An expert and innovator in the media, marketing and creative space, Jakob Trollbäck is the Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Trollbäck + Company (along with many other titles that include, DJ, writer and TED Talk host). Hailing from Stockholm, Jakob's work showcases clean and systematic lines and an attention to detail that evokes classic Scandanavian design. We asked the Global Goals Creative Invite judge a few questions about process and what he is looking for in the submissions. 


TH: What’s the first thing you do when you get a brief?
JT: Briefs are hard to write and surprisingly, they are not always 100% honest. They are very often tainted by company politics and written in a buoyant consultant-driven language. This makes many briefs surprisingly similar. The first thing we do is try to decipher what is driving the brief, and that means finding out everything we can about the client and the market. We often function like therapists, asking hard questions that can help our clients find and express their soul.

TH: If you weren't a designer what would you be?
JT: A writer and a DJ. 

TH: What advice would you give your 20 year old self?
JT: That you have all time in the world and that it will be ok.

TH: What inspired you about the Global Goals and how did that translate into your work?
JT: How could I not be inspired about it?! We have so many problems in the world—including that we are making it inhospitable for humans—and here is a plan to fix it all. It’s a monumental opportunity for change, and this change has to come sooner than later. We can just hope that we apply the breaks before it’s too late. That’s the big challenge, especially when it comes to climate change.
It has been extremely rewarding to translate a very lengthy and complex document into something that everybody can understand. The work has included so many disciplines; strategy, writing, diplomacy, design, globalism—and I am very proud of the result. It is bright and positive, bold and beautiful.

TH: What’s your favourite thing about what you do?
JT: Figuring out new ways to communicate messages and information, so that people will stop for a second and take it to heart.

TH: What was the most important moment in your career?
JT: The first was buying a Macintosh computer. The second moving to New York.

TH: What are the most important qualities to possess as a designer/creative?

  • An interest in culture, present and past. That’s where all your ingredients will come from. 
  • To discard everything that means nothing.
  • A playful, non-linear mind. 
  • A passion for solving puzzles.
  • An understanding for how other people see things and what drives them. 
  • To be revolutionary and sensitive too.
  • An understanding of Beauty and Logic. 

TH: Who inspires you?
JT: People who can express themselves through music, art, literature. Generous people. Happy people. People with energy.

TH: What’s the most beautiful piece of art/design/animation you’ve seen lately?
JT: I just got a new Max Bill lithograph for my office.


TH: What is the most common mistake a designer can make?
JT: To be self-obsessed. If we didn’t love to be creative, humans would never have reached this far in evolution. But even if a designer always should be fueled by the joy of creativity, you can only make really good design if you have the capacity to see your design in context and from an outside perspective. If you are driven by self-expression, you should probably be an artist instead.

TH: All of the Global Goals are important, which ones resonate with you the most?
JT: Goal 5, Gender Equality. I am so tired of men stepping on women and destroying the planet with their stupid egos. At the same time, Goal 13Climate Action, supersede all other goals. If we fail there, everything else will be pointless. However, they might be more interconnected than you think because if we reach gender equality really fast, I’m sure that women will stop climate change.

Take a look at The Global Goals Creative Invite and create artwork or photography inspired by one of the 17 goals that speaks out to you.