malmö house    I  malmö house Malmö was founded in Baztan in January, 2011 to carry out illustration and design work. J. Angel and Maria are there, the studio doors and open and they’re ready to work. They like drawing, designing and communication and there’s no doubt they do a lot of work in those areas. As they have a lot of curiosity and like to look around, they use a lot of creative techniques, but pencil and paper are always their starting point. In spite of what we learned in geography class… Malmö is in Baztan. To put it another way… Why did you decide to call your studio Malmö?

We want Malmö to carry on being in Baztan, even though we didn’t learn that in geography either. In fact, the story of the studio is a simple one. We were looking for a name and we were influenced by more than one factor. For one thing, we wanted a name like the group Lisabö (we’re big fans) and
we liked the umlaut. We wanted a short name and we found it by chance in The Radio Dept song “Strange things will happen”. When we were looking for information about the group, we found out they were from Malmö. We liked the name and, well, we like Swedish culture too! The name makes us feel universal, even though we’re proud to come from a small town and working in Baztan is a real luxury. We also thought the contrast between the name and names here was interesting. We also liked the name Minsk, but we found out there were studios with that name in Barcelona and Paris.

Thanks to the alphabet you sent us we realised that Indurain is still who he always was and that pizzas are cut using nunchakus… How did you get the idea to make an alphabet and send it out?

The alphabet was created not long ago from the “36 days of type” movement on Instagram, which was Rafa Goicoechea and Nina Sans’s project. Every day for 36 days you had to make a new type of typography with no limits: the only challenge you had was with yourself. We had a go to start with and got completely hooked. It was completely free design (which doesn’t normally happen), without any conditions; time was the only obstacle. We did all 36 days, and that meant all sorts of people saw our work and we got to meet lots of very interesting designers and illustrators. We made a few adjustments and realised that the poster we had made with all the letters together was the image of the studio. So we sent it to all the social networks which had supported us and collaborations could spring up in the most interesting places. (If anybody wants to get hold of the poster, it’s available for 10 euros.)

Are you the type of illustrators who spend the whole day making sketches? Or do you put your pencils and felt pens down when you leave work?

Obviously we like doing other things too, but we often find it difficult to differentiate between work and leisure. For one thing, we give all we’ve got at work and, for another, we use sketches we’ve done at home in our work and projects at the studio.

Nowadays computers are used all the time, but we’re old-fashioned types who think hand-drawn organic things still have a special charm. What do you think?

We like doing things by hand, of course, but we also use digital formats. We start every process using our pencils, it’s the best way for us. We try to keep that special pencil touch throughout the work we do. To do that, we take special care of the drawings and their textures; we also love letterpress, and use that in some projects too. But there’s no denying the digital world makes things easier: the ability to do quick colour tests, not to mention CTRL+Z...

You master a lot of design styles and forms (realism, comics, minimal, detail-packed…) But do you have a favourite way of drawing?

We like looking around a lot, trying out different styles and textures… At first not having a fixed style used to give us quite a headache. We had the sensation we didn’t have our own personality. But, over time, we’ve realised it’s not like that. It gives us liveliness and, when we start each project, there are many doors open for us. Recently we’ve felt at home with a lowbrow style, design with bits of comics and cartoon aesthetics. But we still have a big struggle ahead of us with realism.