MAKING POINTS WHICH HOLD SIGNIFICANCE
After high school I wanted to be a (fine) artist, so in 1992 I went to London to study painting and sculpture at Goldsmiths’ College, where a bulk of my favorite artists had been schooled; Lucian Freud, Marc Quinn, Julian Opie and Damien Hirst for instance, as well as tons of poets, authors and musicians. From a distance, it seemed perfect for me; a 19 year-old from the suburbs of Stockholm (not the same place then as now) just out of compulsory military service, extremely eager to get some of the creative energy London emitted.
During that year – spent as much in life drawing studios and screen printing rooms as in squats and raves – I realised being an artist would with 99.9% certainty be quite a poor affair; most of Goldsmiths’ seniors was preparing to be life-artists rather than actual ones, sight set on a life in those same squats, endlessly applying for grants rather than scouting spacious studios or going on exotic inspirational trips. As a working class kid from a family of non-academics, though thoroughly encouraged, I wasn’t really equipped to understand the subtle and intellectual benefits of a degree in fine art. I decided to switch to graphic design and Central Saint Martin’s where the alumni wasn’t to bad either. At St Martin’s, the tutors where some of the most brilliant minds in design and media theory, typography, photography and technology and I instantly found a clearer path within communication and graduated with a bachelors degree in 1996, quite tired of college life and keen to get to work.
I moved back to Stockholm and started an advertising agency with one of my best friends and one of his connected clients from the music industry who saw to it that we could borrow a couple of rooms at the Cheiron recording studio for free. This meant having client meetings next door to Britney Spears and Backstreet Boys recording and hundreds of their fans screaming outside. Odd to say the least, especially since I at the time was into sixties punk, glitch and alt-rap with the confrontational conviction one can only have in ones early twenties. But what was odder was that I had been thrown into advertising – creating marketing campaigns for sodas and detergents was not why I got into design and one extra low and dark morning I took a Mac and left to start my own business as a freelance designer.
I got into editorial design and art direction – first as a sidekick to local design guru John Bark, and after a few years under my own name. Being inherently curious about all things popular culture, politics and technology, I found a natural place in media and visual storytelling, and during the following years I worked as a designer, art director and design director at some of Sweden’s biggest publishing houses and media outlets: Dagens Nyheter, FORM, Nöjesguiden and BON to name a few. As the publishing industry changed and moved online, I followed, and invented more and more customized digital content pieces and websites, got deeper into branded storytelling and editorial communication concepts for companies who wanted to make the move to smarter and more transparent relations with their customers and users. It finally made sense to me to work for brands from this angle – I learned (and taught!) that marketing could be so much more than screaming adverts and “fun” campaigns.
As I have an entrepreneurial soul, I have constantly had multiple projects going; I ran fashion and interior shops, invented an e-commerce platform for Swedish design, taught editorial communication, held lectures on branding, studied strategy and design management, released three albums on Portlands coolest indie label and started a family. Also, I have always been writing – by far the best tool to vent a head full of … well, stuff.
Since 2013 I have mainly earned my living as a creative director; inventing communication platforms and worked with transformative strategic branding projects. It came quite naturally for me as a creative to work more strategically; brands are essentially like people – some good, some bad – and dressing up a nice one with poor features in order to create a situation where it can boost number of followers, readers or sales makes sense. Creating good looks to sell crap it a lot harder though, but I managed to navigate away from the worst cases. Companies that are convinced their products and services cannot be improved shouldn’t ask for strategic branding advice. Not from skilled professionals, at least.
Creating and evolving platforms and identities for existing brands as well as inventing completely new ones is my forté – I get creatives, strategists and management to see eye-to-eye, bring conservative or non-experienced clients and truly creative teams together, run workshops, I find and use common denominators instead of getting hung up on pain-points and amplifying differences. I have worked for a diverse range of clients, from global spirits brands to industrial giants via fashion, technology, outdoor gear, food, restaurants, eyewear, finance and retail.
2018: I work as a creative director for the PwC-owned brand innovation agency Pond in Stockholm and on my occasional time off I run a disruptive sunlight harvesting startup with a few friends, Solros, and an independent studio that takes on artsy and cutting-edge design and innovation projects – SEKT. I am also active as a script evaluator for SF Studios and Nordisk Film, reading and scoring books for potential adaptation as well as movie and TV scripts.
Incomplete list of past and current clients: Aegis, Arlanda Express, ATG, Audi, Bokförlaget DN, Bon, Brunna Park, Byredo, Dagens Nyheter, DDB House, EMI, Evolve Meetings, FORM, Glänta, Gustafsbergs Handelsplats, Handelshögskolan, Ikon, Industrifonden, Jameson, KappAhl, Klättermusen, Malmö Aviation, Malmö Stad, McDonald's, MTV, Moodgallerian, Neu, No18, Nobia, Nobina, NREP, Ny Teknik, Nöjesguiden, Plaza Publishing, Praktikertjänst, Preem, Rodebjer, Saab, Sandvik, SAS, Scan, Scania, Stockholm Records, Strömbergs, Synsam, Svensk Form, Swedishness.com, Swedish Match, Teracom, TCO, The Absolut Company, Travel Media, Volkswagen, Warner Music
© 2018 Mathias Strömberg AB
+46 (0)70 799 1038
Hornsgatan 26a, 118 20 Stockholm, Sweden