2022 | Tartu Vocational CollegeGraphicBranding

VOCO – a revolution through branding

How a name, logo and appearance of a school can alter the image of Estonias vocational education.

Since 1 January 2022, the institute formerly known as Tartu Vocational Education Centre has borne the name Tartu Vocational College or VOCO. It has also been given a complete visual overhaul. But what did these radical changes actually entail? Let us explain.

Challenges and goals

Dissatisfied with the reputation that skilled labour currently has, VOCO, as the leading provider of professional education in the country, decided to set about changing it. To this end it first had to improve its own reputation in order to set itself apart as the undisputed leader in its field, thereby boosting the standing of Estonian vocational education as a whole.

They set the goal of creating for VOCO a clear, unified, modern and forward-looking identity reflective of its ambition and making the institution eye-catching, interesting, attractive and memorable.

The starting point of the project was turning feelings, rumours and opinions into facts.

Before launching into design work, we conducted a detailed survey of teachers, other academic staff and specialists with different profiles to transform their views into actual points of understanding. This led to the realisation that while the level of quality in vocational education is high, its reputation is low. The main challenge for the new brand, therefore, was not only to bring about a change in appearance but also a change in people’s attitudes.

New name. New understanding.

Once a clear goal had been set, we started working on a new name for both the brand and the centre itself. There were dozens of options on the table at first, but after exhaustive discussions and testing, everyone agreed that there was one clear choice. To effect this change, the definition of the vocational education centre would have to be amended to that of ‘vocational college’. This inspired the new name for the brand, VOCO, which derives from that very combination of words.

New attitude. New message.

Whether you have come straight from regular school or have taken years to realise your dreams makes no difference: VOCO will help you find the skills and the courage you need to do whatever it is you want to do. Here you enjoy freedom to explore, make mistakes, make your own choices and grow. At VOCO you learn to become free.

VOCO instils in students an ability to see things and the boldness to do things. It unites wisdom and skills and keeps the flag of professional education flying high. Here students learn to make smart use of their talents and become sought-after leaders in their fields. VOCO’s aim is to shape its students into people who see opportunities in life and know how to make the most of them.

New logo. New appearance.

Director Raini Jõks says that the changes the institution has undergone represent a major transformation in Estonian vocational education generally.

“The issues that vocational education faces don’t just affect one or two schools, and as Estonia’s biggest institution of professional education, we see it as our clear responsibility to contribute to the value that’s shown for people’s skills,” he said. “We’ve done that to date by fostering high-quality learning, which we’ll of course continue to do, but it’s time the contents lived up to the packaging.”

Jõks admits that the transformation was inspired, at least in part, by a desire to become the true pioneer in the field of vocational education. “I hope our makeover encourages other schools to reinvent themselves, too,” he said. “It’ll help make professional education more visible in society.”


  • Gunnar Hunt Copywriting and Strategy
  • Andrus Lember Creative Direction and Strategy
  • Magnus Haravee Design
  • Joel Kotsjuba Research and strategy
  • Kadri Ann Mikiver Project Lead