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  Stora Enzo's transformed brand identity


This identity doesn't know what it wants to be, despite what its leaders say it is.

The new Stora Enso identity appears intended as a rethinking of the relationship of the various brand-marks that make up the brand identity. One that, notably, also includes the brand-idea in a semi-traditional lock-up of symbol, wordmark and brandline. No doubt this is intended to reflect the 'rethinking' that is claimed operates at the centre of the transforming business. It appears this identity has permission to be different but the result is, unfortunately, an awkward and unholy mash-up.

Perhaps Stora Enso also aspires to be a new type of brand in the same way BP was for oil and Orange to telecoms. However, the Stora Enso 'rethink' is a million miles from the strategic thinking that created these other ground-breaking brands.

Never mind the more complex symbolism and intellectual analysis of the new identity, it also performs poorly on a number of basic practical levels. At small sizes rethink is unreadable, which is particularly evident on the website. And, is the new brand to be known as 'Stora Enso' or 'Storaenso'? There is probably a strong case for a composite name. The wordmark is also a strange mix of uppercase, lowercase and unicase.

More significantly, Stora Enso gains very little by prompting outsiders and its own internal audience with the word 'rethink'. Rethinking things should be demonstrated rather than merely proclaimed. 'Rethink' may be the determining idea of the brand but proclaiming it is like saying you're funny instead of being funny. Although, rather appropriately, sustainability warrants a rethinking of traditional businesses for genuine sustainable transformation to take place the relationship of 'rethink' to sustainability looks pedantic and forced by the central, isolated and intentionally unusual manner in which it is treated.

The leaves of paper, paper sawmill and/or flower of the eucalyptus tree is a vague and weak justification for the symbol, which is not really a symbol because it's also a sort of place-holding graphic device for the word 'rethink'. As Armin has pointed out the graphic doesn't do any one of these jobs really well. This leaves the identity looking ill-considered and naive.

Overall the new identity appears as a desperate attempt to salvage something from what seems to be an extensive design-led and digital media exercise created in a space devoid of original strategic brand-ideas. The new identity gets high marks for attempting something 'different' but very low marks for mature creative brand thinking for an organisation with such a strong heritage. The result, unfortunately, is a dog's breakfast of half-baked ideas.

Don't claim originality, be original.


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