We have developed a new brand name and visual identity for the Norwegian State Railways, NSB. The aim is to unify all aspects of its passenger transport business under one, common brand name that better communicates the company’s vision for the future of mobility.
NSB has gone through substantial changes in recent years and finds that the company’s name is no longer suitable for its business. Founded in 1883, the company has previously been responsible for the entire Norwegian railway operations. Today, the company is responsible for travelers, but does not manage or own the rails, signaling systems, stations or trains. The company is also the largest bus operator in Norway through the Nettbuss division. Additionally, the NSB Group operates both buses and trains in Sweden, and electric city cars in Norway, making it a diversified mobility provider.
A New Outlook
In order to communicate its current operations in a better way, and to manifest the company’s shared ambition to create better mobility services for the future, NSB will introduce a new, common brand name for all its personal transport operations; Vy.
The word vy stems from the French word vue, derived from voir, which means “to see”. In Norwegian it has a similar meaning; a view, a perspective, an outlook, or a vision. The name brings associations to the fundamentals of travelling – to see new things, to get new perspectives and to broaden one’s horizon. It’s reminiscent of childhood memories, of looking out of a train window and seeing the landscape pass by at terrific speed. Or the daily routine of sitting in the train or on the bus, glancing up at the sky, being in motion while the point of view appears to be constant.
– Vy is a real, Scandinavian word, which is distinctive in nature yet not widely used in modern language. At the same time, it’s short and iconic, easy to remember and visually appealing. It also carries a similar meaning both in Norwegian and Swedish, the two markets in which Vy currently operates, says Snøhetta Founder Kjetil Trædal Thorsen.
– Moreover, in plural, to have “vyer” means to have visions, or vistas. Vy’s vision for the future is to make it easier for people to travel collectively and environmentally friendly, and to minimize the need to own a personal car. We have found it very rewarding to work with a client with such great ambitions for the future of mobility, and who have dared to choose a bold new visual identity that emphasizes this commitment, he concludes.
The Notion of Movement
The logo is presented as one movement, from beginning to end, or from V to Y, more specifically. It forms a whole, continuous line that brings associations to railway tracks, to the motorway, to tire tracks on an open road, or even to the staves that govern movement and pitch in musical notation. The notion of movement is present throughout the visual identity, from the shape of the logo to the molding of the typography.
The bespoke type family, comprising Vy Sans in three weights and Vy Display, were developed in collaboration with type designer Göran Söderström from Letters from Sweden and is based on Lab Grotesque.
Referencing grotesques and gothics from the time of the State Railway’s founding. Vy Sans has a crisp, modern look with a subtle distinctiveness, whereas Vy Display shares the same skeleton yet mirrors the pen strokes of the logo. The resulting semi-serif typeface has a unique and strong personality that supports brand recognition.
The lines in the logo and typography represent the holistic journey of transportation – not merely the route from station to station, but the entire door-to-door journey from home to the final destination.
The visual identity is tied together through a carefully selected color palette composed of contrasting warm and cold colors with varying degrees of clarity, spanning from bright emerald green to pine green and anthracite grey.
The palette is based on the encounter between nature and culture; colors you see and experience when you move through cities, fjords and mountains – representing Vy’s multifaceted services within public mobility services. The green tones particularly emphasize Vy’s commitment to developing and promoting environmentally friendly transport services.
The new visual identity will be displayed in a wide range of areas, from the decoration of the trains, buses and electric city cars, to a common set of uniforms for all bus drivers, conductors and train drivers. Signage, business cards, digital services and apps will also undergo the transition to the new visual identity, to manifest that Vy is a company that deals with the movement of people in more than one respect.