Preserving Tradition in Modern Rebranding

In the ever-evolving realm of branding, the most remarkable stories often lie in narratives of evolution rather than revolution. Such is the case of the ADXTUR – Schist Villages Tourism Development Agency’s recent rebranding by Portugal’s Atelier Nunes e Pã for their entry in our Design 2024 competition. The initiative didn’t abandon its heritage. Instead, it built upon an established symbol – “THE HOUSE,” by Rui Martins, to transition into a modern, future-proof visual identity. 

In this piece, we explore this metamorphosis journey, revealing the creation of the SCHIST VILLAGES – VISUAL IDENTITY MANUAL, its role in brand communication, and the crucial ‘knowing how to do and be’ principle that fosters an impactful brand identity. Join us as we unravel how tradition and innovation blend seamlessly in this compelling rebranding narrative.

By: João Nunes

Sowing Fertile Soil with Ideas


“This rebranding initiative of the Aldeias do Xisto (Schist Villages) observes a principle of continuity, in contrast to the more typical process adopted when renewing a brand. This is because we are working with a brand with a solid past, iconography, and visual notoriety, which would be unthinkable to change. 

“The model we have worked on is based on the progression of an existing symbol, ‘THE HOUSE,’ designed by Rui Martins fifteen years ago. What is the principle of this longevity? Strong brand recognition in consumers’ minds, which has proved to be effective and stable. An image that associates the house with the village and schist, an image with history that is part of our identity and DNA.

“This is a visual starting point to which we have now given modernity and continuity. We have applied the principle of metamorphosis based on knowledge of the organization, the territory, the local people, intervention goals, and the general public. 

“The new brand architecture and communication system have been implemented and extended to analog and digital media.

“The visual experiences we have developed over the years and in multiple projects materialize in the SCHIST VILLAGES – VISUAL IDENTITY MANUAL. This visual representation will offer an opportunity for renewed expression and interaction of the brand with its different audiences.”


“The SCHIST VILLAGES – VISUAL IDENTITY MANUAL is a set of iconographic, typographic, chromatic, semantic, and image-based norms to create a visual unity for the organization’s communication. 

“It is a tool that transmits the brand’s strategy, tone, and style, making it possible to manage the communicational entropy. It is sufficiently inspiring and open to ensure the creative sequencing of future narratives is consistent. What may seem excessive in terms of the painstaking detail with which it is developed should be interpreted as principles that will facilitate the brand’s communication, which aims to be organic and visually dynamic.

“The examples presented establish a common vocabulary, facilitating communication with the general public, highlighting the trend towards sustainability, and fostering a positive and coherent experience aligned with the brand’s strategy. The panoply of inspiring and distinctive elements presented in this manual make it possible to develop cohesive, positive, and contemporary communication. It should be interpreted as a fundamental asset of this organization because it constitutes a competitive and differentiating advantage within the market. It offers unequivocal competitive leverage for value creation.”


“The brand’s reputation depends upon a global strategy that involves all partners in a perspective of unity and long-term continuity. The territory is an overall conceptual space that the general public associates with the brand. Each fragment of information the intervening parties generates adds value to the brand. 

“Knowing how to do, in this context, is essential to create a solid and coherent brand. Knowing how to be is a tool for creating a community of values. A brand is not only its visual and verbal identity; it is also built daily with experiences, feelings, generosity, and attributes reflected in our way of being within the organization. A strategy that is elaborated and applied over the long term will empower brand perception, creating a mental image favorable to its positioning.

“Knowing how to be is the corollary of this communication strategy, a learning process that the entire organization, ADXTUR, and its partners in the Schist Villages will conduct to position the brand, fostering a strong sense of belonging.”

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Author: Graphis