The Brand Identity

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Olssøn Barbieri’s charming identity for Stavanger Ysteri juggles nature, mythology and philosophy

Have you ever seen a prettier cheese brand? Norweigan artisanal urban cheese factory Stavanger Ysteri was founded by Lise Brunborg with the aim to service traditional, generational family recipes; harnessing science and tradition with the hope to set an example towards organic food production and ‘the future of food.’

Commissioning Oslo-based design practice Olssøn Barbieri, the Stavanger-based dairy proprietors have cemented their brand identity after five years of production, in which time Brunborg has made a name for herself within the food industry, renowned and utilised across Norway’s best restaurants. 

Succeeding in aligning the quality and reputation of the cheese with its aesthetic, the identity is a reflection of passion, vision and tradition; creating a handsome visual system that takes inspiration from Brunborg’s personal fascination with nature, mythology and philosophy and the concoction of the three. 

Olssøn Barbieri explain how this interesting thematic combination is surprisingly prevalent in the traditional production of cheese, with the process of fermentation (which is required in the production of cheese with raw milk) historically seen as magical. Despite our contemporary scientific awareness of microorganisms and their role in the procedure, it doesn’t make nature and our relationship to it any less fascinating. This harmonious, kind and thoughtful consideration is what forms the backbone of the brand and gives them their playful and familiar tone of voice, beginning with the prominent use of illustration.

Mirroring the natural processes behind the cheese’s production, Olssøn Barbieri commissioned illustrator Debora Szpilman, who’s elegant, organic mark-making provides an innately human touch, in keeping with the hands-on and personal nature of the company. With different mythical tableaus illustrated to reflect the stories behind the individual cheeses, the monochromatic images are paired with a naturally soft white background used across the brand and packaging to echo both the sterile, but lofty, laboratory and the milk itself. 

Within the same spirit of unifying the traditional and the scientific, Olssøn Barbieri developed a simple labelling system for the cheeses that is unique and time-honoured in its character. With two sizes, one for a full wheel and one for cut segments, emblazoned with a round embossed logo; the stickers are cost-effectively and thoughtfully printed with a single colour and applied by hand, followed by a small colourful label dictating the cheese type and product name. The subtle introduction of colour through these beautifully-designed labels provides a friendly contrast to the neutral cheese, packaging and stickers – allowing the product to stand out from the crowd as well as bring a contemporary spark to the packaging.

The combination of typefaces Cheltenham and Ostia Antica were chosen to partner with Szpilman’s tender illustrations, both providing a historical and sympathetic aesthetic. Olssøn Barbieri explain that the choice of Cheltenham was determined by their Arts and Crafts inspiration, utilising Ostia Antica’s functional but affectionate structure as a creative contrast. 

Not only does Brunborg hope to set a precedent for moral food production, but also an example of equal representation within the food and design industry. In their partnership with the all-female run and operated Stavanger Ysteri, Olssøn Barbieri supported Brunborg’s endeavour and ran the entire product with an appropriately all-female design team. Overall, the outlook and action of Stavanger Ysteri and Olssøn Barbieri are equally the criterion for consideration and progression in their respective productions and attitudes to conduct.

Typefaces: Cheltenham by Bitstream / Ostia Antica by Bureau Brut
Illustration: Debora Szpilman

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