University of the Arts Helsinki Branding

Norwich University of The Arts LogoUniversity of the Arts Helsinki Branding

Bold award winning identity that doesn’t play it safe

At the beginning of 2013 three of Finland’s most prestigious art academies, the Academy of Fine Arts, the Sibelius Academy and the Theatre Academy, merged into one university called The University of the Arts Helsinki. Bond’s challenge was to create brand architecture and a unified brand identity that also leaves room for the individual academies to build their own profiles. The solution is an identity that works across the different arts and avoids the typical clichés and conventions. The identity doesn’t play it safe. The deconstructed logotypes distinguish the university from business and science universities. The simple and bold anchor symbol ‘X’ has plenty of meanings, just like art does. The symbol can be seen, for example, as a starting point, a destination, a meeting place, a location, a signature, an unknown force, a warning, an irritant, a question and a solution. This holistic project covered all brand touch points.

University of the Arts Helsinki designed by Bond

Logo and coloured board business cards designed by Bond for the University of the Arts Helsinki

“The Finnish Academy of Fine Arts, Sibelius Academy and Theatre Academy Helsinki merged in the beginning of 2013 into the University of the Arts Helsinki. Bond created the complete branding solution for the new university. The strategy for the identity was to create a distinctive set of logotypes based on a common design language, and to introduce an anchor symbol that acts as a point of connection between the university mother brand and the three academy brands. The simple and bold ‘X’ has plenty of meanings, just like art does. The symbol can be seen, for example, as a starting point, a destination, a meeting place, a location, a signature, an unknown force, a warning, an irritant, a question and a solution.” – Bond

Logotype designed by Bond for the University of the Arts Helsinki

Bond has managed to infuse a huge amount of energy into this identity project that not only emerges from the frenetic logo animation but in the bright bursts of fluorescent colour in print and as paper throughout the collateral. The movement and quick frames of a bold uppercase sans-serif logotype gif delivers a loud and edgy personality, one that establishes a sense of enthusiasm, dynamic thinking and the idea of differing perspectives, themes that work well for modern creative education.

The logotype has been applied with variety across a number of printed pieces that includes brochures, stationery, posters and van livery. Although these are absent on-screen motion, still carries a dynamic quality with each of the three academy brands appearing to be caught at different point mid-motion.

Print designed by Bond for the University of the Arts Helsinki

Stamp and logotype designed by Bond for the University of the Arts Helsinki

The X, while attributed multiple values by Bond in their introduction and having significant impact in its neon green finish and die cut detail, lacks the proprietary nature of the type, it does, however, keep the whole system from appearing too logo-centric as the type treatment appears similar between the different departments. In print, the creative contemporary energy of the neon inks are tempered slightly by more conventional pastel tones both as ink and as substrate detail. Alongside uncoated materials, debossed print and stamp based finishes these add a crafted dimensionality to the more progressive elements of the brand identity.