KURSK OBLAST, Russia
Kurchatov brand
Rockstar in nuclear town branding
Rosatom is keen to keep towns of its presence in a feeling of constant care. Social projects are in special focus. In 2019, Rosatom launched a branding initiative for all the towns under title "Rosatom together". Mission was to find a unification and unique idea for every of the seemingly alike nuclear monotowns. Rosatom asked a few companies to help with consulting needs. We've got two: Kurchatov and Desnogorsk. Terms were as follows and meant to last pretty fast: visit the territory, do a research, meet all the people at the round table strategic session, get all the insights, visualize it, present it to the active town community and the administration and make a brandbook. Later on the towns had to come to the Rosatom headquarters in Moscow and participate in a special show, where they ought to show and tell about the work done.

Client: Rosatom

Work: research, branding, design

2019
Successful town branding is the thing that grows within community request and cannot be put on from the authorities. Besides, it takes time for people to formulate ideas and get used to the brand. Monotowns has deep active corporate attendance in town and often solves such problems quickly after the official inquiry. It was our first time to find out how will it work out.
Natalia Rybalchenko
BRAND STRATEGIST
Research
No matter how quick the results on branding should be, visiting town, and having a meeting with respondents is crucial and mandatory part of every project for us.
Internet research will give you the obvious results, real communication will give you insights.
Natalia Rybalchenko
BRAND STRATEGIST
We had a few days in Kurchatov and it was enough to visit administration, museums, had a stroll around the center, have a look on the two nuclear stations and meet unexpected person, Sergey Divavin, who is the turbine repair engineer on the nuclear station, artist famous for working with "Krasnaya Plyesen" band and awesome kind-hearted guy, who inspired us on working with Kurchatov.
Sergey the engineer and the artist
We met Sergey on the round table meeting, where he was the most active one and had many ideas to share, including the cyberpunk town design for Kurchatov. He invited us to have a beer and was always around when talking about brand. Here is more info on him.
Sergey truly inspired us on making this concept as it is. I can confirm that he showed, that Kurchatov energy lies beyond the typical brand kursk nightingales and fireflies. I bet we'd took a firefly instead if it wasn't him who proved that Igor Kurchatov rocks.
Igor Makovsky
ART-DIRECOR AND DESIGNER
Rock star in nuclear energy
Town is named after Igor Kurchatov (1903 — 1960), soviet nuclear physicist who guided the development of Russia's first atomic bomb, first practical thermonuclear bomb, and first nuclear reactor. There are thousand organizations across the whole Russia named after this guy. Pure rock star, just look at him and admire. Nuclear energy could be sexy as hell. Fuck Feynman and Einstein, here goes Igor Kurchatov.
We bet there is a nuclear fusion reactor in Kurchatov's beard
Kurchatov lights on!
Concept
We made Kurchatov the main hero of the brand for obvious reasons. There is no straight translation, without loosing the pun that makes it work in russian. Let's say it has the same meaning like "Kurchatov rocks!" but with "light" that also means put a light on something.
Insights
What we got
  1. Bright sparkling personality of Igor Kurchatov.
  2. Kurchatov nuclear power plant powers up the nearby territories and lights up them.
  3. Kurchatov is a very light town at nights. People do note this.
  4. The new magnificient power plant is being built — the light of the future, as people call it.
  5. Firefly is the unspoken peaceful symbol of Kurchatov, who is behind ecological part of the heavily discussed topic.
  6. Sculpture of Prometheus in town who gave fire to the people, under title "the Peaceful Atom", though the Prometheus face looks like he seen some shit.
  7. Kursk region and Kurchatov are standing on a black fertile soil, which is — you guessed it — totally black in color
  8. Rosatom is especially interested in creating comfortable conditions for younger generation. Branding is mostly focues on them.
Lights!
Rocks!
  1. Inspires on new accomplishments, thoughts, feelings and desires
  2. Achieving goals and strive to win
  3. Empowering on not giving up to difficulties facing you
  4. Gives courage to stand up against your values
  5. Lights on power in houses and production
  6. Borns new stars in culture and sport
Kurchatov logo
Design
Logo resembles the light as we picture it in a laconic and simple way that anyone can understand. It is dynamic and its rays could be expanded if needed. It is very easy to use and print. You can put it anywhere and it will just work. It works on contrast with the beautifully brutal font, we're putting it next to.
Nostra lights on
Type Nostra
Awesome font by Lucas Descroix named Nostra creates immediate associations with the graphite moderated nuclear power plant surface for those who understand. For others, it's just brutal square-like monowidth type that perfectly suits the soviet aesthetic that Kurchatov with all its panel houses and overall atmosphere.
Illustrations
Design works well with photos and illustrations of all kind, that reflect other town specularities, with emphasis on unforgettable Prometheus.
Awesome Prometheus illustration by Sergey Divavin
Merch
We've produced the first set of merch and clearly demonstrated that all the ideas we had could look perfect in real life, just as planned.
Showcase
Local artists, schools and art studios from Kurchatov had been working hard for a few months to make an impressive brand presentation on the edge of perfomance. There were dances, children involved, music, and jokes. We had been impressed by the poetic sand video. Who could have thought, nuclear town has such a romantic vibe! We bet somebody shed a tear watching this creation.
Since 4 years, the brand is completely forgotten and totally unused. There was an attempt on carrying out a festival of light and fire of the same name, yet as we see, it hadn't got any support. Consider this work a screenplay for a one-day perfomance and let it be a fact, that brands that had been requested from the above corporations just doesn't grow, when there is no community that understands how to use it.
Natalia Rybalchenko
BRAND STRATEGIST
Left-to-right: Igor Makovsky, Natalia Ermakova (former manager), Igor Korpunkov (town head), Natalia Makovksy
  • Natalia Makovsky
    Brand strategy, research
  • Igor Makovsky
    Art direction, designer
  • Lucas Descroix
    Nostra type designer
  • Sergey Divavin
    Kurchatov soul
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