A Fair(l)y Tall Tale

April 14, 2015

Any resemblance to actual persons or workplaces is not purely coincidental.

Once upon an Easter time, there was the Wicked Witch from the West. She seemed to be stuck somewhere between total spring-depression and a full-blown midlife crisis. Thus, Mighty King Göran of Brand Manual Sweden, seeing her vexation, recommended a one week Enchanted Exchange Excursion to a Kingdom not so very far away. The witch graciously accepted. And off I flew…

The first thing I noticed upon arrival in Tallinn was the tremendous time difference. Or should I say difference in time? In Sweden, in general, and in Stockholm, in particular, (note the advanced coma use) people talk about how they need more hours in the day. But not in Tallinn. In the magic kingdom of Estonia there is more time!

Not even while riding a high-speed broom wearing seven-league boots could I have reached the hotel any more expeditiously. Only twenty and five minutes after the airplane reconnected with Mother Earth, I already found myself checked in at the hotel unpacking my portmanteau.

This could only have been magic. Or possibly service design?

The walk to the office next morning was only 3 minutes. Did I madly miss travelling by public transport with the Ogres, Minions and Gremlins during the week? No, I did not. Indeed, instead of spending time commuting, I enjoyed the time to take a detour with my colleague and project manager, Princess Mari, to the harbour. Together, we gazed out at the Windy Baltic Sea from atop of the roof of a Soviet era concert & ice skating hall, (Linnahall, which is now thankfully abandoned as the ice had melted a long time ago). On an another occasion, in concert with Wizard of Design Pello and Design Sorceress Sonya, I had the most pleasant opportunity to visit the Hilma af Klint exhibition (in KUMU), which I couldn’t find the time to see when it was in Stockholm.

The Mothership of Service Design in Estonia, (as I take it most of you already realise) is wisely run by The Magical Siblings of Mikkin – Kaarel and Dan. But did you know that Dan is possessed with the Special Power of Knowing-It-All there is to know about the history of Tallinn Old Town? We even saw a haunted medieval tower just before setting foot into The Hidden Restaurant (NOKU) where we had a meal of Enchanted Pork in Plum Sauce.

But was it all about Crazy Fun and Inspiring Free Time? No! It was about even more Crazy Fun and Inspiring Work Time! The clients of Brand Manual Tallinn are of course just as Magical as the Company working with them. During my short stay I had the opportunity to wring out iconography for a brand whose products enable Restless Souls to Blissfully Sleep for 100 years, construct packaging for Ecological Skincare Products with Secret Ingredients, brought from mysterious bogs of Estonia and design the brand for a client that will make your Dream Castle appear before your very eyes with just the Click of a Magic Mouse!

And just when things could not get any better, they did.

The Magical Week came to an Enchanting conclusion on Friday night through the celebration of the sixth anniversary of Brand Manual. This party was also used as an excuse to launch the service design book ”How to Have Your Cake and Eat It Too”, penned by sorcerer J.Margus Klaar. The party lasted well until after the sun came up next day. There was only Laughter and Dancing until the festivities drew their final breath, and everyone just disappeared, as if by Magic.

And, because Magic is everywhere, then all good things do not come to an end. Instead, Valiant Prince Mihkel from the Kingdom of Tallinn is visiting and working in Stockholm this week.

And the tale continues…