Listen (yes, that’s right, listen) to the new identity for Bergen’s culture and music centre

Based entirely on sound, Reklamekollektivet has built a design system for Norway’s Kulturhuset that moves in tandem with various genres.

Date
11 March 2022

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If you’re on a bus, train or in a noisy Pret, pop in headphones immediately because the only way to experience the remarkable new identity from creative agency Reklamekollektivet is to listen to it. Delivering the branding for the newly opened Kulturhuset (a cultural centre and theatre hosting art, design, and most crucially, music), Reklamekollektivet aimed to capture all the human experiences one can gain at the venue. Home to a range of genres, Kulturhuset called for a system that could move freely between various moods and sounds, and Reklamekollektivet has pulled it off with some kinetic, adaptive typography.

“We know how letters are supposed to look,” says Thomas Birkeland, creative director at Reklamekollektivet. “Their form is imprinted in our minds. So when you see these unexpected letters, you get the sense of something having evolved a lot from its original state, which is exactly what Kulturhuset does for people.” The centre’s identity is typographically driven, featuring both static and mobile iterations that ‘dance’ to music. Thomas explains that the letters were drawn from the ground up to ensure maximum freedom for its visual form when technology was applied, while still remaining legible. “It’s now become Kulturhuset’s very own unique font,” says Thomas, “taking centre stage in the identity.”

Alongside this primary “expressive” font, Lausanne was used as a secondary typeface; the agency explains that it offers further legibility, but also brings a contrasting warmth to the brand, offering “a slightly softer touch”, says Thomas. The colour palette, mainly comprising a strong orange and light mint, pays tribute to the colours of the Kulturhuset building, which, before its recent restoration, functioned as a stable for the city’s horses in 1896. The colours have been strengthened for digital use; all other colours come from areas of the Kulturhuset that architects discovered during its renovation.

One of the key challenges for Reklamekollektivet was to create a design system that didn’t lean heavily into “one genre”; it had to adapt according to the range of events held at the Kulturhuset. “Our solution was to keep the free and generative part of the identity, the moving letters if you will, within a firm and consistent set of rules,” says Thomas.

Applying these rules across layouts, grids, colours, hierarchy and motion, Reklamekollektivet ensured that even though one part of the identity remains in flux, you always have “this constant to keep everything grounded from a branding point of view”. The agency also built a flexible, yet “quite strict” grid system to house everything that happens at Kulturhuset and to ensure clear and easily accessible information across all formats. As Thomas puts it: “Getting the right balance between order and chaos was a big focus point throughout the creative process.”

GalleryReklamekollektivet: Kulturhuset identity (Copyright © Kulturhuset, 2022)

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Reklamekollektivet: Kulturhuset identity (Copyright © Kulturhuset, 2022)

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About the Author

Liz Gorny

Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. After graduating from the University of Bristol, they worked freelance, writing for independent publications such as Little White Lies, Indie magazine and design studio Evermade.

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