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May 2, 2012

Nokia Pure: Graphic Design of the Year Award 2012

Last week we walked away with an award from the ‘Oscars of the design world’ at the Design Museum’s Designs of the Year 2012. Congratulations and well done to the team! You might be surprised to hear that it wasn’t a phone that walked away with the award, it was our universal typeface: Nokia Pure

Our effort to create a unified tone of voice across many territories was awarded with the highest design accolade in the ‘Graphics’ category, fighting off competition from many entrants.

Let me put this award into a little bit of context for those of you that aren’t aware of it. Each year the Design Museum in London showcases and awards the most innovative and progressive designs from around the world (across seven categories: Architecture, Digital, Fashion, Furniture, Graphics, Product and Transport). The awards are highly recognised in the design community so it was an honour for Nokia to be a frontrunner.

The overall winner across all of the categories was the ‘London 2012 Olympic Torch‘, designed by Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby. Other notable winners included ‘Microsoft Kinetic for Xbox 360 and Kinect SDK‘ in the Digital Award category and the ‘London 2012 Velodrome by Hopkins Architects‘ in the Architecture Award category.

The other day I caught up with Aapo Bovellan, one of the leading creators of the Nokia Pure typeface and incidentally the guy who originally coined the name for it. He was obviously ecstatic to collect the award on behalf of Nokia during the evening and told me a few facts about the journey he had been on. I’ve summarised some of Aapo’s points below, all in his own words:

– I was passionate and thirsty a few years ago to create a new typeface that would act as the key manifestation of the Nokia brand. Most companies would just change the logo and a few letterheads in a typical brand identity overhaul but we wanted to create something that was universally recognisable as ‘Nokia’ across all of our territories.

– We kicked off the process in October 2010, Nokia wanted a typeface that reflected the companies design style moving forward. The tough part was making the typeface distinctly recognisable in so many different languages, this was the key to brand harmony and synergy.

– By Christmas time 2010 we had nailed the basic expression of what the new typeface would look like. When March crept around the corner we were ready to launch an exhibition showcasing the new look at the Tram Shed in Shoreditch. We went for a simple, pure and functional look.

– I came up with the name Nokia Pure, I think it sounds incredibly human and works on a global scale. The typeface most definitely reflects Nokia’s design language and the N9 was the first phone to incorporate this typeface into its user interface. We were incredibly happy to have an OS in place to support the new typeface within the first year of production.

– The award is incredibly prestigious, so to be included alongside some of the other highly regarded winners was great, it shows you how much work we all put in to make the project flourish. We didn’t know we were going to win the award prior to evening starting so it was an awesome surprise for us all! Typeface has never received the Graphic Award before so it made the accolade feel even more special.

Aapo really wanted everyone in the community to find out more about the Nokia Pure typeface, so here are some valuable links for you guys to check out:

Nokia Brand Book 

The Nokia Pure blog

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