BPO


International School of Helsinki by Kokoro & Moi, Finland

Opinion by Richard Baird.

Brand identity and business cards for the International School of Helsinki by Kokoro & Moi, Finland

The International School of Helsinki is an independent co-educational school, established in 1963, with a student body from over 40 different countries. It is a place where diversity and difference is valued, and a commitment to international-mindedness is weaved throughout its curriculum. The school’s motto, Each One Is Unique, is an articulation of these values and is the basis of its original identity, a simple snowflake, and is now explored in a more digital savvy, compelling and creative way through the school’s identity, developed by Scandinavian graphic design studio Kokoro & Moi. This links business cards, stationery, signage and invitations.

Generative brand identity for the International School of Helsinki by Kokoro & Moi, Finland

ISH’s original logo, a combination of what looks like a live trace snowflake and all-uppercase serif, took uniqueness and the institutional and expressed these in an incredibly tired, unmemorable and inflexible way.

Kokoro & Moi go all in on individuality, uniqueness and engagement, creating an application for generating one-off snowflakes and setting up workshops with students studying branding and graphic design to output hundreds of variations. These snowflakes then formed the basis of visual identity, applied across a variety of print communication, although yet to make it online.

Logo and generative brand identity for the International School of Helsinki by Kokoro & Moi, Finland

Conceptually it is well-grounded and understandable, designed in a collaborative and technologically savvy way. Aesthetically, it feels a touch awkward in places, particularly in the typesetting of logotype which emphasises initials, and in the squashed form of some of the snowflakes, although this does give them a sense of rotation as if falling. It is also difficult to shake the strong sense of seasonality, it is, however, distinctive, memorable and a significant improvement.

Logo, generative brand identity and print for the International School of Helsinki by Kokoro & Moi, Finland

Contrast is used to good effect, and feels rooted in diversity and opposing ideas. Although there is variety in form, there is a simplicity in implementation. Icy blue and green inks play up to the perception international students might have of a cool Scandinavian location, yet is juxtaposed alongside the warmth of a bright orange. Trio Grotesk, a font based on an early 20th century sans serif typeface, brings a softness and further character to identity where snowflakes are sharp and geometric in form, and a subtle sense of legacy where there is largely modern brand expression. More from Kokoro & Moi on BP&O.

Design: Kokoro & Moi. Opinion: Richard Baird. Fonts Used: Trio Grotesk.

Generative brand identity and print for the International School of Helsinki by Kokoro & Moi, Finland

Brand identity and business cards for the International School of Helsinki by Kokoro & Moi, Finland

Brand identity and headed paper for the International School of Helsinki by Kokoro & Moi, Finland

Follow BP&O:
Twitter
Feedly
Facebook
Instagram

Brand identity and headed paper for the International School of Helsinki by Kokoro & Moi, Finland

What do you think of Kokoro & Moi’s work for ISH? Share your thoughts in the comment section below or get the conversation started on Twitter.

Brand identity and signage for the International School of Helsinki by Kokoro & Moi, Finland

If you liked this then you may also like:

Branding – Norwegian Academy of Music  Print - UAL  Logo - CEE


Support BP&O



Thank you to everyone who has visited BP&O since its beginning in 2011. As many of you know, BP&O has always been a free-to-access design blog that seeks to offer extended opinion on brand identity work. It has sought to be the antithesis of the social media platform that often disentangles form, context and content. Writing articles can take 2-4hrs and are carefully researched.

I am passionate about design writing and believe that spending time to write about work, rather than just posting images, furthers design discourse. If you have enjoyed this article, have been with the site from its early days and would like to help contribute to its future, please consider supporting the site with a small PayPal donation. This will go towards the costs of hosting, CDN (to make the site quick to load) and Mailchimp, and cover some of the time it takes to research, write-up, format and share posts.