VTT, Technical Research Centre of Finland

VTT. Beyond the obvious.

It is a privilege to work with so many of the most diverse companies. And it’s great to be a part of influencing companies’ efforts. And it is a pleasure to see success in that.

VTT is a research and competence center and a concentration owned by the Finnish State. The VTT letter combination is an established abbreviation of the finnish words “Valtion Teknillinen Tutkimuskeskus” ( direct translation is State Technical Research Center ).

For Finland there still is hope

As I have seen the life of businesses and brands from close, and from the inside, it has strengthened in my mind a thought that our game is not yet lost. Finland still has hope – so many good things are happening in companies. And my VTT cooperation confirmed this perception. Of course, we were able to see only a fraction of what the problems and really large-scale issues are for which VTT’s research projects are looking for solutions and sustainable alternatives. I began to think that there is still hope for this planet as well.

There is still hope for this planet

In the 2010s, research funding internationally began to shift. Direct state support to research institutes began to be seen as a business-distorting subsidy to large multinational corporations. Similarly, when the massive profits of this business did not return to the balance sheets of societies, attitudes toward research funding began to change.

Direct state support for the research turned to a downward curve and even major cuts were in sight. The focus of research funding began to shift internationally to the private direction. Also here in Scandinavia, where economic investment is absolutely lower in global comparison than in the major economies. Relative to national economies, Finland’s investments in research and development are not modest.

The value of brand work as a competitive factor has been understood, as well as the importance of the brand as a competitive advantage.

In the new situation, international and national research institutes, and their separate research ventures, are often compiting for the same international financial. State-funded research has previously been thought to be commercially independent. Now, competition for the same financial resources has not only detached research from state control, but also brought a new strain to perceptions of independence in research. In this situation, the value of brand work as a competitive factor and the importance of the brand as a competitive advantage have been understood.

VTT is an iconic and independent research authority in Finnish society.

VTT is an iconic, independent research authority in Finnish society. When there has been a need for research-based information, VTT is the one that has been approached and whose assessments are widely trusted. “VTT tests” is a well known concept. And VTT has been a known brand for a long time before brand work more broadly has become what it is today.

Although VTT’s legal name did not change, the first tasks of brand work was to decide what will be the “call name” of the brand. In the end, it was clear to keep the already well-known letter combination, VTT. Although it is derived of the Finnish name, the letter combination was also found to be useful internationally. It was decided that the name is no longer “written open” in all contexts, just as IBM, NTT, DHL, H&M, PB .. etc do, for example.

“We are ready to travel to the other side of the present reality.”

What could be a crystallization – that is, a customer promise or a brand promise – that sums up everything in a few words what VTT is about and which attitudes it represents. Curiosity, courage, open-mindedness, unyieldingness … among other things, they are prerequisites for discovering something new; and necessities in research work. How do we sum up the fact that, in terms of what we do not yet know today, we are ready to take the leap into the unknown and ready on a journey beyond the present reality. We ended up saying this in three words: “Beyond the Obvious.”

We are ready to take the leap into the unknown.

VTT cooperation is one of the most memorable in my career. In the past, I could in no way be aware, for example, that it is possible to produce berries artificially under laboratory conditions. It can may seem like a curiosity. But such a capability can be the root of a solution to the challenges of world food production.

In VTT brand work, it was my honor to be responsible of:
– creative direction  
– concept design 
– service design 
– planning
– writing 
– brand design work 
– design work guidance and supervision 
– customer relations 
– project-related productions and coordination
– web design
– videos
– events, concept and design 

As always with brand projects, VTT project was an enriching and educational adventure with surprising twists and turns. These samples are just a small part of the huge amount of details that originated from the basics of branding. Just like a teacher loves the students, it has been my pleasure to see how The VTT brand lives and appears today – just as it was meant to. Godspeed!

Special thanks to the whole team: Jenni Santalo and Mika Toikka as the main customers, and our team Sara Nikander, Tarja Halminen, Susanne Työrinoja, Thea Forstén and Kristine Lindfors.

To see more of VTT and my other work samples, select “Works. Getting things done.” from the drop down menu menu in this section or directly from this link

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Timo Keinänen  Explorer, concept designer, art director, service designer, writer and designer.
”I belive that you should be yourself, as all other roles are already taken. If you have the opportunity to express an opinion, express your own.”

Thougths, posts and opinions represent myself only.