Hygge (See Hygge on Wikipedia), the well-established Norwegian & Danish concept of warmth, togetherness, and coziness at home, has become a dominant design buzz word over the past couple of years, and it appears to have considerable staying power. While it is primarily associated with home décor and interior design, there are lessons in the aesthetic of hygge that translate well to web and graphic design, and given the current popularity of hygge, using some of these elements will give your designs a current appeal!
Hygge is all about simple, warm pleasures. Two experiences that seem to sum up the hygge are a candlelit family dinner around a rustic table, and wearing warm, woolly socks next to a wood fire, in the company of good friends. It’s strong on the artisanal, home-made feel, far from the mechanized, industrial world that is so omnipresent in our 21st century society.
This picture seems to sum up so much of what hygge is. This thatched brick cottage, surrounded by informal plantings of greenery in its rural setting, exudes welcoming warmth and down-home simplicity.
You can take the essence of that experience out of the photograph and translate it into a graphic or web design by using the colors that predominate. That fresh, clean green of the foliage, the muted terra-cotta of the brick, and the understated brown of the thatch, set off by a judicious use of white, can recreate the same calming, cozy feel on a web page or poster. Especially for a site promoting a lifestyle product meant to appeal to those looking for more hygge in their life, it’s a perfect choice.
This mouth-watering picture says it all, doesn’t it? Delicious, simple, food close to nature is a hallmark of hygge. Imagine using the colors red and creamy white, with a brown background to keep it anchored, to bring that homey, natural feel to your design. It’s a muted feel, even with the use of red.
And the rustic, hand-painted pattern on the china, complete with the imperfections that add to its charm, are part of what makes this picture so hygge. The simple use of two colors and black line drawing create an uncomplicated, relaxing feel. Incorporating that idea into your design could mean using a repetitive geometric design, hand-drawn and lightly colored, or sketching a simplified flower shape, using watercolor highlights to add more visual interest.
Either way, avoid an over-finished look. The charm of this design concept is in the slight waviness of a hand-drawn line, or the color spilling out past the outline. Without overdoing it, celebrate the imperfections, because that is what makes it hygge.
Hygge is not a new thing. There’s always been a place for this aesthetic, and in its native Denmark it’s been a well-established concept for a long time. While it may not always be at the forefront of popular culture, it’s always going to be around, and while it is enjoying its current wave of popularity, it’s good to look at ways to borrow from it to keep your designs fresh and up-to-date!