hexagon shape call-to-action triangle button small triangle smalll vertical triangle
Branding > 10.4 Printed Identity Applications

Koninklijk Nederlands Historisch Genootschap

by studio de Ronners

The Koninklijk Nederlands Historisch Genootschap (KNHG / Royal Netherlands Historical Society), the professional organisation of historians, connects historians and defends the interests of the profession. Founded in 1848, it is one of the oldest institutions of the Netherlands. The KNHG deals with the professionalization and the social importance of historical science. Since October 2016, its office is located at the Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen (KNAW / Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences), with whom they work closely together. 

The KNHG wanted to improve their visibility as an association for professionals. They asked Studio de Ronners to develop a timeless yet contemporary corporate identity. The traditional target audience (older historians, academics) and the new generation (younger, and more than just academics) were both supposed to be addressed. This had to be translated into a new identity and brand manual that could visually communicate in a consistent manner. 

The letter H was at the basis of the KNHG’s new identity. By highlighting the H, the emphasis is on History, which is at the core of the society. We consciously moved away from the abbreviation KNHG that was often used by the organization. Their name is spelled out once again. This way, it’s immediately clear what it’s about: Koninklijk (Royal), Nederlands (Netherlands), Historie (History), and Genootschap (Society).

The writing is a combination of classic and modern typefaces. Classic are the words Koninklijk, Nederlands and Genootschap. These express the established value of the institution. H is the modern letter. This way, history is proverbially placed in modern times. The combination of these styles creates a characteristic and timeless imagery where the historical and the contemporary find each other. The latter is emphasised by the minimalistic graphic style combined with clear (fluorescent) colours. This gives a young and fresh appearance to history, which is usually regarded as old fashioned by many.

Seeing that the brand identity needed to be widely applicable, we developed our own grid and visual language. The starting point was a timeline; an iconic element in historical science which sorts a period of time based on location, event and date. The H of History is a metaphor for the timeline returning on every platform. A [rode draad] is created by consistently applying the H all over the plane, always using the same thickness. Furthermore, the letter functions as a structuring visual element; it divides the canvas and orders its contents. Strictly following this grid causes a recognisable new identity for the KNHG. Every expression is a fragment of history, and together they create one long KNHG timeline.

  • Creative Directors
  • Art Directors Arwen Ronner, Matthijs Ronner
  • Designers Arwen Ronner, Matthijs Ronner, Lieselot Coenen, Wilfred van der Weide, Robbert Liekens, Thomas van Herck
  • Illustrators
  • Photographers
  • Editors Antia Wiersma, Hadewijch Zwart
  • Copywriters
  • Motion design Robbert Liekens
  • archival images Rijksstudio archive, The Netherlands
share this