Established in 1993 and originally focused on long-distance telephony, Rostelecom is now the largest provider of telecommunications services for the government, businesses, and consumer individuals in Russia. With 170,000 employees, Rostelecom provides internet, cable television, and mobile and landline phone services for over 13 million subscribers. The company is currently expanding into cloud-based solutions, data centers, cybersecurity, and other services that required a more comprehensive brand and identity to complement its B2B and B2C services. This past September, Rostelecom introduced a new identity designed by Saffron.
We developed a visual identity based on the brand idea of revealing the other side. On one side is you, and on the other side, the experiences or content you want to access. The people you want to catch up with. The information you need to be kept safe.
The old logo was pretty good with an abstract monogram in the shape of an “R” (which in Cyrillic looks like our “P”) that stood out for its relative weirdness. The monogram in the new logo manages to retain the folding effect of the old one to create a new “P”/”R” device that maintains some continuity from the company’s equity and subtly signals a change. The icon is strong and confident and has a nice rationalization behind it that even if it’s too corny a translation it sort of provides it a raison d’etre aside from being a cool symbol. The fold in it also serves as the catalyst for the rest of the identity so there is a great relationship between logo and applications throughout the project. The wordmark is… fine.
In collaboration with Colophon we created Rostelecom Basis, a typeface designed to optimise the way text looked within the “highlight and reveal” design tool. The Latin and Cyrillic characters were refined for legibility. We also created a font-based solution that, when typed, will draw the “highlight and reveal” design device. Bespoke icons that harmonised with the typeface were also designed.
I have run out of ways to talk about custom sans serif typefaces. This is another nice one but, yeah, it’s yet another one. Since I’m being all cultured and using one of three French expressions I know, I’ll use it again and say that this typeface’s raison d’etre is its successful and seamless integration into Latin and Cyrillic versions.
The set of core behaviours we gave the design system ensures the flexibility to adapt and evolve for years to come. Centred around a handful of perfectly-honed elements that recognisably distinguish Rostelecom, it includes the logo and the folding device signifying access to the other side. This was an essential part of building an engaging expression that could be implemented cohesively across the brand’s various touchpoints, including communications.
Most of the identity uses the “Highlight and reveal” treatment in which text is highlighted in one color and at the end a bit of another color is revealed in the same folded style as the icon. It’s a subtle element but one that unifies the applications and provides literal depth to them. The custom type does actually excel in this treatment thanks to its short-ish ascenders/descenders and simplicity.
The identity had to adapt to meet the marketing needs of a company transitioning from a telco to a digital services provider for an audience of 145 million people. We created a flexible “highlight and reveal” design tool that protects text and is recognisably Rostelecom’s.
The typical approach of limiting colour usage to a restricted primary and secondary palette was not applied to Rostelecom’s new visual identity. In fact, as many colour combinations as possible were identified to complement the logo’s core purple and orange. This gave the brand expression a modern update, and an advantage in the market, marking it out as the colourful brand in a sea of mono-chromatic competitors. It also allows the expression to work in a wide array of contexts by creating conversations subtly categorised through colour selection.
The applications are attractive in their colorfulness but there are instances where it might be too many colors, angles, and highlighted text all at once.
As an additional device, the fold of the icon can be scaled enormously and used as a container and framing device for imagery. It’s a fun complement to the identity that, again, loops back to the icon.
Overall, this is an ambitiously comprehensive system that allows for a lot of flexibility while maintaining relative consistency. All the different treatments are strong on their own but can feel overpowering when they are all together — still, it’s great to see a company this size not go for the safest and simplest solution.