Branding 3.0: Introducing the designer

Aalto University Student Union AYY’s new brand was finally revealed during the Independence Day celebrations in Dipoli. While branding is much, much more than just polishing the visuals, as you can read here on branding project’s blog, the graphic design is still one of its most important parts. After all, it’s the first thing you notice when looking at anything, be it the website, the building, or sometimes even the people.

As of August, AYY’s branding team has had a new member working solely on the visual side of the new brand. The team received multiple amazing applications from talented designers, but out of those the best match ended up being Oleg Galkin. But who is the man behind the project?

Galkin is a third-year student at Aalto ARTS, studying Visual Communications Design in the Media Department. Before studying in Aalto Galkin got his bachelor’s degree in St. Petersburg State Art and Industry Academy, located in the second-largest city of Russia. Galkin’s major was a 4-year program in System Design. It included various aspects of designing systems, including but not limited to graphic design, interfaces and industrial prototypes, designed to gives students a complex overview of the design approach.

Galkin came to Finland in autumn of 2015. He had wanted to try himself abroad and Aalto seemed like the right choice, since among art universities it is one of the most highly ranked ones. He applied to Aalto twice: his first time was for the Media Design program. There he made it to the interview stage, but the interviewers suggested he ally to Visual Communications Design instead. He hasn’t regretted it since.

Another reason Galkin chose Finland was the nature, similar to that he’d grown to appreciate in Russia.

“Living in Otaniemi is so great,” he says, laughing. “My house is right by the shore and it feels like home being there with the hares and the foxes, as well as plants and mushrooms that I know.”

To him nature is a source of inspiration. His childhood was spent in art-oriented schools, where the teachers endorsed the pupils to draw nature, from wide landscapes to more narrow pieces of nature. Even now Galkin says that geometry taken from the nature can be taken to design anything.

The Finnish nature feels comfortable to Galkin. In Russia, large parts of nature are privatized, these areas sealed off with high fences. Au contraire, in Finland every piece of land is for everyone. The fences are minimal, the architecture is low, making the overall landscape easy on the eyes. Galkin says he’s happy that it’s so easy to see the horizon here.

The word about the designer project position reached Galkin on his summer vacation. He immediately remembered how he himself felt about AYY’s brand: throughout the years he’s used AYY’s services, but he never knew what AYY was actually about.

“Taking on this project is my own attempt to solve this problem from a student perspective,” Galkin says. He has set goals for himself. Firstly, to get everything done, and one on time. Secondly, to make a structure so easy he or anyone who’s been in the Aalto community can guide first-years through it. And lastly, to get to know AYY from the inside and in the process join some guilds.

Galkin is going to work on on the project until the end of 2017, when the brand goes live. His designs will be  used on the website, social media, presentations, as well as AYY’s office and possibly housing and facilities. To upkeep his legacy, he’s making a handbook with all the usual shebang: colours, typefaces, logos and all that other stuff. The project is enormous, but Galkin is determined to see it through.

If you, like me, are curious about Galkin’s portfolio, you can find it here:


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