New visual identity for the Ministry of Education Culture and Science

Start: July 2001 Introduction: January 2003 Budget: approximately €500.000,-

Deliverables: new logo, new house style, manual with guidelines for a large number of house style media, designs for signs on building and trade fair booth, example sketches with instructions for internal and external magazines and websites, series of brochures related to EU presidency of The Netherlands, system for converting identity to internal projects and independent administrative bodies, and corporate film for the internal introduction of the new identity of the Ministry of Education Culture and Science. Background: Relocation of the Ministry from Zoetermeer to The Hague. Dissatisfaction with existing house style, no clear guidelines, no uniformity, insufficient match with desired identity. Desired identity: The Ministry of Education Culture and Science develops policies in close collaboration with parties ‘in the field’. The Ministry defines the outlines and gives the parties in the field freedom to choose their own ‘implementation’. The image of the ivory tower (distant from what goes on in practice) and suffocating rules and regulations is obsolete. The Ministry must not only guide, but also listen, facilitate and inspire. An extensive change programme has been started inside the ministry to achieve this. All employees have been involved. Core values (see brand model).

Brand model
‘The ministry must dance again’ (Rick van der Ploeg, Secretary of State).


alert authority/strict


vision/content inspiring creative open mind result driven

sharing knowledge fun drive


to offer people opportunities to discover, develop and use their talents

space people trinity movement

Creative sessions
In July 2001, 4 sessions were held with a total of 60 employees and members of management from the entire organisation. The participants were asked to respond to a selection of well-known and less familiar logos, categorised by criteria chosen from the perspective of the desired positioning of the ministry. Objective: to obtain information at an ‘emotional level’ on style, culture and desired image of the Ministry. To obtain insight into the gap between the current situation and the desired situation. To start the design process by together building the first bridge between words and images. To create commitment from a large number of key employees at the Ministry. To lay a joint foundation that can be referred to in future presentations.






Results of creative sessions: Yes
colourful, movement (Spain, Natural Parks in France), something innovative ‘on the market’ (BP), stylish (Mondriaan Foundation, Metromorfose), sympathetic and strong (WNF, Apple).


too hard (FedEx, 3M), fragmented (Sydney Olympics, Fortis), traditional/authoritarian (IBM, NS), picture + story (Rabobank), heritage (Erasmus University). Duration preparation to conclusions: 2 weeks.



Concept development
Small selection from a large number of concept options. During the concept phase, we met every two weeks with the steering group, lead by the Secretary General. Together, we considered directions and made choices during the process. Duration: 6 weeks

Logo chosen
The name is also the logotype. The logo is written as a boustrophedon (lines are read alternately forwards and backwards); this method of writing was used in Greek and Persian manuscripts before the 2nd century BC. The logo symbolises the necessity for reason and imagination in art, education and science. It intrigues; you don’t read what you see and you don’t see what you read. In addition, its form makes it a strong and efficient logo.

final logo

other ministries in 2001

A few examples of recording the house style in a digital manual. The basic idea was: sufficient freedom must be retained for the various design and communication agencies that the Ministry works with. The house style is based on a number of simple principles, a flexible grid and the use of 3 colours (the 3 colours from the logo) + black and white. A ‘proprietary’ typography was developed for the Ministry (OCW talent). Advantage: supports own identity, no problems with copyrights.

Design sketches of exhibition booth and building signage. System for converting house style to Internal Projects Conversion of the house style to independent administrative bodies. In the further implementation of the house style by the various bodies, only the colours will be modified. All grids and fonts are the same as those of the Ministry. This results in tremendous efficiency (and cost savings). Duration of development of basic house style elements, example sketches, grids and guidelines: 10 weeks

Internal projects:

Independent administrative bodies:

Series of brochures for the EU presidency of The Netherlands
Duration of development (including printing): 2.5 months

Introduction film
Conversion of the mission of the Ministry ‘to offer people opportunities to discover, develop and use their talents’ to an even higher inspirational level: social cohesion. Duration of development: 2 months.

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