Member News March 7, 2017
by Lauren Festa
Launching today on Kickstarter, ADC Member Jens Marklund and his partner Axel Lindmarker have created a physical object that will, no doubt, be a must-have tool for designers of all disciplines. Maybe more importantly, it looks damn good. The Lindlund Ruler came out of trial and error — including attempts to build prototypes for backpacks and ladders — the pair decided to improve a tool they use everyday: a ruler. This isn’t the first foray into collaborative projects for the SVA students. Over the past few years, they’ve worked on many design and advertising projects together, being the first sophomores in SVA history to win a One Show pencil and a CLIO award. We’ve no doubt the Lindlund Ruler will be another hit. Watch it in action.
What it is:
The name Lindlund was something we used whenever we worked together on something, so it just kind of stuck. It’s a mix of our last names Lindmarker and Marklund, where we removed the “mark” part. ‘Lind’ is Swedish for the linden tree, also known as small-leaved lime. ‘Lund’ on the other hand is a Swedish word for a grove. So together we form a grove of linden trees.
Throughout the years we had been collecting a bunch of different rulers, all with different purposes. The problem was that they were either too big to carry around, too specialized or didn’t include enough measurements to be practical. All our T-squares are impossible to fit in a bag due to their shape. We have really precise (and pricey) rulers that are only used for measurements, but since they are made out of thin plastic film, you’d have to use a second ruler for cutting. The ones we liked the sizes of were either too basic, made out of plastic or flimsy steel, and would slip if you tried cutting with them.
The final prototype only took us a few weeks to create, however we did have about 6-7 versions before this one. Starting off in cardboard, then acrylic and finally aluminium. We had the final prototypes laser cut locally and then found a great family owned place around the corner from us to do the anodizing (perks of living in Bushwick). Me and Axel actually ended up sanding the final prototypes (ten of them) by hand in my apartment in order to save time and cut costs before handing them off to be anodized.
We’re both very rational — we never take offense to each other’s feedback and can quickly get our points across to one another, which saves us time and let’s us focus on what’s important.
I love that you guys decided to make something physical instead of like, an app!
Well thank you! The thing with making an app is that the people who come up with the idea are usually not into programming. They then become very dependent on 3rd parties, which either ends up with a buggy product or a huge bill as they keep charging for every minor tweak. With the Lindlund Ruler, we’ve never really been dependent on one specific person. I have a brief background in metalworking and also spent a summer at an industrial design studio, while Axel has a lot of experience making all kinds of prototyping and can be extremely detail oriented.
Who would find this useful?
Anyone working in both physical and digital. It’s aimed to bridge that gap. All the rulers we’ve seen on the market today looks and works the same as they did 50 years ago. Sketching out ideas on paper is usually a lot faster than on a computer, however most people finalize their designs digitally — so we developed the ruler to make that workflow a lot easier.
It’s more about making a ruler that’s super versatile than one that’s good at only one unique thing. It should be useful to every designer, not just specific groups.
Have you given it to designers to try? What has been the response?
Great question! When we started this process, we reached out to a bunch of graphic and industrial designers, architects and friends of ours in order to get their feedback on what they look for in a ruler. The response we got was overwhelming — people really have a passion for their rulers! Some even modified their current rulers with rubber backing so they wouldn’t slip when cutting. We collected a lot of great feedback from that outreach, and most of it ended up in the final product actually.
Was there any designs that didn’t make the final cut?
We knew what size we wanted it to be from the start. There were some ideas being flown around of making it foldable, but we knew that would take away the sturdiness and strength of it, so we never went anywhere with that. Another feature some early prototypes had was a bunch of small holes along the ruler. The idea was to use two pens and use one to create a centre point and the other to draw a perfect circle at different sizes. It worked OK, but rotating a regular sized ruler in a notebook that’s not perfectly flat ended up being too hard.
The final ruler is made out of airplane grade aluminium. We fell in love this material due to its stiffness while also being very very light. Longer steel rulers usually flex a lot when handling them, and plastic is not an option if you ever want to use it for cutting. The finish and texture we were looking for also made aluminium a perfect match.
We really hope the project takes off. How can people make this ruler a reality?
You can support us through our Kickstarter page, anything helps! All our tiers have free shipping within the US. We also have some early bird specials on there, if you’re quick.