K2 – The Blog

This ain’t no vacation blog – Iceland

Posted in Guilty Pleasures, Our Humble Opinions by K2Creative on February 17, 2011

I went to Iceland.  In the winter.  No, i haven’t lost my mind (yet).   I don’t know what possessed me to do it – but now I want to go back.
I’m not going to sit here and rave about how great it was (even though it was great) or about how gorgeous and surreal the terrain is (though it’s pretty much amazing).  I’m going to talk about the design aesthetic.  That’s right – I went on a crazy trip where I hiked a glacier, ate whale and puffin, saw the Northern Lights, slipped on ice and almost fell into a massive waterfall – and this blog is about none of that. But if you’re nice and read the whole thing, you’ll get some eye candy at the end.  🙂

So let’s talk aesthetics.  Not to get into too much detail, but Iceland isn’t exactly “lush.”  There aren’t lots of trees because of all all the volcanoes.  In the winter, it seems like there really isn’t any full-on daylight at all – just sunrise and sunset.  But this combination of millions of years of volcanic explosions mixed with constant changes in the light makes for one gorgeous landscape.  There are tales of elves and gnomes and other magical creatures that come out of this country – and it seems almost plausible.  It looks like another world, with tiny caves and moss covered homes built into mountains and black sand. Oh, and the Blue Lagoon – don’t let the tourists turn you off, it’s quite beautiful.  Iceland can be a bit stark, jagged and contrasty (is that even a word?) if you look at it from a “glass half empty” perspective.  But – what better place to highlight pops of color?

Their jewelry and fashion designers reflect the “look” of the country in their products.  I was inspired by how everything seemed to fit – and tempted to buy some pretty expensive pieces, particularly from two designers :  Gullkinst Helgu and Spakmannspjarir.  Images in this blog are pulled direct from their sites.

So now to the advertising – Iceland’s advertising (in my opinion), be it fashion, lifestyle, coporate, etc – also LOOKS like the country.  I don’t know how else to explain it, so I’ll just show you, highlighting a photographer (I had to search far and wide to find his name) that shoots a lot of it – Ari Magg.

I don’t represent Ari (he’s with Brown Bag here in the States).  In fact, writing this won’t make me a damn dollar – but his work is the epitome of my trip and how it make me feel.

Ari shoots for 66 North, Iceland’s big outerwear provider.  Their stuff is great – hip, on trend, and WARM.  It’s not bulky, but instead sort of sexy, in a rugged way.  And the quality of craftsmanship is impressive.  I’ve seen their stuff here, and once received an invite to a fashion show they were doing a few years back – but in Iceland it’s a legendary company with advertisements everywhere.  And I love their ads.  Check them out – the imagery below was shot by Ari Magg.

I think it’s the feeling I get from the pictures – a sense of irony, the “look” of Iceland and that stark, Icelandic background with pops of color.   It’s EXACTLY what the country is like – and I can’t find the name of the Art Director/Creative who came up with this genius idea!!!  If you know, pass it along.  They deserve credit.

GO TO ICELAND.  Their economy isn’t doing so great, and they need tourists.  I can’t wait to take a summer trip to Reykjavik, ride a crazy looking Icelandic horse, and see live versions of the puffin I ate.  You should go to.  I can guarantee you’ll have a great time.  I’m including pictures some of my pics below.  But if you want to get a feel for the “Land of fire and ice” take a look at it’s artists and advertisers.  You’ll totally get it.  And you may not want to come back.

Oh, and a big shout out to our Conair client – I loved walking into my hotel room and seeing a Babyliss blow dryer!


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