I am a creative and communications strategist, editorial designer, and researcher based in Copenhagen who works to conceive, develop, and strategize projects, brands, platforms, and editorial projects. I am particularly interested in the intersections between design, technology, sociocultural criticism, art, science, and environmental matters. I am deeply invested in creating meaningful, community-oriented, generous, and considerate outputs that are ethical and empowering, with the potential to build critical masses.

In the last 14 years, I have put my strategic, editorial, management, and people skills to work for design and architecture offices, artists, and visionary organizations on narrative strategies, communication, editorial design, content curation, and writing commissions. I also worked as an empathetic talent sourcer team lead and recruiter for product, data, and engineering teams at top companies like Apple and WhatsApp, Nordic startups in the IT sector, and innovative blockchain companies in the Ethereum and Cosmos ecosystems. In my roles, I contributed to streamlining processes and operations, created employer branding campaigns, successfully implemented complete candidate journeys, directed discovery and adoption of new tools, initiated Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging strategies, and attracted top product designers, UI/UX specialists, creative directors, creative coders, and design systems leads.

I am passionate about media and publishing ecosystems, graphic and book design, photography and contemporary art, technology, and environmental projects. My work is always culture-driven and aimed at amplifying stories, products, and experiences that inspire others to do good. Through my work, I want to tell and share compelling stories, devise engaging communication platforms, and design personal, relational, and relatable strategies. I have a Ph.D. in Philosophy with a thesis on archives and discursive formations that provides new ways of understanding repositories of knowledge in networked environments. I use my interests in cultural studies, anthropology, and aesthetics to drive new impetus, inspire good, prompt reflection, fire the imaginaries, address the various inequalities dividing our societies, and affect positive social change.

My editorial design work is managed as part of Stranger Projects, a publishing design, content, systems, and communication studio that explores progressive intersections between disciplines. Here, I conceive and develop editorial strategies for critical projects shaping thoughtful perspectives on sociocultural, environmental, and technological transformations. In my work, I develop editorial frameworks (including project concept, naming, and brand identity; column, section, and content identity; information and content architecture; design frameworks and CMS analysis), and I seek to create meaningful editorial content focusing on long-form and investigative articles, interviews, research, media survey, and content curation. ↱ Visit website

Do you want to say hi or have a project in mind for which you think I could be a good match? Drop me an email at ↱ sabin.bors@gmail.com

Infrequently asked questions that I wish people asked me.

How do you work as a creative strategist and a designer?

I combine knowledge, information, function, and experiential design in my work. Conceptually, I apply discursive and speculative design principles because the methodologies are congruent with my mindset and the focus of my projects. On a practical level, I employ atomic design principles to create modular, organic, and metabolic systems. I have hybrid abilities merging communication strategy, editorial design, art direction, and content creation to craft inspiring and engaging publications. I have a good sense of typography, patterns, layouts, and proportions, and use associative and relational research skills to inform development.

Are there any specific ideas that inspire you?

The nature of my work and interests makes me curious to explore many ideas to find points of articulation, congruence, and synergy. Anthony Dunne and Fiona Ray's A/B list in their book "Speculative Everything. Design, Fiction, and Social Dreaming" is always inspirational as a reflection of how visionary work moves from affirmative to critical, from problem-solving to problem-finding, from providing answers to asking questions, from design for production to design for debate, from design as a solution to design as a medium, from fictional functions to functional fictions, from applications to implications, from innovation to provocation, from user-friendliness to ethics, etc. More recently, Austin Robey and Severin Matusek elaborate on several mindset shifts after the creator economy that I resonate with—like moving from isolation to collaboration, from content to context, from audience-building to world-building, or from competition to cooperation. I share these ideas and use them to refine my approach and the possibilities to expand design frameworks and knowledge.

Do you have a design and development process?

