Aalto University revealed its new visual identity

25.09.2009

Aalto University held a design contest for its new visual identity last spring. The winner was graphic designer Rasmus Snabb, with his entry ‘Invitation’. Since then, Snabb has been refining his entry to create the University’s final visual identity, which has now been revealed.

Logo

The basic version of the Aalto University logo is A?, a simple visual message that asks ‘What is Aalto University?’ and invites participation: ‘What would you like Aalto University to be?’ The aim was to create a sign containing as little identity-predefining symbolism as possible. The meaning and symbolism of the logo will be constructed hand in hand with the University. This is also transmitted by the universal visual building blocks of the main colours and the basic font.

The logo has no single static form; instead, it can adopt a number of variations by combining the letter A with diverse punctuation marks. In addition to the basic version, the University will use A! and A”. The varying symbols modify the significance of the 'A', indicating that Aalto University is not completely predefined and is open to discussion, questioning, and different perspectives.

- The strength of the logo lies in its simplicity. The sustaining visual principles of the Aalto identity are a neutral style and universal, basic visual elements. They reflect openness and a fresh start. The question form of the logo invites everyone to answer by participating in the new University’s construction, thus emphasising personal responsibility and team spirit, explains Snabb as its graphic designer.

- Our new visual identity expresses the ideas of Aalto University regarding creation of new connections, being multidisciplinary, and having a diversity of values. It also reflects our focus on the basics – i.e. in-depth research and first-rate teaching. Aalto University will develop and be shaped over time, and the visual identity will do the same, says President Tuula Teeri.

Colours

The Aalto University logo uses the primary colours: blue, yellow, and red. For effect, a further eight secondary and tertiary colours, picked evenly from the colour wheel, are used in the image as a whole.

- Colours are highly symbolic. Using the three primary colours and mixing them to produce other colours reveals the story of Aalto University: everything springs from three cornerstones. There is endless potential in the collision of three elements, Snabb elucidates.

There are no school-specific identifying colours in the Aalto scheme; the chosen tones can be used freely.

Shared effort

The design of the visual identity involved Graphic Design Professor Marjatta Itkonen and an extended steering group with experts from the three schools: Professor Tapio Vapaasalo; Professor Tapio Takala; Professor Henrikki Tikkanen; Professor Hannu Seristö; Professor Jukka Vieno; Professor Antti-Matti Siikala; student representative Pipsa Penttinen; and rectors Helena Hyvönen, Eero Kasanen, and Matti Pursula.

For further information, contact: Marketing Manager Hanne Haapoja, hanne.haapoja [at] aaltouniversity [dot] fi or GSM +358 40 353 8347

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