Opinion by Richard Baird Posted 10 May 2016
Alta Quartzite is a natural building material quarried from the mountains of Norway’s Alta region with a unique green/grey colour, fine texture and hard wearing non-slip properties. These make it a good choice for both interior and exterior applications, from roofing, paving and staircases, to roads and walkways. Although it is material with a long history of use it is being utilised in increasingly more innovative ways, and on an international scale.
Working on the mountainside of Peska, Norwegian company Altaskifer mines Alta Quartzite using traditional methods, and is a joint sales and marketing company for the entire slate industry in the Alta region.
Altaskifer worked with Scandinavian graphic design studio Neue to develop a brand identity that would run across a variety of touch points. These are now linked by the concept of “rough beauty” and the history of the material, from the hard manual labour and functional focus of the past, to today’s modern design and crafted contexts. This is visualised through a bright but simple colour palette, typographical contrast and the meeting of organic and geometric form across business cards, tote bags, brochure and soon to launch website.
The nuance and communicative precision that characterises Neue’s work is again evident in their brand identity for Altaskifer. The studio effectively work together past and present, functionality and flourish, design and craft, the natural and the man-made using a few but compelling assets grounded by an appropriate concept.
This is achieved through a contrast of Brown’s functional and contemporary sans-serif forms alongside the crafted and calligraphic qualities of Grilli Type’s Sectra, and the intersection of irregular shape by geometric cuts within the logo, which is then expanded upon in the content of image. These place raw material alongside the precise instruments of design and planning, are considered and well-composed, touching upon a variety of potential material contexts with plenty of room for expansion and variation.
Neue draw significant impact from a consistent use of a solid bright fluorescent green spot colour across white boards where similar businesses might opt for natural tones. Colour here functions not only to differentiate, but also continues to play with contrast within the context of the fine detail and colour of material, and brings a very current visual expression, alongside type and form, to what has been seen as a traditional material. More from Neue on BP&O.