Client: Norsk Form
Type of work: Logo and helmet decor

Type of client: Design / foreign aid
Year produced: 2011

For about five years me and my designstudio were a part of the state financed "Design without borders"-program, which included facilitating foreign designers to come to Norway and learn from our processes (and also teach us a thing or two).

And the other part was that program sent Norwegian designers to development countries to help with various projects. One of these designers was the industrial designer Vanja Steinbru that designed a special helmet for use by Ugandan motorcycle taxis (known as bodas). None of these professionals used helmet, and they complained that it was too hot, that they would not be able to hear customers whistling (that's how bodas get hailed), and many also felt that helmets were not particularly fresh.

She adressed the heat and sound issues by making a helmet with many ventilation holes, and to make it fresh she involved my designstudio where me and Ivan Barigye started developing a concept that the locals could relate to. The national bird in Uganda is the Grey-crowned Crane, which has a characteristic "helmet" on its head. So after some sketches (and name changes) we developed a logo around that.

Since my colleague Ivan grew up in Uganda he had deep knowledge of Ugandan culture, and a big part of that is the DIY spirit where people love to modify, redesign and hack clothing, furniture and vehicles. Anything coming from straight from the factory is considered to be a bit boring, so a bit of fresh paint, some bling and fashionable street styling could be the difference between boring and fresh.

So we suggested that the helmets should encourage and inspire people to do this type of modification, and Ivan made some great examples of how this could be done.

This project was on display for the "Design for the other 90%" at Smithsonian Cooper Design museum in 2011, and also at the "design without borders" exhibition at DogA in Oslo in 2012.


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