Anti rebrands Scandinavian University Press using a flexible book logo that doubles as a bookshelf

The studio bypasses tradition with a playful brand mark – doubling as a bookshelf – for one of Norway’s oldest academic publishers.

10 February 2022

Norway-based design agency Anti has unveiled a new identity for Scandinavian University Press (Universitetsforlaget), an academic publisher producing high-quality academic literature. Reflecting its aim to be a “forward-oriented and contemporary publisher”, the new identity avoids traditional palettes and visuals and embraces a playful, book-based brand mark. For a further surprise, Anti has bought the logo through to physical elements of the branding, creating some very fun custom bookshelves for the publisher.

Universitetsforlaget’s previous logo, a traditional U, has been transformed into a mark that cleverly gives the visual impression of both a U and opening pages. This idea of opening reflects the publisher’s new overarching concept, “Expand your Knowledge”, and the logo’s flexible form has given Anti a new tool to use across the brand. The logo can be stretched into ‘bookends’ to use in notepads and to frame illustrations and type. But, most excitingly, it has been turned into bookshelves for the office of the Scandinavian University Press.

“It’s always nice to bring something physical into an expected digital universe”, Mats Ottdal, Anti’s creative director, tells It’s Nice That. “In the beginning, we had ideas around how we can create things such as signage and brand interior elements. But we found out that making [something] functional [like bookshelves] was more interesting.”

For Mats, the challenge of the project was creating a design that didn’t focus too much on the history of book publishing. “The previous visual identity appeared traditional, had few tools and the client felt it didn’t convey their company and its personality in a good way.” Anti wanted to create something bold, brave and, at the same time, academic. “Not an easy combination,” says Mats. Universitetsforlaget’s previous red palette, a colour utilised by many publishers in the market, was swapped for a dark green to help with focus and concentration and hint towards the literary world. Some other unexpected colours, like pink, bring life to the “academic theme”, explains Mats.

To meet the need for “wholeness and structure” in the identity, Anti developed a grid system inspired by – you guessed it – book covers; “A flexible system that could vary, based on the type of content to be communicated,” says Mats.

GalleryAnti: Scandinavian University Press visual identity (Copyright © Scandinavian University Press, 2022)

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Anti: Scandinavian University Press visual identity (Copyright © Scandinavian University Press, 2022)

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About the Author

Liz Gorny

Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. In January 2023, they became associate editor, predominantly working on partnership projects and contributing long-form pieces to It’s Nice That. Contact them about potential partnerships or story leads.

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