Client: KorCo
Line of business: Paperboard Supplier 

The Northstar of Sustainability

Korco is a Swedish paper company, supplying manufacturers around the world with Scandinavian paper products. 

In 2019 they decided to create a new brand of paper cup stock, to supply the world with the highest sustainability standards in the industry. 

Then, they called their friends at Bakheda Co.

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When the name 'Northstar' is paired with the right imagery, there are symbolic and geographic links to Scandinavia, ambition and navigation. 

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We defined a simple and functional style for Northstar that will help the brand stand out in a visually saturated market where a multitude of brands compete for attention. 

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We were careful to keep ourselves grounded in the expectations and needs of the people who will actually use them - the Northstar team. The main aim here was to make their everyday tasks easier.

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Introducing Northstar

The project started with a competitive review and a market analysis. Based on these learnings, we developed a creative brief that combined the story of Scandinavia’s history and it’s untamed wilderness, with the region’s sustainable values and the future it’s working towards.

We arrived at the name “Northstar”. An international symbol of ambition and navigation. In our case, the sustainable goal we’re working towards achieving.

“In Swedish folklore, we tell our children that if you’re ever lost, just follow the Northstar and you’ll find your way home.”  Arvid Lithander, founder, Bakheda Co.

A utilitarian design system 

We defined a simple and functional style for Northstar that will help the brand stand out in a visually saturated market where a multitude of brands compete for attention.

The Nord

Every bit of our identity has a story to tell and carries with it a bit of Scandinavian heritage. We named the Northstar symbol ‘Nord’, which is Swedish for “North”. It may look like a simple star on the surface, but is derived from the runic alphabet ‘Ingwaz’ which means ‘life’, 

The logo continues the story of Scandinavia’s past to its future. We modernised the old rune script, and step-by-step it became a modern custom font. 

For cases where the logo is not applicable, a monogram has been derived with the ‘n’ from the wordmark and the ‘Nord’ to create a smaller version of our identity that’s just as iconic.

Characterizing Scandinavian heritage

The colors reflect the colourful Scandinavian seasons. A lush green for spring and summer, a vivid brown for fall, and a crisp white for winter. We named them Idunn Green, Irpa Brown, and Balder White, after the Norse gods.

Northstar uses the simple and hard-working Grotesk Sans superfamily - Halyard. While each subfamily is vastly different in appearance, when seen together, they maintain a consistent personality that works well in different sizes.

The imagery showcases the beautiful northern woods. With the logo and messaging, it ties together the emotional story of preservation and sustainability. 

The patterns are derived from the very same natural textures. We took images of tree stumps and traced the patterns within, then modified the colour based on Northstar’s brand colours, and created a series of iconic patterns.

Tools for the team

We were careful to keep ourselves grounded in the expectations and needs of  the people who will actually use them - the Northstar team. The main aim here was to make everyday tasks easier.

For example, for the material variant mnemonics for cups, we use the wordmark supplemented by the text typeface. We have refrained from using symbols to make sure that the mnemonics help, and not hinder the process. This ensures we end up with something that’s easily understandable and expandable to accommodate new products that may launch in the future.

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We were careful to keep ourselves grounded in the expectations and needs of the people who will actually use them - the Northstar team.
The main aim here was to make their everyday tasks easier.

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