Spring/Summer, a Design Studio That Creates Timeless Design That Go Beyond Trends

In a fast-paced world of technology, new trends in web and app design are constantly popping up. As a result, designers may be tempted to base their creations on these trends. But is it possible to create designs that stand the test of time, even in the digital realm? In this article, we will discover the secrets to creating timeless designs that transcend trends by learning from a Danish design studio.

Last year, we had the pleasure of visiting Spring/Summer, a Danish design studio that specializes in crafting digital designs that never go out of style. Their CEO, Pelle Martin guided us through their journey so far.

── What kind of design studio is Spring/Summer?

Pelle: Spring/Summer is a design studio established in Copenhagen about a decade ago. The team works on a diverse array of projects, from global brands to start-ups, with a focus on branding and web production. With a team of about 15 members, the studio chooses to prioritize quality over expansion, dedicating ourselves to each design with sincerity and consistently producing truly exceptional work.

The name “Spring/Summer” is inspired by the fashion industry, where each season is referred to as “Spring/Summer” and “Autumn/Winter.” It was originally used as the project team name for a jewelry brand that we worked on prior to establishing Spring/Summer. We chose the name for its bright and warm connotations and decided to use it as the company name. Initially, we considered changing the name every six months to align with the seasons, but ultimately decided against it.)

── The concept of changing the company name every season is intriguing, but it could also be quite confusing (laughs). Pelle, have you ever had the opportunity to visit Japan?

Pelle: Yes, I’ve been to Japan once and had a fantastic time. The design really impressed me – it was full of fantastic graphics. In terms of my work experience with Japanese companies, I worked on developing an app for Uniqlo about 8 years ago. We had a chance to work with Koichiro Tanaka from projector inc. for this one. The app focused on showcasing recipes.

The Uniqlo app for iPad (not available for distribution in Japan)

── The design is impressive, I’m surprised it’s from quite a while ago!

Pelle: We always aim to create designs that are timeless and will stand the test of time. Even with media that is easily updated, such as websites and apps, we believe that designs that are not swayed by trends and can be used indefinitely are truly the best.

Designing an app that lasts 10 years+

── What other types of designs does Spring/Summer focus on in order to create digital designs that are timeless?

Pelle: One of the designs I am most proud of and that embodies our focus on longevity is the Swatch app.

The Swatch App (not available for distribution in Japan)

The Swatch app, an iPad application, allows users to browse the Swatch archive in an interactive way. It was designed to emphasize the “artistic” aspect of Swatch watches. As users swipe through the displayed watches, it leaves a trail of the color of the last touched watch. The app allows users to experience the artistry and fun of Swatch watches by creating their own art.

This was released 10 years ago.

── 10 years ago! It’s still a great design that works today. In your opinion, what do you believe are the key elements to creating designs that stand the test of time?

Pelle: I believe that even without using the latest technology, if we can create an experience that connects to real life on the screen, it will not become outdated. That might be the key to creating designs that endure.

When creating such designs, we don’t look to other websites or trends for inspiration, but rather draw from the subject matter of the website, the shape of the object, and the environment surrounding it. We often find inspiration from those elements.

The website we created for “Simply Chocolate” reflects the experience of the product directly on the web. The design enables users to seamlessly go through the process of selecting a flavor, opening the package, unwrapping, and breaking the chocolate. The design elements like the font and color of the package on the website are also important for immersing users in the product’s world. This was created 6 years ago, but we still receive inquiries from all over the world asking for a similar website.
Similarly, the website for the Perez Art Museum Miami in Florida, USA was also inspired by the location of the museum, Miami.

We believed that the beautiful sky represents Miami, so we created the website to convey that feeling as well. The beautiful gradient inspired by the sky changes color according to Miami’s time.

Transforming simple concepts into a story

── Would it be challenging to create such designs without being a skilled designer like you?

In terms of approach, I don’t think it’s that difficult. We have young designers in our team as well, and we don’t require any special skills in particular. The important thing is to take your time to think and plan during the initial stages of design. Once you find a concept that resonates, I don’t think it’s difficult to develop it further.

One approach is to break down the comprehensive experience into individual moments and consider them as units. In the aforementioned chocolate example, the user experience of “eating” is captured in specific steps such as “selecting”, “opening”, and “breaking”. This is a clear and easily relatable method with a strong story or concept. This is not something only experienced designers can do, it only depends on the subject matter. Even without striking graphics or interactions, as long as you have a solid concept, it can work.

Therefore, the key is to find one idea that immediately feels like “this is it!” The simpler the idea, the better it is.

Thinking web design as a visual medium

── In order to represent a realistic experience, it seems that technology and engineering is also important.

Pelle: I believe that a website is “the user experience itself,” so designers should also focus on coding and engineering. If we can create something that is close to the physical sensation of touching, users should be able to use it intuitively. Each website is tailored to meet specific demands, so implementation is always a challenge.

Websites, like visuals, are also created with the intention of telling a story. The idea is to show it interactively and follow the user’s actual actions. Making the movement smooth is a technical challenge.

The website for “Beagle,” which is a service that supports production of proposals, also creates a story of the user’s journey to completing the proposal. The steps such as “creating a proposal,” “co-editing,” “sharing,” and “adding a cover” – the entire experience flows smoothly from top to bottom on the website. Even though the site appears simple, it was challenging to implement, however, we were successful in making it move smoothly and it’s a favorite among users.

── After looking at various works, I’ve come to understand the style of Spring/Summer.

Pelle: I try not to have a fixed design style, but I hope to be able to convey our style through feelings and rhythm.

We always think about whether we are doing something we can be proud of today and work accordingly. It’s best when we can return home and say “I did good work today!” with all our heart. We also make sure that our work and productions are properly attracting users and clients. Of course, it’s important to make a profit, but the balance is important. That might be our identity too.

── Yes, that’s a good way of thinking. I’m sure it relates to making designs that are loved for a long time.

Pelle: I think the designs stand the test of time because they don’t just follow the current trend. It’s not necessary to worry too much about trends. I believe that long lasting design is born from new ways of thinking and by drawing inspiration from the world around us.

── Thank you, Pelle!

The Spectrum crew visited Spring/Summer office in Copenhagen.
The office entrance furnished with comfortable couch, autumn inspired decorations, and a wall art of their past project.
Their office in Copenhagen had a beautiful sunlight, the employees were comfortably working at their desk.

Related Links

Spring/Summer https://springsummer.dk/

Written By

Arisa Nojima

Arisa is an editor at Spectrum Tokyo. After graduating from Massachusetts College of Art and Design, she worked for a game production company and a HR startup for designers before going independent in 2021. As a freelancer in the design community, she currently supports recruitment and writing at various companies. She loves radio and cats.

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