storm from the east

New passport for Norway by Neue

» Design


First those awesome banknotes, now these awesome passports. Norway is introducing some wonderful design for its residents recently, and both are maybe the only times I've seen design competitions actually work. Designed by Oslo-based Neue, these new passports are lovely - and show the Northern Lights under UV light.

What's the difference between brand image and brand identity?

» Branding, Branding advice series

[Part one of the branding advice series.]

Brand identity:

This is the image you have of your company and the image you want to portray. It includes your products and/or services, logo, slogan, advertising, website, business cards, how you respond to clients, how you treat your employees, your corporate culture, what your offices (if you have any) look like, and more.

Brand image:

This is the image members of the public - i.e. existing or potential customers - have of your business. It could be based on word of mouth, personal experience or reviews and articles in the media. All of these things, and more, can influence how people view your brand.

Why are they important?

If your brand identity is too different from your brand image, people will be confused and lose trust in your products, services, and the company as a whole. Don't forget that this includes your employees. If they don't buy into your vision, or don't feel part of it, it will negatively affect your brand. If these negative responses continue, people will stop buying what you offer and influence other people in a negative way. Trust is hard to win in the first place, and even harder to win back once lost.

Continue reading "What's the difference between brand image and brand identity?" »

Branding advice series

» Branding advice series

Starting today, we're offering a series on practical branding advice.

What is it?

A collection of the information, knowledge, resources and experience we've gained over the years all in one place and in plain English. It's the questions we've been asked, the questions we've asked, and the answers and solutions we've found.

Why are we doing it?

Because it took us years to find all this stuff out, and because we didn't want to feel like morons for asking questions and/or not really understanding half of the answers because of jargon.

Who's it for?

On alternating weeks, we'll cover topics related to those looking to have branding work done and those doing the branding work.

Continue reading "Branding advice series" »

Dream where you are now

» Inspiration

"You can feel yourself. Not as a stranger in the world. Not as something here on probation. Not as something that has arrived here by fluke. But you can begin to feel your own existence as absolutely fundamental."

- Alan Watts

Livraria Cultura bookstore by Studio MK27

» Architecture, Books

Livraria Cultura 1

Now that's a bookstore.

Continue reading "Livraria Cultura bookstore by Studio MK27" »

Last two branding workshops in 2014

» Branding, Studio

We're running just two more branding workshops in 2014 and they're happening soon, so let us know if you fancy joining us. The last two will be on November 15 & 22, 3-5pm.

To recap, the workshops are four hours, held over two consecutive weekends (two hours each) and cover things like:


Brand image and brand identity

Choosing a logo

Use of social media

Writing promotional content

Targeting consumers

Hiring a brand identity professional or going DIY

Branding across cultures and languages

Getting and keeping clients

Cooperative working relationships with other professionals

Getting paid


Full details here.

City of Everett logo design competition

» Branding

If you're thinking that a logo design competition might be good for your company/city/school/society/whatever, have a scroll through these:

I'm not trying to be mean, but this is why competitions completely miss the point. I probably could have submitted a design (I didn't, in case you're wondering) despite:

a) Knowing nothing about the city beyond what is contained in the design guidelines.

b) Having never visited the city, Washington, or even the mainland US.

c) Knowing not a single person from the area.

d) Knowing virtually nothing about what the city stands for, the image it's trying to portray, or where its future lies.

I could find all this out if I did some research, visited, met some people, and really got to know what the city is about. Then - and only then - might I be in the position to present a brand identity design that really fits the city and its citizens, and one that hopefully wouldn't require updating every five minutes.

A competition will never do that, and everybody loses out.

BBC iWonder branding

» Branding, Design


"iWonder is the new brand from the BBC designed to unlock the learning potential of all BBC content.”

Continue reading "BBC iWonder branding" »

Norway banknotes by Snøhetta and The Metric System

» Branding, Culture, Design



The designs for Norway's new banknotes have been attracting a lot of attention, and for good reason: they're awesome.

Designed by Snøhetta (top) and The Metric System (bottom), the new notes blend Snøhetta's stunning pixellated views of Norway with The Metric System's equally stunning depictions of Norwegian nature and culture.

The designs were chosen from a selection submitted to the Norges Bank, all of which you can see here.

Join us for our alwe pry? A quick lesson in colour choice

» Studio


Although you can't really see from the photo, the homemade letters in the window of our studio are meant to be letting people know about our upcoming Halloween party. Due to a slight tint in our window and lighting, the black letters are all but invisible, which tells people we've got an ALWE PRY coming. (The back to front Y is a different matter. Good job we're not editors or anything...).

Embarrassment aside, it was a good reminder of how important colour choice is, and how equally important testing is. It's up in orange now, making it all legible.

If you're in our neck of the woods on the 31st and fancy joining us, get in touch.

Hello and thanks for popping in. We live in Japan where we make things, design things, and teach things.

About & work



Our blog covers stuff we like, such as branding, design, language and more.
If you'd like to share something, write to us at:

Hello. storm from the east is about branding, design and communication. We live in Tokyo.

If you're stuck on how to improve what you've already got, you want to start something new, or you're sick of seeing people doing worse work for more money, maybe we can help.

Get in touch:

© storm from the east / Compass Language Studio 2006-2014

What we do

From our workshop we help people understand their business better and make everything run much more smoothly. We help with design, marketing, language and more.
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We're also the founders of Compass Language Studio focusing on language and education.