Alva Skog has an idea

You might notice some cheeky new artwork during your transfers by this Swedish artist. Here's how they came to life.

The best type of work sometimes doesn’t feel like work at all. For the Brand Design team at WeTransfer, commissioning spot illustrations is part of the job and one of our favorite things to do. It’s where our values––creativity, design, embracing “weirdness”––meet in celebration. Spot illustrations, if you’re wondering, are micro-narratives and visuals that appear at key moments in the transfer process. They’re virtual cheerleaders, a high-five, and that friend that sends a “Pint?🍻” text after a long day at work. They exist to make you smile and to give you a pat on the back (because you deserve it).

For our latest commission, we worked with Stockholm-based artist Alva Skog who’s known for their cheeky, smile-inducing illustrations. Instead of showing you a password-protected message, you might meet a Gandalf-type protecting your password (among other graphics we hope will delight users). As a visual brand built for creatives by creatives, Alva’s imaginative take on everyday moments feels, well, like us! Hear more from the creator below.

What was the inspiration behind your characters?

The spot illustrations are small in size, but I wanted them to have a big impact. I wanted the characters to have a direction, movement, and purpose––or be a playful spin on the captions. 

For the wallpapers (background on I played with scale and perspective to reflect feelings I’ve had during lockdown. 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. 

What was the creative process like for this project?

I was given a lot of freedom to come up with different ideas for each spot, which made it a lot of fun. After a few video calls, rounds of roughs and color roughs later, we decided on the final illustrations.

You know an Alva Skog illustration when you see it. How did you develop your style?

My style is constantly evolving, but at the core is a queer and feminist take that affects how I represent gender and identity positions. As a non-binary transperson this is something of great importance to me. 

How do you come up with ideas?

I start by sketching tiny roughs. By sketching and drawing, new ideas pop up. Sometimes I search for the word online and see what visuals are connected to it. (Usually they’re not interesting, but might still trigger an idea.) I often go on WePresent to find inspiration. I also speak to people, like I might ask a studiomate what they think of when I say a word or theme. Then I go from there.

Have the pandemic and lockdown measures impacted your creativity?

This past year gave me space to really figure out the direction I want my work to go. It gave me perspective on my work-life balance, and how my mental and physical health affect my work. Because I'm spending so much time at home, I am making more personal work, which makes me happy. This in turn has influenced and expanded my professional work. 

Thank you, Alva!