Manss handles German look

Oberhavel Holding was one of the many East German government-owned companies which found themselves competing with West German rivals after unification.

But while many such organisations struggle just to make their products more competitive, leaving no time or budget for marketing, OH has had the foresight to rebrand itself and its four subsidiaries.

Thomas Manss & Company is creating a family of brands for OH: public transport company OVG, the property company BVO, WFO, which attracts inward investment, and GFA, a company specialising in waste collection and recycling.

‘They all had their own higgledy piggledy Eastern European identities and looked really old and dead,’ says Thomas Manss, proprietor of the consultancy which has offices in London and Potsdam, near Berlin.

Manss suggested that the identities should look part of a family, and worked on reflecting elements of OH’s marque in the four other organisations.

‘OH is the infrastructure for the other companies, with the four dots representing the four companies,’ says Manss. OH’s pattern has been lent to the subsidiaries, with OVG’s logo depicting dynamism and movement, BVO’s stairs implying building, WFO featuring a bar chart symbol, and GFA retaining its old mountain-like symbol. All pretty radical designs for an East German company, says Manss.

OVG’s identity was done quickly so that it could be applied to the company’s 80 new buses, and stationery is currently being printed. The other logos are at the second draft stage. All the identities will be implemented by 1 July.

Meanwhile, Manss has his eye on other such rebranding opportunities: ‘There is huge potential in the future.’

Design: Thomas Manss & Company

Client: Oberhavel Holding

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