Maria Fällström and Alexandra Lund A project that encourages collaboration

Cover Image - Maria Fällström and Alexandra Lund

A four-letter word, a couple of colors and two animators working their magic – that’s Words and Pals. It was started by creatives Maria Fällström and Alexandra Lund as a way to continue to collaborate after graduating from the Swedish creative business school Hyper Island.

Today, the Instagram project showcases the most wonderful animations created by both artists. From a skateboarder tripping over a heap of sand to a matryoshka doll tilting from one side to the other, every new addition is a delightful surprise.

The pals decided to start the project after Alex moved to London. Maria explains, “I wanted to make more animations but found it hard to do it alone; I felt I needed a framework and someone to feel responsible to.”

“Words and Pals was a way of still working together while encouraging each other to keep tinkering with animations in our spare time,” Alex adds.

One of the pair selects the word – so far they’ve illustrated and animated lost, fish, sand and tilt. The other is in charge of choosing the color palette. The next time, they switch round.

“We didn’t really have a strategy for picking the words, but after a while we realized that all the words we chose had four letters so we decided to stick to that. It makes it quicker to come up with something. Other than that, they’re completely random!” Alex says.

The way the duo presents the animations adds to the appeal. First, they reveal the word, using the colors they have limited themselves to. Then we see both interpretations. So for example, “fish” is first translated into a twirling string with bubbles floating up out of it. In the next post we see more literal explanation of the word – a cat fantasizing about its next meal. It showcases the animators’ great skill to tell a short story in just a couple of frames.

“I often have a little story or feeling behind my animations, but it’s perhaps not immediately clear for someone watching them. Maria shows a lot of story, a lot of humor and is better at drawing than me! I think she had the most fun with the sand animation, I love that one,” Alex says.

It’s also a nice way to compare how both creatives tackle the challenges of using only a couple of colors. For them, this limitation is actually a welcome change compared to the thousands of choices you are confronted with every day. “It’s great! The nature of this project is to do the first thing that comes to mind and having a set color palette just speeds up the process so you won’t lose momentum,” Alex says.