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Kristin Jarmund Architects by Snøhetta, Norway

Opinion by Richard Baird

Visual identity designed by Snøhetta for Oslo-based Kristin Jarmund Architects.

Kristin Jarmund Architects is an oslo-based architectural studio with a design philosophy that is focused on using a simplicity of form and a clarity of purpose to address complex problems, while at the same time, allowing for a contextual and human sensitivity. Reduction, as well as the duality inherent to the studio’s work, was the founding principles of their new visual identity, created by Scandinavian studio Snøhetta. This can be seen in the juxtaposition of type and image, and the recurring motif of extracts within both of these.

Logotype designed by Snøhetta for Oslo-based Kristin Jarmund Architects.

Rather than a singular concept, Snøhetta employs a confluence of themes and ideas (contrast, duality, and reduction); some familiar architectural cues, and moments of unusual warmth and distinction. This can be seen in the angular cuts yet soft rounded corners of a logotype built from Replica, which sets a technical and structural tone in letterform, arrangement, and blue ink, and the use of colourful image; a detail or extract from one of Kristin Jarmund Architects’ projects.

Logo, stationery and business cards designed by Snøhetta for Oslo-based Kristin Jarmund Architects

Visual identity draws a unique character and a useful flexibility from the variety of image, with twelve different crops used across business cards. These move from close-up detail to more of an overview, and from what looks like internal architectural elements of precise lines and well-defined forms, to something more natural and external. Form becomes abstract, detached from function. This lends visual identity, alongside the reductive, technical and architectural components, an element of the more emotive and visceral, in line with the studio’s contextual and human sensitivities.

The flexibility of image continues through to the two states of the logotype; existing as the full name of the practice and, much like image, as an extract, or more conventionally put a monogram. The action of reduction has a practical application online in conjunction with the motion of a single page of image. The interaction of type and image of print also makes the transition online, but the colour, full bleed and emotive qualities of stationery are lost to a more formal grid-based structure and images that reveal the complete nature of a project.

Logotype and business cards designed by Snøhetta for Oslo-based Kristin Jarmund Architects

The familiar architectural themes of space and structure, light and shadow, scale and proportion are all touched upon. Where other architectural visual identities might be more nuanced in their articulation of these, be that through paper choice, type, layout, and print finish, the use of image is refreshing in its more literal expression but distinctive in colour and cropping.

Logotype and print designed by Snøhetta for Oslo-based Kristin Jarmund Architects

Although image is the dominant expression, and given the opportunity to evoke feeling rather than critical interpretation, and type effectively offering a technical contrast, there is also a subtle high-quality material dimension to the work. Contrast and duality continue to play out in the interaction of the matt surfaces of uncoated papers and boards and the glossy white of a block foil print finish. More work by Snøhetta on BP&O.

Design: Snøhetta. Photography: Calle Huth. Opinion: Richard Baird. Fonts: Replica.

Logotype, stationery and business cards designed by Snøhetta for Oslo-based Kristin Jarmund Architects

Logotype and signage designed by Snøhetta for Oslo-based Kristin Jarmund Architects

What do you think of Snøhetta’s visual identity work for Kristin Jarmund Architects? Share your thoughts in the comment section below or get the conversation started on Twitter.

Logotype and print designed by Snøhetta for Oslo-based Kristin Jarmund Architects

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  • jehlicka

    this is really beautiful, but I would like to understand the difference between this design and thousand of others, similar to this one. I have a filing that branding has entered into monotony loop and it seems like it wont be leaving it any time soon.

    • Perhaps you could link to some examples?

      • Glorious Creative

        Mark Tessier Landscape Architecture by Mash/Paul Hutchison has a very similar concept.

        http://www.mashcreative.co.uk/work/mtla/

        • Ah. I see. You mean in the arrangement and weighting of type. This project is a bit more than that.

          • Glorious Creative

            I agree with you. Though “jehlicka” may have a different opinion we disagree with…

          • I somewhat agree with Glorious Creative (her example) and Jehlicka. I may not have the best “eye” for design variation. Can you expand on it being a bit more than that?

          • This was all covered in the article, but to abridge. The use of colour and form cropped from architectural projects. The use of uncoated material and glossy print finish. Online, it would be the single page approach, the transition of full logo to extract, the way it overlays image, and of course, the images of the projects themselves. Conceptually, this would include the contrast of technical and practical type juxtaposed alongside the more visceral nature and warmth of image, grounded in the philosophies of functionality, simplicity and a clarity of purpose but also a human sensitivity.