“If people want to eat our work, we have succeeded”: Casper Heijkenskjöld on his scrumptious design practice
Through his studio, Glasyr – which he runs alongside partner Andrea Eades – the Copenhagen-based designer creates mouth-watering identities for brands and people.
- Ayla Angelos
- 3 December 2021
For Casper Heijkenskjöld’s – the co-founder of Glasyr, which he runs alongside his partner Andrea Eades – working on a branding project is like going to a psychologist, hairdresser and personal shopper all at once. It might sound a little far-fetched, but in reality it makes perfect sense – specifically when it comes to “talking about the current state of the brand and having someone to help guide the company in a new, healthy and inspirational direction,” he tells It’s Nice That.
Casper grew up surrounded by a family full of architects and textile designers in Malmö, which is located in “one of the most exposed neighbourhoods”. Having long nurtured an interest in the medium of design, he remembers designing his first-ever logo for the local Thai boxing gym named Malmö Muai Thai. But, his younger years weren’t the easiest: “My best friend Eric robbed the local corner shop with an axe and Akis, another good friend got shot – three bullets, because he was dealing drugs – but luckily he survived. It was a rough neighbourhood and a bit much.”
At the age of 18, Casper moved to Denmark for his studies in visual communication at Kolding School of Design, before moving to London post-graduation and interning at Stefan Sagmeister for two years. Another internship later in New York (this time in advertising), Casper returned to Copenhagen to open the doors of his own studio, while he worked part-time at a design agency, did some teaching and took on various client jobs on the side. Six years down the line and he’d gained plenty of experience in the industry, only to realise that his style was a little too broad. “I had the sense that clients were really confused by the variety, to a point where new clients didn’t get my work,” he explains. “Then my mum died the day before I turned 30, it hit me hard. I wanted someone to share my work with, in the good times and the bad. I missed someone to high five and to talk process and strategies with.” Luckily, Casper got together with Andrea and founded Glasyr, a place to work on branding and focus on “idea driven work”. He adds: “We aimed at creating different work, to provoke the senses and make it an experience. If people want to eat our work, we have succeeded.”
As well as being mouth-watering, Casper also hopes that his work will make a statement. There are two key projects he thinks of as being the most important. The first is a poster series and VJing project for two friends named Jonatan and Johannes, who ran a club night tin Malmö. “It was major for me to see my work in the streets and experience the crowd going nuts and reacting to my visuals,” he says. The other project is one that he pursued after his mother died – a visual identity for the film festival Mix Copenhagen. “I got standing ovations when I presented my work for the festival’s core project group of 20 people, I had nailed it; that was amazing, especially during the tough period I was experiencing.” This project saw the perfect balance of sophistication and boldness, which later went on to inform design language seen at Glasyr.
In a more recent project, Casper and Andrea had the pleasure of working with a dance studio called Hellerup Klassiske Balletskole, headed by the boyfriend of Casper’s friend Kristian. “The visual identity challenge was to create something that would appeal to the posh ambassador wife, to also be fun and playful, and to mirror all the children taking ballet classes.” As such, the designers crafted a wordmark that features tiny, jumping letters – like kids frolicking in the playground. The design employs a contrasting blend of childish typography and old-school calligraphy, the type you’d find in archival hand-drawn books hidden at the back of the school’s library. Inspired by dance, Casper explains how the idea was inspired by ballet shoes being “dipped in paint”. He says: “Energetic, bold and repetitive, the extension was to rig a camera top view and record a dancer creating a pattern. We never got to it because of the budget. We also worked with the duality of the posh mum and playful child when choosing the two typefaces.”
Up next, Casper has plans to launch a new book about his grandmother named Annika Heijkenskjöld, “a powerhouse promoting well-made and clever design,” he says. Having set up Form/Design Center in Malmö – an exhibition space that opened its doors 25 years ago – not only is she an inspiration to the Swedish design scene, she’s also the ideal muse for Casper.
Glasyr: MIX Copenhagen, LGBTQ+ Film Festival (Copyright © Glasyr, 2021)
About the Author
Ayla was an editorial assistant back in June 2017 and has continued to work with us on a freelance basis. She has spent the last seven years as a journalist, and covers a range of topics including photography, art and graphic design. Feel free to contact Ayla with any stories or new creative projects.