Alva Skog’s cartoonish characters now populate WeTransfer’s entire interface

Download a file, get asked for a password, or find a broken link, and you’ll be met with one of the illustrator’s distinctive characters bringing that interaction to life in a charming way.

18 February 2021

WeTransfer has worked with Swedish illustrator Alva Skog to visualise all the micro-interactions its millions of users encounter on a daily basis. Skog has created a set of characters and scenarios, bearing the illustrator’s distinctive cartoonish style with inflated proportions and vibrant block colours, to enliven each stage of the interface, from uploading or downloading a file to being asked for a password, or discovering a broken link. These are envisioned in micro-narratives that see success conveyed as crossing the finishing line of a race or dropping a mic; discovering an unexpected problem as drinking gone-off milk, and a Gandalf-like wizard standing for password protection.

“The spot illustrations are small in size but I wanted to make sure they had a big impact,” Skog explains. “I wanted the characters in the spots to have a direction, movement and purpose or be a playful spin on the captions, ‘link expired’ or ‘password protection’.” Skog worked with Jelly London’s animation team Kitchen on deciding how these would move, its subtle creative decisions infusing the spots with humour and charm.


Alva Skog for WeTransfer (Copyright © WeTransfer, 2021)

Skog also worked on wallpaper designs for the Pro users, who are offered more customisation options including a range of background wallpapers by artists such as Skog. “For the wallpaper designs I played with scale and perspective and wanted to reflect feelings I’ve had (and many other people too I imagine) during lockdown,” the illustrator says. “For example, the constant cycle of watching TV and scrolling social media for hours or dreaming about lying in a meadow and watching the clouds pass by.

“Regardless of all the hardship caused by the pandemic, this year has given me space to really figure out in what direction I want my work to go,” they continue. “It has given me perspective on my work/life balance and how my mental and physical health affects my work. Also, because of the restrictions and spending so much time at home, I am making more personal work which makes me happy and in turn is influencing and expanding my professional work.”

The project continues the illustrator’s approach to gender depiction, a vital message this work brings to a huge audience. “I feel that my style is constantly evolving but the core of it is a queer and feminist take and that affects how I represent gender and identity positions in general. As a non-binary transperson this is something of great importance to me.”

Overall, WeTransfer intended the series to bring fun into everyday moments and create stronger, intimate connections with its users, of whom 75 per cent are creatives. Nessim Higson, ECD at WeTransfer, describes the spot illustrations as “your visual cheerleader, accompanying you in every step and celebrating these small moments with you”.

GalleryAlva Skog for WeTransfer (Copyright © WeTransfer, 2021)

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Alva Skog for WeTransfer (Copyright © WeTransfer, 2021)

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Jenny Brewer

Jenny oversees our editorial output across work, news and features. She was previously It’s Nice That's news editor. Get in touch with any big creative stories, tips, pitches, news and opinions, or questions about all things editorial.

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