Meet Friderik from the Ljubljana castle
It often happens that a simple brief becomes a multidimensional story. And so it happened with the wonderful story of Frederik, a cute castle rat, which soon came to life inside and outside the castle souvenir shop and became a symbol of the Ljubljana Castle. Friderik the castle rat is the oldest inhabitant of the Ljubljana Castle and a new trademark of the castle souvenir shop. A comprehensive concept was designed: from the rat’s story and image to the new architectural arrangement of the space in the souvenir shop, the visual presentation of the products, communication strategy, and the online store.
The Friderik project received the Slovenian Advertising Festival (SOF) Gold Award in the Graphic Design category and Silver Award in the Launch or Renovation of the Brand category, the Brumen Award for excellent Slovenian design and the Netko Award in the Best Online Store category.
Graphic and web design
In search of a lead character
The client's desire for a modern souvenir shop was first placed into a broader context and a research of the market and the history of the castle was conducted. We were looking for a strategically thought-out solution with a long-term application for the Ljubljana Castle. In the process, the story of castle dungeons emerged where many well-known people were imprisoned, among others Erasmus of Predjama and Ivan Cankar. But in the dungeons there were also rats. We imagined these rats tallking to the prisoners and witnessing many events which were taking place there. At the beginning of the project, it naturally seemed that the main character of Ljubljana's biggest landmark was rather obvious – the Ljubljana dragon. But we discovered our own character which will carry its story and which has enough potential for long-term development. Thus, with the courageous support of the client, the idea of a mischievous rat becoming the main character of the Ljubljana Castle came to life. The rat knows all the stories of the past and witnesses everything that happens at the castle.
New brand name of the Ljubljana Castle
A new brand name was born, represented by the castle rat Friderik, a stylized black-and-white character which was thoughtfully designed to appeal to both, the young and the old. A different, unusual, but endearing character has become a storyteller which transcends the souvenir shop as it delivers and directs the contents of the castle in all its locations and communication platforms. The renovated castle shop was strategically moved to the entrance into the castle yard. On its shelves there is now a completely refreshed offer of boutique products and special gifts which are visually connected by the image of Friderik. The offer includes cosmetics items, textiles, food products, home items, and souvenirs. All products are attractively designed in accordance with the single main image, while each product is additionaly upgraded in a creative and unique way. In December, a festive red color was added to the character’s image and because of it, seasonal products and gifts attracted extra attention on the shelves.
Friderik impresses live and online
Friderik is a cute companion to castle visitors and visitors online. We often see it on the streets of Ljubljana, adorning the shopping bags of tourists returning from the castle. On the new website of the Ljubljana Castle, Friderik directs visitor’s navigation and improves the user experience with witty hints and tips. Friderik's online store became a part of the castle’s website, so now unique gifts with a recognizable image and imaginative inscriptions can also be ordered from home.
The potential of a communication platform
The new communication platform became perfectly integrated in all areas of the castle. A fairy tale was created for children in which Friderik guides young readers through different historical periods. Children can also meet Friderik in a special theatrical performance, while other visitors can encounter a slightly bigger Friderik when walking around the castle, as the castle mascot was developed to entertain and guide visitors. Numerous other projects are planned and will be gradually implemented – equipping the footpath to the castle with Friderik's hints, Friderik’s products on sale at other locations, and many others. We are already looking forward to them.