NordicHQ

identity design
branding

nordichq.com

2023

Building a business can be hard, especially if you do this in a country where you don't speak the language or are familiar with the local rules and regulations. Luckily, NordicHQ is there to help startups expand their operations in Northern Europe.

NordicHQ needed a brand identity that could reflect their core values of excellence, entrepreneurship, and responsiveness while appealing to an international audience. The challenge was to create a visual identity that would convey professionalism and trustworthiness, and resonate with businesses looking to establish or grow their presence in Northern Europe.

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Buena Guia: Spanish for 'Good Guide'. Illustration depicting the North Star by Aegidius Sadeler, 1666.

As a starting point for the concept, the focus was on NordicHQ being a guide for its target audience. The geographic location made us think of the North Star, or Polaris, which has historically been a reliable point of navigation for travelers. This idea of guidance and direction was central to our creative vision.

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As we often do with brand identity design, we start with the design of the logo. A star symbol is woven into a custom made letter N, where the serifs match the graphic star symbol.

The custom-designed 'N' combines rounded corners with sharp ones. The sharp, angular elements, together with the wide serifs, evoke a sense of architectural strength and stability, suggesting the firm foundation and structured support that NordicHQ provides to its clients.

In order not to appear too rigid and stern, rounded corners are used to convey warmth and accessibility, embodying the commitment to providing expert guidance with a personal touch.

This juxtaposition of smooth and angular elements creates a dynamic and more interesting visual appeal, reflecting the blend of approachability and precision that NordicHQ offers.

For the wordmark the font Apfel Grotesk Regular by Collletttivo was chosen. Apfel Grotezk is a round, airy sans serif font family inspired by neo-grotesque and geometric typefaces. Its smooth curves and pronounced x-height give it a welcoming and friendly character, while still maintaining a modern feel. This suited NordicHQ perfectly.

In addition to the logo, a vertically stacked version of the tagline was created. When type gets displayed larger, it's custom to set the letterspacing a bit tighter. But we didn't like the way the 'r' and 't' are next to each other too much. It felt a bit off, so custom ligatures were developed for this purpose. While editing fonts requires careful handling, the side-by-side comparison of the before and after versions shows a visually pleasing result, we think. The combination of rounded curves and straight corners in the custom ligatures mirrors the aesthetic of the logomark, creating a harmonious and unified brand identity.

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With the North Star being the starting point for the creative vision, it seemed only natural to look at the Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, for color inspiration. This natural phenomenon, typical of the Nordic region, features beautiful shades of blues and greens. These colors are vibrant yet serene and as a color palette evoke a sense of confidence and calmness. So perfectly fitting NHQ's commitment to guiding businesses through the complexities of international expansion with clarity and confidence.

To visually represent the professional and regional focus of NordicHQ, with the help of AI we generated image of an office in a Nordic region. As a B2B company, NordicHQ’s work, while highly impactful, is not inherently tangible or easy to visualize. It's mostly digital paperwork. The image of a modern, Nordic office environment serves to bridge this gap. This setting not only reinforces the brand’s geographical focus but also gives a more engaging visual for the website.

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The brand identity for NordicHQ captures their mission to guide businesses expanding into Northern Europe. Inspired by the North Star and Northern Lights, the design conveys guidance and reliability. The custom 'N' and vibrant color palette blend strength with approachability.

With tailor-made design elements and imagery, we've created a cohesive brand that highlights NordicHQ's values of excellence, entrepreneurship, and responsiveness. Just like the North Star, this strong brand presence will help NordicHQ support businesses in successfully starting their headquarters in the north.

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kind words

I think that what is key to Sebastiaan’s work is that he wanted to first and foremost thoroughly understand the business: how I got where I am now and my future vision for the business. That understanding formed the foundation for developing the brand identity. He valued my input but wasn't afraid to challenge my ideas and make bold choices.

I was impressed by his genuine curiosity and the significant effort he put into research, which all led to an excellent end-result.

thomas jaques
founder nordichq

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gatsby

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