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Gnezdovo National Park

Gnezdovo’s history dates back more than 1000 years. However, the unique union of nature and history had had no household name until recently. We solved the problem and developed a corporate design for the national park. A lot of history, a lot of nature, and a bit of modernity are combined in a new Stayfirst project. Knowing history of a country, a region is a duty of any intelligent person, say the least of it. However, it is much better to learn history not through books, but through places where it literally surrounds you. Gnezdovo National Park is one of such magnificent places.

Gnezdovo Archeological Sites Complex is the largest one not only in Russia, but also in Europe. It is located on both banks of the Dnepr River in 10-12 km to the west from Smolensk. On the verge of the IX-X centuries, it was an important center on the trade route from the Varangians to the Greeks. In the late XX century, it became a favorite camping place among residents of Smolensk. Unfortunately, not everybody treated nature in a civilized manner. Fortunately for everybody who cares about heritage sites, a development concept was written for the national park in 2011. Within a framework of implementation of the concept, we developed a corporate design for Gnezdovo.

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Development of a corporate design for a national park means territory branding. Therefore, we performed a great preliminary research, analyzing successful cases of our colleagues who developed brands for major national parks in the world (Yellowstone and Yosemite National Park), cities, countries, and a great volume of historic data about Gnezdovo. We had a difficult task: to preserve a balance between traditions and modernity in a new brand Gnezdovo, to show attractiveness and relevance of the national park for would-be guests without sacrificing historicity.

We managed to embody our ideas through unique elements of the corporate design – a logo, corporate colors, and graphical patterns, as well as a motto. It started from an amphora that was found by an archeologist Avdusin in one of Gnezdovo burial hills in 1949. The amphora differed from others which were also found in the national park by the fact that there was the oldest sign in Russian on its wall. Of course, such an important item for the national park became a key graphical element of a new logo. The stylized name of the park and a descriptor complemented the amphora. The logo has two cases – a Russian one and an international one, in English.

The other important element of identity was corporate colors. Due to colors, we presented another significant feature of Gnezdovo: it is not only a historic and archeological complex, but also a wildlife national park. A combination of four colors – green fern, carmine (resembling red clay used by craftsmen), burnt umbra, and a color of earth – represent a union of nature and a human.

One more visual constant is straight lines crossing each other at different angles. On the one hand, the pattern represents stylized cracks on the amphora from Gnezdovo’s logo, pointing out antiquity; on the other hand, rigid geometry throws a bridge across the centuries and enables all elements of the design to look truly relevant.

Finally, the last but not the least element of the corporate design is a motto of the national park. The motto verbalizes our main idea of the project – Gnezdovo is a meeting place for you and history. A place of ancient Smolensk. Constants of the corporate design were embodied in communication materials of the national park: booklets, business cards, letter headed papers. Minimalism and a focus on natural beauty enabled us to precisely deliver a message which is founded in the new brand to a target audience – tourists and fans of history and camping.

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Branding of Gnezdovo National Park is a project which perfectly matches Stayfirst’s philosophy: to not only create attractive and working marketing products, but also change people’s life for the better through our work. Due to our work, residents of Smolensk received a very special place for camping, while Gnezdovo got its original face. In the context of the current macroeconomic and political reality, tourist flows are being redirected to the internal market. Not only infrastructure and services, but also a catchy original brand of a place influences people’s choice. The world practice has proved that territory branding is a ground for permanent attractiveness for tourists. Unfortunately, today many existing and potential tourist centers of Russia lack it.