I avoid formulaic approaches and believe every design inquiry, process, and outcome is specific to its context. However, I usually build upon several clear stages in my work—such as definition, research, analysis, design, and pursuit (more often than validation). For the type of projects that I create, pursuit usually works differently than validation. It helps to account for the various asymmetries and aberrations (in their optical understanding, as the failure of rays to converge at one focus) that appear in the design process. Validation is mechanical, whereas pursuit is adaptive.

What are your professional highlights?

I started working as a freelance writer and editor in 2009 when I was enrolled in MA studies in Philosophy and Communication. Working for magazines and being exposed to diverse readerships demanded that I abandon the clichés of my academic formation. In 2011 I realized I wanted to create a different art platform, and I started anti-utopias. I ran the project until 2017, encountered super-talented people in the process, and benefitted from tremendous editorial and curatorial opportunities. The project quickly expanded to become a relevant independent voice but I soon had to pause it and focus on finishing my Ph.D. in Philosophy, which I finished in 2018 with a thesis on archives, knowledge repositories, and discursive formations. Between 2011 and 2018, I continued writing, editing, and collaborating with people in over 70 countries on personal and professional projects. In the meantime, I became increasingly interested in communication strategy and editorial design, merging my writing skills with my design interests. I believe that good writing and good design go hand in hand.

In 2018 I had few opportunities to continue academic research and little commercial experience to land a job where I could thrive and develop my skills. Accidentally meeting with a friend led to my first employment as a talent acquisition specialist. Recruitment has been an opportunity to merge my writing, interviewing, and communication skills, and I first worked on a three months contract on a challenging account for WhatsApp. Three months later, having put together an entire team in London with quite an oomph, I was advanced to a Global Research Team Lead to lead the sourcing and recruitment efforts for Apple Music, an opportunity to develop my research and analytical skills. Next, in September 2019, I took a risk and jumped on the chance to relocate to Copenhagen and join a Nordic startup as its first in-house recruiter and brand lead. It was one of the most impactful and essential life choices I've made, and I am grateful for the professional and personal experiences it enabled. I found myself in an inspiring city, close to the sea, curious to discover a new culture, enjoying all the hygge (and rain) that comes with it.

I used the extended Covid-19 lockdowns to start a publishing and editorial design studio for my initiatives, and in April 2021, I founded Stranger Projects. The company I worked for in Copenhagen collapsed under economic pressure, and it seemed like a good time for a change. I wanted to build purpose-driven editorial projects, pursue my interest in design, and do something positive in a world that goes astray. In the meantime, I was lucky to join the incredibly talented folks at Status on a short-term contract as a recruiter, working to attract new product designers. Then, in September 2021, an opportunity came to join the inspiring bunch at Ignite, where I worked as a sourcer and, most rewardingly, as a recruiter for design-related roles. Unfortunately, an unexpected change in upper management has led to many people being laid off, not surprisingly considering the broader tectonic movements in the crypto and technology space. After that, I decided to take a voluntary career break from recruitment to focus on my well-being, my projects, and a career change that would help me further develop my design, communications, and research skills.

I am still interested in joining visionary projects as a people experience manager to help build and consolidate progressive company cultures. Still, I focus on working as a communications strategist and brand or editorial designer to help develop next-generation publications, brands, and projects with positive sociocultural or technological impact. I want to bond with incredible people, have fun doing meaningful work, and enjoy humbling opportunities to inspire change and motivate people to do better.

Wait a minute!? A communications strategist and a recruiter—how did that happen?

I started working in recruitment as a challenge at a time of great uncertainty back in 2018, and I don't regret doing so. Recruitment has enabled me to connect with people worldwide, develop lateral skills, learn what it takes to build company cultures, and help people thrive. I have approached recruitment with empathy and mindfulness in all my roles, from technical sourcer and technical recruiter to talent acquisition specialist and global research team lead across product, data, and engineering teams. I have a track record of building teams for forward-thinking companies. I have been privileged to work as part of outstanding teams for top companies like Apple and WhatsApp, Nordic startups in the IT sector, and blockchain innovation companies like Status in the Ethereum ecosystem and Ignite in the Cosmos ecosystem. As a recruiter, I was happiest working to source, select, and interview candidates for various design roles, from top product designers and UI/UX specialists to creative directors, creative coders, and design systems leads. In my roles, I contributed to streamlining processes and operations, created employer branding campaigns, and successfully implemented complete candidate journeys. I have acquired planning, analytical, and strategic skills, consolidated company cultures, directed the discovery and adoption of new tools, and initiated Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging strategies.

