Tino Nyman’s tranquil identity for ILO Living effortlessly hosts both Latin and Chinese scripts
“The visual identity relies on a dry and minimal Nordic look,” Helsinki-based designer Tino Nyman tells us, discussing the concept behind his work for Shanghai-based retail brand ILO Living. “However, we wanted to tone down the dry Scandinavian tone of voice to an appropriate extent,” he continues, championing the brand’s name in the process; with ‘ilo’ being the Finnish word for ‘joy.’ The identity launched alongside ILO Living’s maiden boutique showroom in Shanghai, designed by interior design company Yatofu.
The brand aims to celebrate the wonder and warmth of Nordic design, an understated genre of design that Nyman has buoyantly interpreted in the identity through an open graphic application, warm, comfortable hues and a striking combination of typefaces. Recalling the typographic choices, Nyman explains that “Haben Grotesk was selected as the logotype to add a playful side,” utilising the rounded architecture of PFA Typefaces’ sans serif release to provide humanity and peculiarity. “The slanted ‘i’ also underlines the playful side of identity,” he continues, “especially when the logo is animated,” bringing a sense of activity to the brand and offering a more practical role. “The slanted ‘i’ also balances the size difference between the words ‘ILO’ and ‘Living,’” Nyman suggests, simply harmonising the conflicting forms of the wordmark.
The grounding of simplicity and play at the core of ILO Living’s brand is strengthened further through its supporting typography, opting for Helsinki Type Studio’s Scarla and Finder by Black[Foundry]. The duo both provide a contemporary tone and visual tranquillity to the identity. “Scarla’s tone of voice is contemporary and has brutalist characteristics,” Nyman details, allowing the type to blend into its modern surroundings effortlessly. “The letters still have a lot of playful and quirky details,” he adds, noting ‘g,’ ‘y’ and ‘R’ as favourites, adding that “Scarla fits perfectly for titles and highlight texts,” giving Finder more of a supportive, pragmatic role. “Fluent readability and simplicity were the top priority for choosing the simplified Chinese part of typography,” Nyman explains, calling on Finder’s prolific language support.
Discussing the considerations of language interplay across the brand, hosting both Latin and Chinese script, Nyman recalls the continual visual tweaking for the two to exist in tandem. “Although the brand is Chinese,” he contextualises, “the English language was used in the communication to emphasise Nordicism to Chinese consumers,” having to strike a balance between the two. “The logo’s typeface Haben did not have any Chinese letters, so I had to alter the Finder font’s glyphs to match the logo’s typeface,” Nyman explains, rounding the Chinese letters to best fit the design. “In longer and substantive texts, Chinese was the primary language,” he concludes, “so Finder plays the main role in the hierarchy of typography.”
Finder by Black[Foundry]