Is there a way to create a brand without a logo? Estonians think there is

16.03.2017

For the next 15-20 years, Estonians will have at their disposal the new brand of Estonia, which replaces the former, Welcome to Estonia, sign-based brand. 

According to the design director of the Estonian Design Team (EDM) Alari Orav, the old sign worked well in some cases but not so well when it came to other tasks. Welcome to Estonia was widely used in tourism but rarely used by entrepreneurs dealing in exports. It’s been estimated that a mere 2% of these entrepreneurs actually used the Welcome to Estonia sign. The new brand of Estonia aims to correct that issue.

The brand Estonia, created to enable companies, universities, institutions and everyone alike to advertise Estonia and themselves across the world, has been under consideration for a while but it is now finally here and everyone has the free right to use Brand Estonia whenever they wish to do so.

The new toolkit makes life easier

How will this new brand Estonia assist companies and individuals to “ Promote Estonia World Wide? ”, it’s actually quite simple, as Orav explained: it makes introducing Estonia easier and as such, people are more likely to do this more often.

One should note, the brand is not only a visual or verbal language, it’s much more. It’s a unified information field, with facts and stories that will help to raise the trustworthiness of Estonia as well as increase Estonia’s profile.

To ensure brand Estonia will always be effective during the anticipated life-cycle of 15-20 years, it will undergo constant changes to continually reflect what best represents Estonia and what the nation stands for. All of the promotional materials will be available online, from where they can be easily and regularly accessed.

Rules, guidelines and freedom

In essence, Estonia can be reflected in 3 core values: open, smart and active, meaning respectively straightforwardness is a virtue and no one can escape criticism, Estonia is always changing and this demands adaptability and resilience and that Estonia is a pragmatic place.

But when being more specific, the brand offers companies and individuals various tools and guidelines to best use Estonian values in their own interests. There are a large number of different tools currently at any users’ disposal, including verbal and visual ones, in addition to messages. There is nothing ground-breaking about this; many countries have similar toolboxes but none of them are as universal as the Estonian version which, for example, does not need a different toolset for tourism or export: one version fits all.

  

One of the main verbal tools introduced with the new brand is a lowercase letter “e”. The letter “e” can be used in various ways, both to describe something and as a design element. Words to use include, for instance, embrace, enjoy, enter, experience, explore, extend, efficient, egalitarian, empowering, enchanting, encouraging, exciting, expanding and exquisite. And of course, e-residency.

Likewise, the abbreviation “EST” can also be used in various ways. For example, you could wittily use a headline “This is the finest country in the world”.

A brand without a logo

In addition to this, and of even more significance, is the visual style. First of all, and perhaps surprisingly, the brand and visual language do not provide a logo as such. Instead, the entire visual spectrum works to create a consistent identity.

The visual aspect consists of many core elements. First of all, there is a new typeface, created especially for Estonia: Aino. Not only does it look amazing, it also provides people with the possibility of always being consistent when using a text.

Secondly, there is color. The primary color for the brand is blue, accompanied by different variations of blues, greys, pinks and greens. To see the full palette, follow this link.

Try to zoom out

These days, communication does not work without effective images. Therefore, the Estonian Design Team has created a set of guidelines explaining how best to use photographs that are on-brand.

First, nature photos should showcase mist and/or clouds. Also, photos should show contrast, for example, nature and technology. Images should use natural light and should not be too colorful. The use of strong filters in post-production is discouraged and when taking the photo, you should really zoom out.

There are also guidelines set for icons and a large quantity of pre-made icons. You can check them out here. For illustration sake, boulders could be used. For even more freedom, these wordmarks could be considered.

 

Finally, there are the core messages, which are the first and foremost things you can tell about Estonia. It is recommended that you always use at least one of these core messages when introducing Estonia for the first time.

So, if you ever need to introduce Estonia, you should remember these three messages: independent minds, a clean environment, and the digital society.

Now that you know everything that there is to know, have a crack at using the brand yourself. If you are wondering how the brand came to be, you might find this nifty blog interesting.