Recruitment and communications are closely related. Whether it's communication and attention to messaging, content, and vision; an understanding of how companies evolve through people and storytelling; being able to balance outward and inward communication; using interviews as a process of discovery and adaptation; helping people thrive and build on sets of values and principles; or simply helping companies create something good and valuable for others—it all relies on excellent communication, research, writing and interviewing, analytical and strategic thinking, and direct interaction with people, values, and cultures. Ultimately, I would not have been a good recruiter if not for my communications skills, and I would not have developed my communications, analytical, and organizational skills if not for my experience in recruitment. It is all about being empathetic, transparent, and open, building trust and lasting personal relationships, and seeing everything through responsible storytelling anchored in each person's life.

How does your background in philosophy play into all this?

In the early days of my career, I lacked the clarity, motivation, and purpose that I later put into my projects and interests. I used philosophical jargon because that was how I was taught to write philosophy, aiming at ideas that were sometimes too vague and disconnected from real-life contexts. But philosophy has enabled me to think structurally, see the bigger and more systematic picture, explore the coherence of ideas, and challenge normative thinking patterns. Design thinking and working for a wide variety of clients and projects has helped me to improve all that; to find a different voice and different purposes; to visualize and contextualize writing; to essentialize communication, and to care for how messages look and feel. I have learned to engage my theoretical and conceptual experience and deploy them in projects that inspire change.

What inspired you to start Stranger Projects? And why is it called Stranger Projects?

I started Stranger Projects because I wanted to create a space for my initiatives with a distinct, unique, and unifying identity. The name is inspired by a book that editors Jehanne Dautrey and Emanuele Quinz titled "Strange Design. From Objects to Behaviours." On its cover lies written something that has resonated profoundly with what I want to achieve: "In recent years, strange—ambiguous, dysfunctional, enigmatic, and complicated—objects have emerged in the world of design. These objects are based on an approach that has been called anti-design, radical, conceptual, or critical design—a speculative design that instead of offering solutions raises questions. Design that is not subject to the imperatives of the power structures of society, but is instead critical. Via a strategy of modifying objects away from their usual forms and utilitarian functions, this design evokes unusual uses and behaviours, in turn opening the way to a more profound questioning of social and political values." I think this applies to objects, experiences, and relevant contemporary design.

Is there anything particular about publishing that makes it so relevant today?

Writing and publishing are unaltered expressions of freedom. Using digital networks as platforms for critical reflection is about sharing cultural ideas and products and creating relational bridges between people. As Dutch art curator Nat Muller writes, publishing is "a gesture that accommodates the political, the artistic, and in some cases, the defiant... A gesture is something preceding the action, and therefore signifies motion and agency of the most expressive and potent kind, precisely because it is so wrought with intentionality." From a strict praxeological perspective, Rachel Malik defines publishing as “a set of historical processes and practices—composition, editing, design and illustration, production, marketing and promotion, and distribution—and a set of relations with various other institutions—commercial, legal, educational, political, cultural, and, perhaps, above all, other media.” I find this inspirational for what we can achieve as a society, and publishing underlines the foundation of any meaningful circulation of ideas and knowledge.

What are some of the ideas that haunted you lately?

In university, I took an interest in the work of two philosophers I largely forgot about over the years and whose works provide me with new reflections and ideas today. The first is Hans Jonas and his book "The Imperative of Responsibility. In Search of an Ethics for the Technological Age," which discusses the foundations for responsibility to future generations and the asymmetric relationship between present and future generations. Why? Because responsibility for future generations cannot be explained by applying traditional ethics and demands that we construct entirely new principles.

