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How to Incorporate Hygge into Graphic Design
By: LISSA VanderJagt
Design
Feb 5, 2019

How to Incorporate Hygge Into Your Designs

Every winter, I find myself with a touch of sadness... especially after the holidays are over. The cold weather, lack of sunlight, and the disappearance of the warmth and cheer around town during the holidays is a recipe for the biggest "blah" feeling. This year, I've decided to combat the down-in-the-dumps feeling by incorporating more hygge into my life. Hygge (pronounced ‘hoo-gah’), the Scandinavian term for “coziness," is all about a lifestyle shift to inspire happiness, things like adding warm lights and candles to your space, wearing sherpa-like sweaters, eating soul-comforting foods, spending time with friends and family, watching Rom-Coms under furry blankets, and building a roaring fire in your fireplace. 

After incorporating these things into my home life, I wondered how I could add more hygge to my everyday design work: What kinds of things could I do to make others feel that coziness that replaces the winter blues with warmth and comfort? Just as eliminating the messes from your lifestyle can reduce stress and cause mental clarity and calmness, eliminating the disorganized chaos from your designs can also evoke warmth, comfort, and trust in your brand.

Traits of Hygge

Besides evoking feelings of warmth and comfort, anything described as hygge is also known to make folks feel:

  • Togetherness
  • Safety
  • Pleasantness
  • Wholeness
  • Equality
  • Familiarity

Applying these feelings to your designs can help create brand consistency and trust with your audience, which poses several benefits to your brand for the long haul.

While Hygge in interior design is generally characterized as a neutral color scheme, soft lighting, and lots of varying textures, hygge in graphic design can be represented in a different way. Try playing around with hygge in your designs with the following tips!

Illustrative patterns

Hygge being a Scandinavian concept, classic hygge design elements are reminiscent of folkloric-type illustrations. While you may see similar illustrative patterns in interior design elements like wallpaper or framed prints, these patterns can also translate beautifully to graphic designs for digital assets like social media graphics to print assets like invitations.

A hand-crafted touch

Classic hygge designs also incorporate a lot of hand-made elements, from illustrated or hand-drawn patterns to hand-written text or script. This is where you can have fun with sketching and illustrating fun iconography. Often times, these little sketches are of objects like fruits and veggies, animals, or plants and trees. Creating your own font for graphics or a website is also very hygge-esque—especially if it's a simple, minimalistic script. More opportunity to play around and try new things!

Geometric shapes & strong lines

In addition to hand-drawn iconography and lots of nature elements, hygge designs also feature geometric shapes with strong lines. Well-defined shapes like triangles, circles, diamonds, pentagons, and more that reflect real-life objects are very common in hygge designs. These shapes are also typically hand-drawn and reflect minimalism.

You'll see minimalism expressed in other ways in hygge designs as well, in graphic design and interior design. Think IKEA-style minimalism: simple color scheme, clean lines, the use of white space, and neutral color schemes.

Homely textures

Incorporating textures reminiscent of warm, cozy elements you'd find in your own home is also a contributing factor to hygge designs. Things like rich hardwood floors, clean ceramic, fuzzy rugs, earthy jute, and soft watercolors add an elevated feeling of comfort to greeting cards, social graphics, and web designs.

Contrasting colors that pop

A contrasting color palette is a quintessential trait of hygge. Pairing warm and cool colors, as well as subtle, monochromatic tones (black and white), adds pops of color or contrast to a design, making for an attention-grabbing visual for your followers.

Neutral colors for balance

And to balance out those contrasting colors, hygge designs also incorporate neutral colors like white and cream to breathe some calmness and stillness to its designs. As we mentioned earlier, working in negative space will also add a sense of balance and comfort to your designs.

Want to incorporate Hygge into your designs? Team TIS can help!

If graphic design isn’t quite your expertise, leave it to your Brand Marketing Ally to create a hygge-inspired design campaign for you! We’ll work with your key stakeholders to learn about your needs and if and how we can help to create a fresh look for your brand. Contact us today!

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