Severnoe Trekhrechie

Six municiples fantastical branding: one for all and all for one

Severnoe Trekhrechie or Northern Trio Rivers is the tourism association of six municiples on the southern edge of Arkhangelsk Oblast. This is the first self-organized tourist cluster, that came up to idea of unification. We particularly emphasize this project, because it demonstrates how the local community can thankfully carry on the idea, rightfully use it and gain full benefits together from the brand even without sufficient financial support or corporate funding.
Client: 6 municiples on the South East of Arkhangelsk Oblast

Work: research, branding, design, maps

Winter views on the Trekhrechie municiples that are commonly missed when going to Arkhangelsk Oblast and left behind unnoticed
Severnoe Trekhrechie is located 600km to the south east from Arkhangelsk
Geographically, as mentioned before, this is the southern edge of Arkhangelsk Oblast. Mentally, it is something in between Vologda and the canonical russian north. Located along the transport branches, these territories are always visited as is, during moving somewhere else, thus seldom being the final point of arriving.
Funding of the project was tough. It was difficult for every municipality to find funding for the branding separately, yet it was done. This demonstrated the eagerness to be a part of the association. The perseverance that was shown, demonstrate that it was important for the community to get the result they all headed to.
Natalia Rybalchenko
Fantastical research
The work began with a hospitable unexpectedly fantastic warm visit to Kotlas and surrounded locations. Our visit was greately welcomed by the residents: it is truly a "Northern Sicilia", like the people from association like to call themselves. It was almost like entering the northern fairy-tale: Blueberry sisters, grandfather Borovichok, mother Winter, the Tender cat from Kotlas: we couldn't name them all. We went on a trip across all six locations, held round tables, took interviews and ended up with the strategic session at the local cultural center.
Target audience
Benefits of unifying are straightforward fot the municipal communities: sharing expenses together, uniforming a single level of hospitality, perfomancing together under the single title on the regional exhibitions or federal ones as a team. If to speak about tourists, then there are three categories:
  • Local

    1. Motivating to explore the neighbour municipalities
    2. Feeling proud of the locality
  • Regional

    1. Raising interest to the Southern region of huge Arkhangelsk Oblast for tourists
    2. Founding interest for investors
  • Federal

    1. Telling russian tourists about the place worth to visit beyond well-known Uftyug
Six fairy-talesness municiples
Short summary of economics of every municipal unit showed that the amount of fairy-talesness and children themed tourism was higher than normal. Perhaps, the location behind the Ustyug's father Frost hometown had an impact. Historically, this was a single territory, yet now Ustyug is so much well-known, that no much travel beyond, like it's a dead end, but it is not.
  • Kotlas
    1. Transport hub
    2. Art community
    3. Center of association
    4. Poultry farm, meat processing
    5. Tender Cat mascot (photo)
  • Koryazhma
    1. Industrial center
    2. Largest paper production in Ilim
    3. Kotlas chemical plant
    4. Driftwood into paper exhibition
  • Kotlassky District
    1. Pomor boats made by Shutikhin
    2. Stroganov heritage in Solvychegodsk
    3. Vladimir Amalitsky found ancient reptile leftovers (photo)
  • Lensky District
    1. Mother Winter residence and mascot (photo)
    2. Wood processing industry
  • Vilegodsky District
    1. Picturesque views
    2. Aunty Cat museum (photo)
    3. Wedding ceremonies are held
    4. Vilegodsky bread production
  • Krasnoborsky District
    1. Residence of the Big Mushroom and one of its many mascots (photo)
    2. Borisov museum
    3. Three traditional local paintings
    4. Wild berries
Reasons to Believe
Title "Severnoe Trekhrechie" was invented by the local community and thus was loved by it. There were some attempts made by us to find an alternative to this fairytaleful title, yet all of them had been weaker and couldn't compete with what was made locally.
And that is correct: you'd better be attentive towards what was there before you came. New variants made by the newcomers, denying all what was there, almost never take roots. Exception is what made together in collaboration with the residents.
Natalia Rybalchenko
Then we got to the tagline. It was made according to the trinity principle of the most conspicuous features of the locality. We called it languages or, better say, dialects to bring the vibe of locality to the tourist.
  • River dialect

    1. Viled'
    2. Vychegda
    3. Malaya Severnaya Vychegda
  • Forest dialect

    1. The massive amount of forests are located in the region
    2. Wood processing is the number one economic of the region
  • Art dialect

