by Dilpreet BhullarJan 27, 2023
Outlanders Design is a branding and graphic design studio in Copenhagen, Denmark, set up by Design Director and Creative Head Tameem Sankari and Communications Manager Anja Dalby, that creates stunning branding solutions possessed of an unmistakable aesthetic sensibility. The studio’s work is rooted within Sankari’s inspired creative vision, which is born out of a deep appreciation for retro video game art, and it is difficult to resist categorising many of Outlanders’ projects as being artistic endeavours first and foremost. This is a testament to their artistic touch; one that seems to work surprisingly well within an increasingly saturated creative industry, and one that has garnered the studio a "100 per cent client satisfaction rate," as they mention in an introduction.
The branding and design studio took shape through a shared dissatisfaction with what Sankari and Dalby see as stuffy agency processes, and set out to combine a fast-paced, client-centric approach, with a critical tool that Sankari identifies as lacking within the realm of branding agencies, even though, as he mentions, it has existed since the 1950s: the use of creative coding within their design practice.
Sankari discusses coding as he sees it in a conversation with STIR, saying “I think it’s something that is really important to include in the DNA of any studio or any agency, especially when it comes to design and branding, because it has huge potential for saving time and creating something really different.” As a designer and visual artist, his approach to creative coding is rooted in the past in more ways than one: it takes an aspect of digital technology that is quite old, and channels it through a lens formed by his fascination for video games in his youth. And yet, it is starkly forward thinking, allowing Outlanders to approach their client work in a manner that sidesteps current trends, in order to create bespoke visuals that carry their personal signature across projects.
Outlanders is highly selective of the projects that they undertake, using the ethicality of potential clients as a major determining factor, along with their capacity to instigate evolution within their practice with each design challenge Outlanders is posed. Dalby comments on this, telling STIR, “I think we really find inspiration from our clients…you will never find Outlanders designing corporate brochures or something like that. We like the futuristic projects; the Outlanders projects…our clients come to us with things we hadn’t even thought about ourselves. So, it’s not really just us who define Outlanders. It’s very much our clients, and whatever project they come to us with, that’s what we will do, as long as they stick to our basic ethical values.” Sankari adds to this, “And then there’s always us adding our twist. The expectation of the client is lower than the expectation of the designer sometimes. So, we always need to bring that twist and the value that we have as Outlanders, and put it in a project that excites them about what they do, and excites us about what we do.”
As the world of creative agencies begins to dip its toes into the Metaverse, Outlanders is already looking further: Sankari mentions that the studio already has a Metaverse office and that this has become something of a buzzword now. In his words, “Everybody used it, we did it, it’s done. What’s next?”
To him, organisational vision is critical in answering that question, and moving forward, he and Dalby are eager to explore the possibilities for contemporary design that sits even further along the bleeding edge of technology: Outlanders may soon tap into the creative value that stem cells hold for example. Sankari mentions that stem cells have already been taught to play games, and that acquiring the data from such projects could yield fascinating results when converted to visual art. While it remains to be seen what such efforts will yield, the future is undoubtedly exciting for the branding and graphic design studio’s practice.
Tap the cover video to watch the entire conversation with Tameem Sankari and Anja Dalby.