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Client: Autostrada
Type of work: Logo and complete identity

Type of client: Car / lifestyle
Year produced: 2007

Autostrada is a car dealership, selling around 10 different premium car brands in the central parts of Norway. One might think that car dealerships is a rather boring business, but with the charismatic founder Gisle Valen at the helm - this company is anything but boring. Gisle would most likely not even refer of the company as a "car dealership" at all, but rather an action fueled festival or a lifestyle brand. And he would not be wrong.

I worked with the company from they were three employees located in a backyard in Skien in the late 90s, into being hundreds of employees across large parts of central Norway and having sold over 35 000 cars.

In the early years I created most of their marketing activities and design, and in 2007 I got the chance to create a whole new visual identity and branding for the company. As always the research phase was interesting, and amongst other things I ended up traveling incognito around Norway, Sweden, Germany, Italy and the UK experiencing some of the best car dealerships we had in Europe. And during a surf trip to Australia in the same period, I took a few days off to visit car dealerships in Melbourne taking notes and photos.

It became clear to me that the one thing that differentiate Autostrada from the spreadsheet warriors of the other car dealerships was - passion ("lidenskap" in Norwegian). An all-consuming and at times almost destructive passion to give the customers what they desire and dream about. The same type of passion that led to Gisle winning the GT Racing national championship with his Porche 911 GT3, despite crashing it several times during races (I'm pretty sure he had two 911 GT3's).

In 2007 Autostrada was an official dealer of the italian car brand Alfa Romeo, and if you ask car enthusiasts about what they are passionate about - you will quickly understand that there are two main categories - italian cars, and the rest. So with that as a backdrop, I looked into italian culture, it's art, it's history and mythology... and tried to find something that was quintessential Italian with loads of passion.

A few years earlier I had visited the ancient ruins of Pompeii, an italian city that was tragically was burried beneath vulcanic ashes around two thousand years ago and preserved incredibly well. As always I had taken loads of photos of the murals, scultures and mosaics of the city.. and after looking over these photos again I found what I had been looking for.

A mural of a mythical creature with the body of a lion, and the wings of an eagle - a griffin. Painted at least two thousand years ago, in the Roman empire, long before the country became known as Italy.

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