Varvet is a digital agency crafting products and services to help their clients change the way they work and communicate. With clients ranging from global brands, such as Starbucks and EA Games, to start-ups and local businesses, the agency has also made a name for itself by hosting the annual Nordic Ruby conference.
Following a merger of the two agencies Varvet and Elabs, the creative agency turned to Lundgren+Lindqvist for a redesign of their visual identity.
A strong point of reference in the project was Varvet’s working process, which unites innovation and technology with traditional craftsmanship. This was further reinforced by the fact that the agency has taken up residence in the Hasselblad House1, previously the headquarters of the Hasselblad Company, home to technology and craftsmanship for many generations.
Another point of reference guiding the design process was movement, an intrinsic ingredient in many of Varvet’s projects.
In Swedish, a ‘varv’ (the indefinite form of Varvet) both means shipyard and lap or iteration; the latter placing further emphasis on movement. As part of the design process, a matrix of symbols, all in different ways related to Varvet, was compiled. This both included more direct references, such as the brackets used when writing code and a ruby (for Ruby, the programming language favoured by Varvet) and more abstract ones, like the infinity symbol and the victory sign, with the hand also alluding to the agency’s crafted approach.
As it happens, many of these symbols include a ‘V’ shape in different forms. The final marque was built around a continuous loop, which also makes it well suited for the animated version of the logotype – an integral part of the visual identity.
To complement the symbol, a wordmark, based on Wim Crouwel’s Gridnik typeface2 developed by the Foundry, was designed. The typeface was originally designed by Crouwel for an Olivetti typewriter. While never released at the time of its design, the typeface represents a marriage of craft and technology. Gridnik is also used for headlines and technical information throughout the identity and is complemented by the softer Lettera Txt3 (Lineto). Like Gridnik, Lettera was originally designed by another legendary designer, the Swiss modernist Joseph Müller-Brockmann, and was also designed for use in Olivetti’s typewriters.
A colour system, based on two primary colours; a warm red and a warm blue was assigned. The stationery, expertly printed by Imprimerie du Marais, features triplexed sheets of Curious Matter paper from ArjoWiggins, silk screened in white and transparent. A series of variations of the Varvet symbol, mimicking the movement of its animated adaption, was designed with each card featuring a different version.
For Varvet’s office, a multi-layered neon sign was designed and installed in the circular window over the main entrance. This was complemented by a water-cut and sandblasted brass sign displaying the wordmark, which was mounted on a brass plate and fixed to the door.
Lundgren+Lindqvist works continually with Varvet on expanding the visual identity.
1 The Hasselblad House (or Hasselbladshuset) was commissioned by Fritz Wictor Hasselblad, grandfather of Victor Hasselblad, founder of the company of the same name and manufacturer and producer of the world renowned Hasselblad cameras. The art nouveau building was designed by the architect A.C. Peterson, and opened its doors in 1874.
2 Foundry Gridnik was developed from the single weight monospaced typeface, originated by Dutch designer Wim Crouwel, for typewriter use in the 1960s, but it was never released. Although based on logic, rationality and with a strict adherence to the grid, it also has a human dimension that sets it apart. To quote Crouwel, "I am a functionalist troubled by aesthetics. Visit Source
3 The Lettera font is designed by Kobi Benezri and is based on a single weight basic specimen of a mid 70‘s typewriter font designed by Joseph Müller-Brockmann for Olivetti. It was later expanded with Letter Txt, a proportional version of the monospaced font.