Kolkja – Place Brand


Prompted by Russia’s military involvement in Ukraine, an article by Monocle Magazine explored how Russian-speaking towns bordering Russia identify themselves.

Kolkja is a small town in Estonia whose residents have Russian heritage. The article addressed that the residents of Kolkja identify themselves by their religion (Old Believers) and not as either Russian or Estonian.

Due to this, along with their unique and distinctive culture, I chose to give them more of a voice on the global stage through the means of a place brand.



I aimed to reflect the resourceful creativity and slow pace of life which gives Kolkja its charm, through the simple form of the ‘k’.

This gives the option of using smaller elements to build it up, which reflects their resourceful spirit.

Used on a large scale, this has been adapted to reflect different aspects of the town such as; craft, trade, hospitality and culture.


Brand used for Events






To build local support the brand can be Incorporated into annual events in the town such as Kelk, the sledding tournament.

Advertising, official documentation and merchandise will be available in a variety of languages to include all nationalities.


Brand use within Kolkja






The brand mark would also be used throughout the town to celebrate trade and to call attention to their crafted products.


Brand use in Estonian Cities




Adverts celebrating the town’s resourceful charm would be situated in large Estonian cities to improve tourism. With this in mind, I have tried to show Kolkja in a light which might fit well with Estonia’s aspirations as a country.

Estonia is seen by the world as a growing technological power that is pursuing green initiatives to end their dependency on Russian energy. Presenting Kolkja as a resourceful town with a slow pace of life would fit in as a balance to Estonia’s technological pursuits and forward thinking, particularly in the way of energy efficiency.

Celebrating the region in this manner will help build a platform for positive relations between citizens with Russian and Estonian heritage. Additionally, improving relations between the two communities will help tourism, which brings a good deal of income to the town.


Kolkja on a Global Stage


As the aim of the brief was to increase global awareness of Kolkja adverts could be featured in international publications such as Monocle, National Geographic and The Economist.

Additional touch points such as a website with multiple language options would provide an insight for the outside world and form a point where Kolkja’s residents could find updated local information.

Special Thanks

I would like to express my thanks to all who have helped me in the research of this project, as I was unable to travel to Kolkja your insight was invaluable and extremely appreciated. Also a special thank you to the Kolkja Old Believers Museum for your time and support, Marc Brummund for directing and producing ‘Fish and Onions’, and to Andrew Mueller for writing such a beautiful article – which can be read at Monocle.