The design proces: A logo for SAMSØ BÆR
As designers, we love Nordic simplicity. But when Samsø Bær (‘Samsø Berries’) hired us to create a new visual identity, we turned to the complexity of craft and nature.
FEET IN THE SOIL, BERRIES IN THE HEART
Around twenty years ago, a group of Samsø farmers came together with a goal to produce as locally as possible. First, they created an award-winning jam, and then came an award-winning juice, a wide range of liquors, and rape seed oil.
All main ingredients come from the fields of Samsø, a Danish island with a slightly milder climate than the mainland – and a history of both environmental entrepreneurs and Viking raids.
Our initial design research took us back 1000 years to the jewelry, coin motives, and carvings of that time. We also turned to the ceramics, silver works, and graphic prints of the early 1900th century – an era where nature had its own voice in design.
And we decided to make a complex yet raw stamp-like logo for Samsø Bær. A modern logo rooted in history with many layers of meaning and imageries of growth.
Researching: A few of many references through the ages: Jewelry, ceramics by Bindesbøll, KB-logo a.m..
Taking form: A few of the first hundred logo sketches.
WHEN LOOKING AT THE LOGO
Every lover of Samsø will recognize the island’s silhouette as a central figure in the logo – maybe not the first time, they look, but at a second glance. Surrounding the island is a wave that connects a hovering sun to the soil below with three berries nodding richly.
Close to the company’s main farm lies a beautiful bay. On the logo, we altered the shape of this bay slightly to create a fourth berry – a strawberry – as a negative shape in the middle.
And if you focus on the logo’s negative form, you see something entirely different. To the left is a rhubarb leaf or a furrowed field, depending on the angle. On the right – if you tilt your head slightly – some will see a figure with its arms open wide. We call it the spirit of Samsø.
Winner 2021: Silver Award, Company logo / Branding
Winner 2021: Bronze Award, ICMA Awards, logodesign
Design Sara Itkin (Itkin.dk) & Sigrún Gudbrandsdóttir (Sigrun.nu)
A STRENGTH AND A CHALLENGE
The company’s name contains two words: ‘Samsø’ (the location) and ‘Berries’ (the raw material). This proved to be a strength as well as a challenge.
A strength, because the name instantly describes the company and connects with the strong brand of the island.
A challenge, because the word ‘berries’ is superfluous when used on products also containing the word (“Samsø Berries Raspberry Juice”). And a few products don’t contain berries, which makes the name confusing (“Samsø Berries Walnut Liquor”).
Taking form, part II: A few of the many logotype sketches.
We solved this challenge by creating three versions of the name:
Version 1. Company name, spelled out, letters only. Mainly to be used with the logo.
Version 2. Company name, spelled out, intertwined with a berry stem. One berry replaces the Danish letter ‘Ø’ in ‘Samsø’.
Version 3. A short version spelling only ‘Samsø’ + the berry stem. It still ‘reads’ ‘Samsø Berries’, but without the need of the word berries.
Less is not always more. Together these elements make up a versatile identity that both brands the company and simplifies communication, as well as making space for multiple product identities.
Finished logotype, short version.
“Una imagen más personal de la empresa y con más profundidad (…) Este logotipo está realizado totalmente de forma manual y su representación claramente alude a su actividad. Para combinar el emblema se ha utilizado una tipografía con la que han jugado de forma muy inteligente para dar como resultado uno de los mejores logos de 2021 – 2022 que ha sido premiado con un European Design Awards en la categoría de Branding / Company Logo.”
A Spanish designblog has elevated our Samsø Bær logo as trendsetting because of it’s handmade qualities (Hacerlo a mano), emphasizing a fuller, more personal image of the company. They commend us for the clarity of the logo as well as the’ intelligent play with forms’ in combination with our choices in typography.
& VISUAL IDENTITY
Design: Sara Itkin & Sigrún Gudbrandsdóttir
The EDAWARD entry text has been updated and edited slightly, and more pictures have been added.