Rebranding the capital
of Scandinavia

The most populated city in the Nordics and home to the second largest tech-scene in the world, there’s no doubt that Stockholm is something special. Essen International was contracted by the City of Stockholm in 2012 following the city’s decision to realize their vision of branding a “world-class Stockholm”.

A city greater than the sum of its parts


We soon launched what was to become a five-year process in defining Stockholm’s brand strategy, identity, and applications. Little did we know that the process would branch out to include the design of Stockholm’s international marketing, Stockholm Business Region, and branding of the whole archipelago.

A system for the citizens


With a vision in place, a brand architecture decision was made. Stockholm was to have one brand. Our ambition was to clarify for all citizens what products and services were funded with their tax money. Designing a strong yet flexible identity that could work well across all touchpoints of a progressive city.

Voluntary implementation


We quickly understood that the implementation of the new identity would be voluntary city-wide. Meaning that if we wanted to design an effective and beloved identity, we would need to consider every department and employee’s opinion, needs and ambitions in order for the architecture to be adopted with pride.

With the new graphic identity, all the city’s activities are linked together and become much clearer, making it easier for the people of Stockholm to understand what we do.

Hanna Brogren, Director of Communications, Stockholm City

From garbage-handling to culture


For the visual expression to function across all departments city-wide, it had to be flexible. We updated the city crest, crafted extensive iconography, and created a utilitarian bespoke typeface to match. Aligning the city’s expression meant departments could differentiate through a wide palette of colors to suit their needs.

Stockholm 2.0


The new identity marked a decidedly new direction for Stockholm. The updated crest quickly became synonymous with all the diverse services the city provides, as the brand guidelines compelled the city to say more with less. Inspiring friendlier communication that has since become a global benchmark in city branding.


  • Brand architecture

  • Brand platform

  • Brand positioning

  • Naming

  • Communication strategy

  • Content strategy

  • Social media strategy

  • Change management program

  • Qualitative and quantitative research studies


  • Visual identity

  • Verbal identity

  • Bespoke typeface

  • Iconography

  • Illustrations

  • Motion design

  • UI design

  • Packaging

  • Websites and apps

  • Environmental

  • Guidelines / Brand portals


  • Copywriting

  • Scriptwriting

  • Photography direction and production

  • Motion video direction and production

  • SEO

  • Campaign

  • Marketing plan

  • Content plan

  • Social media plan

  • Implementation plan

  • Design templates

  • Office templates


  • Prototyping