavian-Design-Graphic-8 Image by Mats-Peter Forss on Dribbble Scandinavian-Design-Graphic-10 Image by Gum on Behance Another common typographic scheme that skews Scandinavian is the combination of a monospaced font and a serif with highly contrasting weights. Take a look at the font pairs I’m suggesting below this example to inspire your own projects.
Scandinavian-Design-Graphic-15 Image by Look Addict on Behance
Scandinavian-Design-Graphic-14 Image by Västanå Teater on Behance Scandinavian-Design-Graphic-5 Image by Isetan & Fika Scandinavian Shop on Behance Scandinavian-Design-Graphic-20 Image source:A New Type of Imprint Volume Six on Behance Scandinavian-Design-Graphic-7 Image by Deerz on Behance Scandinavian-Design-Graphic-6 Image by HÄNDVÆRK on Behance Scandinavian-Design-Graphic-1 Cover for Swissquote on Behance Scandinavian-Design-Graphic-12 Image by Arkitekturverket – Architecture Studio on Behance Scandinavian Design also incorporates organic elements in flatter, less textured forms. These flowers and leaves, for example, are completely plain. They rely on a joyful color palette to convey nature without going into too much realism. If you’d like to use elements like these but can’t get around creating them from scratch, check out the vector assets I’m linking to below this example.
Scandinavian-Design-Graphic-11 Flowers, fruit and a butterfly on Behance
Scandinavian-Design-Graphic-3 Image by Skëllën on Behance Scandinavian-Design-Graphic-2 Mjölk Book Series on Behance

In Interior Design

Scandinavian-Design-Interior-2 Scandinavian Shades of White on Behance Scandinavian-Design-Interior-1 Images of Airbnb’s Sydney office by Business Insider Scandinavian-Design-Interior-10 Image by Aysha Naura Sachi on Instagram Scandinavian-Design-Interior-9 Image by Nº 50 Studio on Instagram Scandinavian-Design-Interior-8 Image by Nº 50 Studio on Instagram Scandinavian-Design-Interior-7 Image by Olive et Oriel on Instagram Scandinavian-Design-Interior-6 Image by ☆ Manon ☆ on Instagram Scandinavian-Design-Interior-5 Image by Kata Balogh on Instagram Scandinavian-Design-Interior-4 Image by White Fox Styling on Instagram Scandinavian-Design-Interior-3 Image by White Fox Styling on Instagram

In Product Design

Scandinavian-Design-Products-4 FULLFÖLJA Notepad by IKEA Scandinavian-Design-Products-9 Notebooks & Journals by kikki.K Scandinavian-Design-Products-3 FRAMSTÄLLA Gift wrap roll by IKEA Scandinavian-Design-Products-1 Paper decorations & Stationery by IKEA Scandinavian-Design-Products-10 Organising supplies by kikki.K Scandinavian-Design-Products-8 Important Documents Organizer by kikki.K Scandinavian-Design-Products-2 Storage boxes by IKEA Scandinavian-Design-Products-5 Grey Moon Necklace by Bjørg Jewellery Scandinavian-Design-Products-6 Aerial view of desk with modern wood accessories |via Dwell Scandinavian-Design-Products-7 A2 Scandinavian Fine Art Print by Down That Little Lane

More resources

Want to learn more about this movement? Make sure to check out these great sources: The Principles Of Scandinavian Design The Story Of Scandinavian Design: Combining Function and Aesthetics

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About the Author
Laura Busche

Brand strategist. Creating design tools to empower creative entrepreneurs. Author of the Lean Branding book. MA in Design Management from the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD).

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