Stockholm, capital of Sweden, is a very well regarded city with a strong economy, extensive public transportation, environmental proclivity, vast culture, and a growing population. In charge of making the city run smoothly and forward is Stockholms Stadshus AB which manages Stockholms Stad (City of Stockholm) through “14 district administrations responsible for the majority of municipal services, 15 technical departments and 16 companies” that employ over 39,000 people working on everything from the port of Stockholm to the city museum to the water company. Recently, the city introduced a revised and unified identity designed by Essen International.
Our rebranding for Stockholms stad was initiated by the need to coherently communicate a wide range of offerings, everything from world museums to scavenging. Stockholm is taking a giant leap forward, fueling its progress with the help of one strong vision, identity and statement. Stockholm is truly becoming the Capital of Scandinavia.
The updated brand is flexible enough to support the city’s many functions and responsibilities and is orbiting around the taylor-made typeface Stockholm Type and the clarified symbol of St:Erik — the patron of Stockholm.
The city’s logo has featured the effigy of St. Erik — also appearing on its coat of arms — for some time and this latest rendition clearly marks he is not going anywhere. While his portrait remains the same from the previous version, everything around him has changed. Gone is the antiquated serif previously surrounding him (literally) and in its place is a new, custom sans serif with the look and feel of contemporary design. A heavily geometric typeface that looks like a lot of others of its kind but with a couple of interesting hints of unique flavor like the lowercase “a”, “b”, “d”, etc. where the stem cuts directly through the circle. It’s not groundbreaking typography but it’s nice, clean, and modern, which is way more than could be said about the previous logo.
Removing the blue and yellow color palette that dominated the previous logo has opened up the identity to embrace a number of other, more vibrant colors and the St. Erik portrait works equally well in its white version on blocks of color or in black against white backgrounds. The identity isn’t so much about visual fireworks but about establishing a clear and expansive communication system for a city that, well, communicates a lot in different instances. The single typeface approach for city branding may not be the most exciting but it can be efficient and when it comes to the successful management of cities, efficiency is king.