The second is Gilbert Simondon. His body of work, including theses on the preindividual, dephasing, metastable equilibrium, transduction, or physical and biological individuation, was originally completed in 1958 and was vastly ahead of its time. His theses have been successfully applied in various interdisciplinary fields such as quantum mechanics, cybernetics, evolutionary biology, mineralogy, and aesthetics, but his writings on imagination and invention provide a radical rethinking of the theory and experience of mental images. Inspired by various phenomenological ideas, experimental psychology, cybernetics, or ethology, Simondon describes four phases in the development of mental images: 1) a bundle of motor anticipations, 2) the image becomes a cognitive system that mediates the organism's relation to its milieu, 3) a symbolic and abstract integration of motor and affective experience to 4) invention, a solution to a problem of life that requires the externalization of mental images and the creation of technical objects. Why do I find this interesting? Because in Simondon's argument, images can only be understood within the trajectories of their progressive metamorphosis. It is an idea worth exploring as we devise new technical objects and contexts.

You seem to be quite into books. Could you name a few of your favourites?

I enjoy reading Robert Walser's fictional short stories, any book written by Jeff Vandermeer and William Gibson, bandes dessinées by Enki Bilal, and manga works by Tsutomu Nihei.

My favorite philosophy book is Avital Ronell's The Telephone Book. Technology, Schizophrenia, Electric Speech.

My most cherished photography books are Images of Conviction. The Construction of Visual Evidence edited by Diane Dufour and Whispers, a comprehensive monograph on the life and works of Ulay.

When it comes to commercial design, I enjoy checking Bruce M. Tharp and Stephanie M. Tharp's Discursive Design. Critical, Speculative, and Alternative Things every now and then (no surprise here, I guess).

Some of my favourite design theory books are Strange Design. From Objects to Behaviours edited by Jehanne Dautrey and Emanuele Quinz; Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby's Speculative Everything. Design, Fiction, and Social Dreaming; Alexandra Midal's Design by Accident. For a new History of Design; and Alice Rawsthorn's Design as an Attitude.

When it comes to books on publishing, I enjoyed reading Alessandro Ludovico's Post-Digital Print. The Mutation of Publishing since 1984, the comprehensive Publishing as an Artistic Practice edited by Annette Gilbert, and Nicholas Thoburn's Anti-Book. On the Art and Politics of Radical Publishing.

One of the most beautiful books I own is Wolfgang Scheppe's Done.Book. Picturing the City of Society, a photo book designed by Andrea Buran that relates two ways of looking at the city of Venice—Ruskin's Venetian notebooks and Gavagnin's two-decade collection of photographs. I may be biased because this is the first book I bought out of my first big pay during my first trip abroad, coincidentally to Venice. When Venice is the first city you see on a trip abroad, it leaves a lasting impression.

What else are you most passionate about?

Aside from reading art books, science and technology magazines, science fiction books, some manga and comics, I experiment with writing a science fiction novel. I listen to music, primarily when I work—anything from Massive Attack, Amon Tobin, DJ Krush, Agnes Obel, Michelle Gurevich, Ulver, Doon Kanda, Arca, Tricky, Bob Moses, Pan Sonic, and all the way to Meshuggah, Hypocrisy, and other Swedish death metal bands. For the past year, I have been trying to play the guitar—I am still very lousy at it, but I am determined and perseverant. I like to cycle by the Copenhagen seashores, travel by train, and play board games, although I always forget the rules and what they're actually called. I want to collect train models, but I always collect books. I watch a lot of films and I sometimes exaggerate looking at all sorts of kitchen items. I experiment with cooking ramen and save many recipes I hope to cook one day. I want to restore old furniture, travel more, visit Japan, and learn how to swim. I like rainy days when I stay in and mild days when I am out.

How would you describe yourself?

Small, intelligent, funny, passionate about and engaged in my work, driven by innate curiosity, organized, meticulous to the point of exaggeration, conscious, and aware of the implications of what I do.

Sabin Bors