nenetsky autonomous okrug
Things that matter
Nenets Autonomous Okrug is a region in the north of Russia and the least populated federal subject of the country. The vast territory of the region is almost entirely located above the Arctic Circle. The last snow melts here at the end of July, and winter lasts 220-240 days on average.

The region is known for its tundra landscape and natural wonders like the northern lights and the polar day. The largest of the indigenous small-numbered ethnic groups of the north — the Nenets live here. There are ~7000 of them in the NAO out of 43 thousand of the total population of the region.
The challenge
In 2019, we were challenged to create a regional brand for Nenets Autonomous Okrug together with the Business Development Center and the community of local entrepreneurs.

How to unite different places in the region under a single brand? How to reconcile modern and traditional cultures? After all, a settled urban lifestyle has little in common with the nomadic worldview of the indigenous people.

As a result of the mutual work with the community of entrepreneurs, administration, and local residents a holistic vision and visual style of the NAO brand was born. Today the NAO philosophy inspires new projects and allows existing initiatives and other local brands to be incorporated into this concept, uniting everything under a core sense of NAO — Things that matter.
The strategy
"Time is tangible. In the tundra, a second stretches out into eternity of the polar night and shrinks into a shot of tynzei (lasso for catching a deer). Therefore, tundra people do not rush time." — said the head of reindeer herders in an interview.
The Implementation
The brand's new design and philosophy are being expressed through annual festivals and new business and cultural projects. An important result for us was that entrepreneurs themselves began to implement the brand philosophy in their projects.
The graphics created for the map is used in public art. In November 2020, local artists used the graphics in graffiti to enliven the city's architecture.
The Results
The main goal of creating a regional brand for NAO was to unite local entrepreneurs and stimulate new business and cultural projects that support local identity and tourism development in the region. Since the start of working on the NAO brand, more than 10 new projects have emerged under the common philosophy of tundra, from a restaurant with recipes collected by locals to annual festivals that attract visitors from all over the country. The new design united disparate projects with a single sense.
In 2020 museums of NAO decided to create an association within the NAO brand. For example, the circle as a symbol of the sun inspired a brand for the first Russian Arctic city — Pustozersk. The city disappeared, but there is a museum functioning there, actively forming the local community around it. The museum's logo is a semicircle that resembles the sun setting over the horizon.

Three restaurants actively participated in the brand strategy creation and decided to redesign their interiors and visual style.
Project team
Brand strategist — Natalia Rybalchenko
Art director and designer — Igor Makovsky