Smörgåsbord Studio crafts a precise and sharp identity for a bespoke knife brand

The Amsterdam-based studio uses gothic script, hairline illustrations and conscious colour choices to create a sleek overall look.

24 March 2023


To say Smörgåsbord Studio fully immerses in the projects it works on would be something of an understatement. In reality, the studio takes things one step further. Stepping outside of the graphic design world entirely, Smörgåsbord immerses itself into the world of the product, brand or organisation at hand to really get the creative juices flowing.

So, when beginning a recent project with bespoke bladesmith The Canton Cutler (TCC), before even touching a laptop Smörgåsbord considered craft, deciding to get hands-on and personally make a couple of knives. “This hands-on approach proved both insightful and invaluable, and greatly informed the brand creation process,” Smörgåsbord Studio’s co-creative director Alex Frew explains. These lengths were taken to help the studio realise one specific desire; “to create a multi-faceted brand that reflects the craft and precision that goes into every knife”.


Smörgåsbord Studio: The Canton Cutler (Copyright © Smörgåsbord Studio, 2023)

Perhaps the identity’s most eye catching feature is its logotype, with letters crafted from sharp lines but with a spruced up gothic feel offering instant impact. It was after completing rough sketches that the team realised that a contemporary black letter could be a strong option, subsequently enlisting the help of typographer and lettering artist, Alisa Burzic. Working through many interactions, Alisa’s final design is one that Alex sees as “truly reflecting sharpness and angularity of TCC’s knives whilst retaining a pleasing pace and a baked-in bounce”. To contrast the boldness of the logotype, for the primary font the team opted for Söhne from Klim Type Foundry.

Although more parred back in style, the illustrative elements and colour choices across TCC’s branding are equally as impactful, realised in a “hairline” style with thin, white lines giving a vague impression of an enclosed knife. Moreover, as the brand creates blades for both the kitchen and “field” settings, such as camping or foraging, Alex explains that the team utilised a varied colour palette to differentiate. The field knives (or CCF knives) are finished with an olive green tone, while the kitchen knives (or CCK knives) are realised with a deep, rich navy.

These design elements come together to create packaging that suits the tone and feel of its product, while still offering something new. In turn proving what can be achieved when taking a rigorous, explorative approach and fully immersing yourself in a project.

GallerySmörgåsbord Studio: The Canton Cutler (Copyright © Smörgåsbord Studio, 2023)

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Smörgåsbord Studio: The Canton Cutler (Copyright © Smörgåsbord Studio, 2023)

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About the Author

Olivia Hingley

Olivia (she/her) joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in November 2021 and soon became staff writer. A graduate of the University of Edinburgh with a degree in English literature and history, she’s particularly interested in photography, publications and type design.

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