Stockholm’s 10 Best Designed Startups: Part 1

This is part of a series of posts on Stockholm's best designed startups. Read more about the methodology here. art two has the top two best designed startups. (Update 2013-05-15: Thanks to Jonny Strömberg I've added Dribbble links to a couple of the designers of these sites).


Press release distribution service mynewsdesk bill themselves as "an integrated one-stop-solution news distribution service" that allows its users to create and distribute press releases. 

Mynewsdesk score well for their black, white and red colour palette, which works well with their chosen Helvetica for their typography. The designers have thoughtfully specified Helvetica Neue in their CSS too. Copy is simple, informative and to the point.

mynewsdesk 24
Imagery 5
Typography 6
Copy 7
Colour 6
Responsive 0

Mynewdesk could stand to improve their imagery, which on their homepage relies on user-uploaded pictures accompanying their press releases. On their product tour however, I liked their icons, which are drawn in a simple, bold, monolinear style that marries well with Helvetica. No responsive design from Mynewdesk, cruelly scoring them a zero in that category. Designer: Jonny Strömberg


9. Truecaller

truecaller.png

Truecaller is a collaborative global phone directory. The idea is that users upload their own contact details, which can then be searched by other users. It's a compelling idea, if reliant on the trust of its users, though Truecaller currently boast almost a billion numbers.

Truecaller score well on imagery, making good use of a set of hand-drawn illustrations reminiscent of Dropbox. The drawings are carried over to their video, maintaining a nice sense of brand continuity.

Truecaller 25
Imagery 6
Typography 5
Copy 3
Colour 5
Responsive 6

Truecaller could definitely improve their copy however, which is too long in places, particularly in their product tour. Nonetheless a decent responsive design scores them a 6. They drop a few points there due to a few issues with their typography which relies on some slightly anonymous Helvetica.


The ink has barely dried on Reupp's HTML yet they sneak in at number 8 on the list. Reupp's idea is that users can pledge a small donation to encourage the creators of their favourite shows to create another series. It's an interesting spin on the Kickstarter model. If the show returns, the creators receive your money; if not, it stays in Paypal until you decide otherwise.

(It's a shame naming isn't a category, because if it was, Reupp's implicit reference to The Wire would surely top the list).

Reupp 26
Imagery 7
Typography 7
Copy 6
Colour 6
Responsive 0

Reupp start off with a bright and inviting colour palette that is enhanced with a few dashes of yellow and green accents. They make good use of Helvetica at scale and dead ringer for Proxima Nova, Monserrat, for their typography, though the two faces are similar enough that one would do.

Copy at Reupp is perhaps a little short but otherwise effective. Sadly no responsive design from Reupp, which costs them a higher slot on the list. One to watch – no pun intended.


New hotness Tictail, the "Tumblr for ecommerce", allows anyone to quickly and easily set up an online store. Funded by among others Balderton Capital, Tictail have quickly grown to 10,000 users in 10 months and are enjoying a great reputation in the Stockholm scene. 

Tictail's colour palette is an Ikea-flavoured mix of yellow and blue, with a warm neutral base and green accents for their call-to-action. 

Tictail 28
Imagery 5
Typography 5
Copy 5
Colour 7
Responsive 6

Imagery is a little scant, save for a few carefully chosen screenshots and example stores, but the excellent design of their app comes across best in their video. Copy is short and emphasises Tictail's price – free – but perhaps at the expense of some desirable detail on the product. For typography we get Open Sans which could be improved with a more restricted range of sizes to better develop a hierarchy through the page. A good responsive  implementation rounds out the offering, though I miss some navigation – the "hamburger" icon kicks me down to the footer which is a little unexpected. Designer: Kaj Drobin


Social shopping site Helishopter aims to bring your friends into your purchasing decisions in a Pinterest-reminiscent interface. A mature colour palette of greys and slightly desaturated red works well and is distinctive. Helishopter make the best of Open Sans for their typography with a well-organised set of sizes and weights. Copy is descriptive and information rich, though could be tightened up and made shorter.

Helishopter 29
Imagery 7
Typography 8
Copy 6
Colour 8
Responsive 0

Helishopter score highly for imagery with a nice set of line-drawn illustrations adding texture and interest to their header image. The illustrations are carried over to their photography adding a distinctive touch. Sadly no responsive design from Helishopter which costs them a higher place on the list.

A lovely bit of UI worth highlighting on Helishopter is their "try it without logging in" feature – very user friendly. Don't miss their beautiful favicon either. Designer: Gustaf Zetterlund


Discussion app Kundo, with a focus on customer service, comes in right in the middle of the list. They benefit from a strong score in the other categories because I just can't get behind their childish display type, Umabold. There are certainly better alternatives, Omnes perhaps. 

Nonetheless, Kundo make good use of a range of illustrations for imagery. Their line-drawing figures are different enough from their flatter, less hand-drawn icons that together they avoid a clash.

Kundo 30
Imagery 6
Typography 4
Copy 5
Colour 7
Responsive 8

Copy is emotive and focuses on results, though I'd like to know a little more about what makes Kundo different from other discussion forum offerings. Kundo score well for their colour too, with a warm neutral ground making the most of their icons. (Don't miss the scrolling effect on the blimp in the header). Finally, an accomplished responsive design that retains the warm feel of the website scores them a very respectable 8.


Perhaps Stockholm's best known startup, Spotify have achieved an impressive set of negotiations with the record labels to now be available in 35 countries, from Andorra to New Zealand. The music service allows you to stream virtually any song, instantly. Spotify have a couple of different landing pages on the go, but the one I have evaluated here is the one you see above. 

Spotify 31
Imagery 7
Typography 6
Copy 5
Colour 6
Responsive 7

Spotify score highly for their imagery, particularly their idiosyncratic set of photographs. These focus on the sort of experiences that are enhanced by Spotify – relaxing on the couch, going for a hike and so on – instead of more explicit shots of the app itself. 

A somewhat hipster filter has been applied to the photos, making for a muted and mature colour palette. Spotify's brand green is effective and distinctive. Spotify's copy is good; that said, maybe everyone knows what Spotify does at this stage, but I would have liked to have seen a clearer presentation of Spotify's core streaming feature. Finally, a successful responsive design finishes us off.


Now we're getting close to the top of the list. Surftrain, as yet in private beta, allows its users to record their voices while browsing the web, creating a story that can be viewed by others. Examples on their site now include a trip through an ecommerce store, with the narrator describing the products and categories she likes.

Surftrain score highly for imagery, making very effective use of a dramatic city scape of Stockholm.

Surftrain 33
Imagery 8
Typography 7
Copy 6
Colour 6
Responsive 6

The image works well because of the copy space in the sky which Surftrain have used for their call to action. An intense filter defines a "milky coffee" colour palette. Copy is strong too, both brief and descriptive. Typography relies on the beautiful (and ubiquitous) Proxima Nova, and Surftrain could well add something more distinctive to their offering – perhaps even recalling their accomplished script logo. A responsive design scores Surftrain additional points, although they could improve the scaling and cropping of their photos on mobile viewports, which currently just leaves those coffee-coloured skies visible without any texture. Designer: Christer Lindgard