Swedish Design Icons: Olle Eksell


Olle Eksell was a revered Swedish designer and illustrator. Born in 1918 in Kopparberg (the place not the cider) he studied and then settled in Stockholm with his fashion designer wife Ruth. Eksell made his name in advertising, perhaps his most iconic creation being his Mazetti Cacao Eye design, above, developed for the chocolate and confectionery manufacturer and now adorning the walls of many a stylish home (check out his dedicated instagram feed).

His talent extended across several disciplines, advertising, graphic design, illustration and writing and his creations range from the simple and graphic to the fantastical and abstract. He was way ahead of his time, just take a look at some of his illustrative work. I particularly love his depictions of Stockholm, years later they still capture the scene perfectly. They’re a superb balance of precision and crazy.


I want at least two of them to feature on my newly painted hallway and thankfully that is a possibility as the Scandinavian Design Center continue to sell his work, so take your pick from posters, tote bags, trays or tea towels.

If you’re interested in finding out more about the man behind the art then I recommend you watch this series of interviews with his wife Ruth. There’s also a pretty comprehensive book available which documents both his professional and private practice.



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