Estonia has the most advanced digital society in the world. This is the result of forward-thinking public sector working closely with companies like Nortal, a strategic change and technology firm with offices in 6 countries, employing over 600 people.
Illustrator: Ryan Chapman
The Nortal brand was introduced in 2012, after the Estonian Webmedia Group bought Finnish-owned CCC Corporation. The name is derived from “Nordic values” and “Talented professionals” and the original identity was developed by Identity. It centered around a stylized image of nordic lights on a dark background.
Early 2015 we received a brief from Nortal, outlining the need for a rebrand. They had realized the black backgrounds did not work for both cultural and practical reasons. In Middle-East, black is considered the colour of death and should be avoided. The application of the brand was difficult, several guidelines were partial or missing.
We started with talking. 20 interviews with all the main stakeholders and regular employees brought up more problems, some of which needed addressing fast. People were mostly struggling with their everyday tasks – documents and presentations. So we outlined a startegy of building the basic visual elements and quickly implementing them.
Then came the inevitable: “You can change anything but the logo”. It needed some convincing that a strong identity can be built coherently without losing contact with the past. We simplified the shape of logomark and introduced a new typographic solution. The logo is constructed to remain pixel-perfect and sharp even at small sizes.
With black gone, green was to take center stage. It was turned a tad brighter and now works across all the needed colour spaces (yes, even RAL). Purple was chosen as the secondary colour with a set of complimentary hues added. It took a lot of testing on MS Office and using a beat-up projector to get them all working side by side.
Although the previous typeface (PF Centro Sans) included Cyrillics, a true polyglot was needed. With a lot of Nortal’s business in Oman, we looked for a typeface that could also support Arabic script. Say hello to Aktiv Grotesk. With Chinese, Japanese and Korean language support, it makes for a truly future-proof solution. It looks damn nice too.
A simple and modular pattern was derived from the logomark.
As a “seamless society” still does not exist, Ryan Chapman got the task of envisioning it.
We designed a lot of templates. As they tend to be boring to look at, we’re just showing these 2.
With offices (and designers) all over the world, a pdf CVI just would not cut it. A custom web-based brandbook was the way to go.