Last July the Hopkins-Park girls youth hockey association unveiled their new name and identity. This rebranding initiative aimed to bring a fresh sense of unity and shared purpose among the combined associations. Five months prior to the unveiling, a name was chosen and for me it was off to the races sketching, ideating and designing an entirely new system for the program. The name that was chosen was the “Nordics.”
I first researched the name, even immersing myself in a book on the subject. To my surprise, I discovered that the term “Nordic” bears no direct connection to Vikings, contrary to what many may assume—especially in our Minnesota context. Instead, it originates from the word “Norden,” denoting “of the North.” In the late 1950s, several Scandinavian countries embraced this term, forming what is now known as “The Nordic Council.” This historical significance made the “Nordics” an ideal choice, as it embodied the essence of two Minnesota hockey teams forming their own partnership.
As the last of the 2021 winter snow finally melted, I got to work fully enveloped in a cold, nordic mindset. I always start by sketching as many directions as possible before going digital. I’ve found in my career that going straight to the computer can pigeonhole you in a specific direction far too quickly. Sketching is fast and generates a lot of ideas. After this initial phase, I narrowed down the options to five promising directions, which I then began refining in Illustrator. In this refining stage, one mark quickly rose above the rest and narrated a story that was too good to be true. An elegant star representing each association with the negative space between them forming the iconic Nordic N, symbolizing their new collective identity.
Orange Nordic Star:
The vibrant orange represents the St. Louis Park side of the association. Positioned at the top of the mark, the warmer hue maintains a balance, preventing it from overpowering the design while evoking the majesty of a Minnesota sunrise.
Blue Nordic Star:
The cool blue represents the Hopkins side of the association. Nestled at the bottom of the mark the darker blue adds visual weight and pays homage to the serene blue lakes that grace the Minnesota landscape.
Formed within the negative space between the orange and blue Nordic stars, the elegant contours form the letter N, symbolizing the unified identity of the newly merged Nordics. The fluid curves of the N emulate the flow of Minnehaha Creek, which connects the respective territories of the two associations.
The new identity of the Hopkins-Park girls youth hockey association gave both sides a common brand to rally around. It was an incredible project to work on. Watching teams (and my daughters) hit the ice this past season wearing my design and fans cheering decked out in Nordics apparel is not something I will soon forget.
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