    1. Amount of creativity between people is overwhelming even to our standarts
    2. There is an art community in Kotlas
    3. Lots of children tourism products
Three rivers, forest, art
This is tagline. Truth be told, it is not used much, actually and doesn't affect anything
Grand presentation
We presented our work to the administration of the six municiples in Kotlas and the feedback was promising and inspiring for further cooperation.
The official presentation took a lot of attention, media and all the six municiple heads had been invited
Large amount of creativity in the association inspired on designing the highly variative identity, as well.
  • Three rivers
    Severnaya Dvina, Vychegda, Viled'
  • Forests
    District is famous for woods
  • Northern wildberries
Severnoe Trekhrechie logo in all its northness
Logo variations could be endless
By changing the topmost element of the logo with any other image, the endless amounts of new branding can be constructed at ease. This makes producing new subbrands inside the cluster quick, easy and recognizable.
Traditional paintings, flax production, art and wood workings logos
Art community, logo of the snow queen, seeds of flax, birch workshop
Recycling logo, Koryazhma branding (they are fond of pines), Easter and flower shop
When you meet creative community, like here in Kotlas, then it's better not to limit them to the strict rules of design and give freedom for creating. And we gave it to them.
Igor Makovsky
Endless number of logos makes endless amount of patterns, which makes branding even more convinient for the future use.
Example of koryazhma pattern and artsy trekhrechie patterns
Trekhrechie type
Sharp and fragile like the frozen ice, the Trekhrechie type was made for the headers and large attentive texts.
Trekhrechie Display brand type
This type looks damn cringy on the stone of Kotlassia park with ancient reptiles beyond
Design guidelines are relatively easy to use, which is always good when working with outskirts. On the other hand, the results always appear to look bright, modern and very joyful.
Set of examples of how the logo and the pattern are used
Salternative town logo
By the way, one of the locations inside the territory of Severnoe Trekhrechie, the old salt making town Solvychegodsk with population of 2K residents and mesmerized Stroganov dynasty architecture, at first got a "tree logo" and then came up with enquiry fot its own separated brand infrastructure.
Black and salty variation of the Severnoe Trekhrechie brand comes for Solvychegodsk
Map of the six municiples
Ofcourse, any territory association needs a visual representative of the location on a map. Our map follows the brand is focused on three rivers and settlements following them. The more the map lives, the more local brands are added to it.
Map of the six municiples that form the Severnoe Trekhrechie tourism association
Furthermore, every single large settlement in the association got their visually appealing minimal map template with intention to add new highlighted points of interest on it independently. They are: Solvychegodsk, Yarensk, Kotlas, Koryazhma, Ilyinsko-Podomskoe and Krasnoborsk.
Six maps of the core settlements in the association that can be used as a starting point for adding more objects on them
Here are a few examples of how this map is actually used on the territory. We'd say: piece of cake!
The same map is used for showing municipal brands, meet tourists at the railway station, and decorate the awesome cake topping
Northern Trionline website
Our friends at Les Agency have created a very user-friendly unifying tourist portal, using our guidelines. With the lack of the brandmanager and administrator, this website lacks timely updates.
Friendly and informative website made by our partners, Les Agency
Social involvement
Severnoe trekhrechie is widely used during art lessons in schools, kindergartens and was created with that in mind. The amount of freedom and creativity that the identity has, makes it easy to implement it into games, such as draw your own Trioriver logo contest:
Draw your own logo sketchbook for kids
Results of the "draw your own logo for Kotlas town" refer to the famous town mascot, the Tender Cat. They haven't made their way to final and haven't been accepted by the town administration, but if they were, then residents from Myshkin might be worried.
All sorts of cats on a Kotlas logo concept refer to the town mascot, which is a tender cat.
Getting familiar with the brand lessons with children
Trekhrechie today
We're happy to see, that the brand works and is rather recognizable, no matter that it exists mostly on the internal motivation of its participants which is generous. Yet it is still deeply provincial in terms of content and visuals. The level of the tourist products is still low and almost nowhere grew. New tourist projects are mosltly non-synced with each other and we silently get in shock every time we're faced with new Kotlas creativity, like the metallic "Tender Cats" on the streets, which are especially disgusting and tasteless.

Tender cat terminators made from steel (1 meter high each) can be found across Kotlas
Kotlas, as the gateway to the Severnoe Trekhrechie is in strong need of a good art-direction. Without it even nice intentions fall to the extreme tasteless results like the Tender cats or the town guidelines. Being a transport hub, there is not a single museum about railway transport, yet there are steel cats connected by a tourist route. Like I use to say: "Вместо дизайн-кода, приняли дизайн-кот"
Igor Makovsky
Northern Trekhrechie mentions
  • Natalia Rybalchenko
    Brand strategist, researcher
  • Igor Makovsky
    Art director, designer
  • Nastya Obudenkova
    Journalist, researcher
  • Oleg Moseev
    Tourism expert
  • Tatiana Antonova
    Thanks for support
More projects in Arkhangelsk Oblast
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2017 … 2018
2020 … 2021
2019 … 2024