Snøhetta develops a “tribal language” for Høyskolen Kristiania School


Screen Shot 2016-05-27 at 10.00.26When Snøhetta was approached to develop and identity for Høyskolen Kristiania it developed a concept that would embrace the school’s holistic focus on the individual rather than education alone. Høyskolen Kristiania is the result of the merger of four Norwegian schools and the new identity was required to establish a strong brand and enhance the school’s competitiveness.

The identity, developed in consultation with staff and students, is based on the concept of transformation as sought inspiration in written language. “The development of what is arguably human kind’s most important innovation, the written language, has made it possible to share knowledge across generations,” says Snøhetta. “Its transformation throughout history up until today’s Latin alphabet became the foundation for the visual identity and the start of the transformation into a unique written language for the school.”

Snøhetta developed a new alphabet that merges typographical forms with graphic patterns. The new typeface has been used on ID cards, T-shirts and business cards as well as signage, printed materials and online. The identity and concept was further expanded fro use by the students so that it forms part of the identity of the student union, with icons and smileys added, to allow for more informal communication. “Because the use of identity is so varied and the surfaces it is applied on ranges from analogue to digital/2D to 3D, we were dependent on developing a system that was simple and adaptable,” say the designers. “With the geometric shapes as the basis of the alphabet the system stays recognisable even in different scales, colour and format – whether it’s wayfinding and interior, printed material, or digital design. Probably the foremost example of the development of the identity yet, is that one of the current students recently tattooed himself using the alphabet. We certainly didn’t see that one coming.”


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