Strategy: Zuzana Behova
Creative Direction: Tomas Nedved
Art Direction: Milan Nguyen
Typography: Kvetoslav Bartos (Florian Karsten Typefaces)
Animation: Paweł Ratajczyk, Mateusz Słowakiewicz
Project Management (agency): Nikola Timkovicova
Project Management (client): Martin Cerny
Breclav, in the south-east of the Czech Republic, is an important crossroads. It’s where three countries – Czech Rep., Slovakia and Austria – meet.
To up the game and move Breclav’s design and communication into the 21st century, the city’s representatives decided on a relaunch. The goal was to create a new logo with a complex visual identity system, and roll it out across countless physical and digital channels.
“During the lockdown, we had the opportunity to experience the growing importance of communication through digital technology, but, at the same time, how irreplaceable human-to-human contact is. Effective communication is an important priority for the city in the coming period, and the new visual style is a logical first step to improve this area and get closer to visitors and, above all, the residents of Breclav.”
– Svatopluk Pecek, Mayor of Breclav
The pitch was organised and curated by Czechdesign, an NGO aiming to raise the quality of Czech design in the private and public sectors.
We were one of five entities invited to pitch – and won the account.
Breclav has a rich history, and although with several distinctive monuments, lacks a single landmark its visual identity could relate to. It has a specific atmosphere, very open and dynamic, with politicians who have a strong vision of digitalisation and modernisation. This is probably because big cities like Vienna, Bratislava or Brno are a stone’s throw away. Breclav (population 25,000) has its own humour and quite a distinctive cultural life. Even the folklore, omnipresent in South Moravia, is livelier and, in some sense, more contemporary here. That’s why we wanted to express this energy, dynamism and character in its visual identity.
An essential component of the new brand was, therefore, “good vibes”, the agency’s strongly perceived Southern Comfort-like atmosphere of Breclav and its residents.
We built the visual concept based on the playful letter B. It’s the initial letter of the town’s name, and also represents a grape. This was a subtle reference to wine, a typical local drink – and a heart, hinting at the friendliness and laid-back attitude. The specific shape of the letter B was also a reference to the fact that Breclav was historically considered a crossroads (“all roads, waterways, railways run through Breclav”). The crossroads are not visualised in a way that’s austere or technical, though. Instead they’re organic and winding, just like life itself.
Before the pitch, the town had no visual identity. The only representation was through the historical emblem with the lion, floodplain forests and the castle tower. Abandoning these, we created a unique visual style built on playfulness and a modern feel. It radiates kindness, warmth and welcoming of visitors to their homes. And to the South in general.
Locals quickly adopted the visual identity (and especially the specific letter B) as their own. That’s evidenced by the fact that relatively soon after the launch, the letter was transformed into the new locally-unique product “bretzel” – a fusion of “Breclav” and “pretzel”.