Oslo for Nike

Photography by Martin Sangolt

Oslo based designer Hans Christian Øren at Oh Yeah Studio recently designed a new typeface for Nike’s new concept store in Oslo. It left him with a different view of the Norwegian capital.

As the concept store was going to be located in the heart of the Norwegian capital, Nike wanted a local creative to design a typeface that would reflect Oslo and the Nordic as a means to create a unique and Oslo-esque experience of Nike. In order to do so, Hans Christan took to walking the streets in search for Oslo’s identity.

«Even though I’ve lived in Oslo for many years I found it really challenging,» Hans Christian says. «In terms of architecture, art and culture, Oslo has a lot to offer, but as the city has had countless different styles over the course of two thousand years, I couldn’t find a consistent one. By walking around and sort of re-experiencing the city, my perception of Oslo changed and evolved constantly, which to me was quite surprising.»

In what way is your perception altered?
«As creatures of habit, we tend to repeat our patterns. I've lived here for eight years, but I walk the same route to work, shop at the same grocery store, and more often that not I go to the same bars and restaurants. This assignment forced me to break free from my patterns and get a feel for the entire city, forcing me to reflect upon what Oslo actually has to offer. Inevitably it led to new experiences and I realised Oslo is more unique than what its inhabitants might believe it to be. It’s with good reason Wallpaper* named Oslo one of the architectural cities of the world.»

In the end, the running track at the Bislett Stadium proved to be an essential source of inspiration.

«Bislett has a central position in Oslo’s history as an international arena for sports and celebration, equal to the the iconic Holmenkollen. The lines from the running track laid the foundation for the whole typography.»

Why this hands-on search for insight and inspiration, is it a common method for you?  «All processes are different, but I'm usually most happy with the projects that are characterised by a conceptualised, hands-on approach. I believe in going outside and using your senses; to listen, touch and smell—it triggers creativity."

Suitably, the typeface is titled Oslo, and motion agency Babusjka is behind the case study below—an animated adaptation of winning the race, maintaining focus and being present.

TypographyMarkus Støle