The story of Jotun begins with its sigil, that of a penguin –a notoriously tough bird built to withstand the harshness of the arctic weather. Inspired by this resilient and naturally beautiful creature, Jotun has formulated its colours with these features in mind.
The brainchild of Norwegian paint distributor Odd Gleditsch, Jotun had its start as early as the 1920s after Gleditsch gained experience and expertise as the leading supplier of paint for whaling fleets across his country of Norway.On the 12th of March 1926, he along with his shareholders invested in a share capital of NOK 60,000 after which Jotun Kemiske Fabrik A/S was founded, with Gleditsch as the managing director.
As the business grew, Gleditsch bought the patent rights to Arcanol, which is an innovation in protective marine coatings. This grey-coloured red lead had particularly good rust-inhibiting properties and became Jotun’s first major success in the paint manufacturing industry. Gleditsch and his match-made-in-heaven idea of using the penguin to market his brand soon spread its wings beyond the borders of Norway with the company setting up a factory in Libya, which established Jotun’s reputation as a major paint manufacturer in the Middle East before spreading to South East Asia.
Jotun kept its keen eye for detail, advancing with the times and constantly looking towards the future of paint through modernising its plants and improving its formula, which in turn led to an increase in awareness, sales and distribution across the seven seas.
From its once humble beginnings, Jotun today has 65 companies in 45 countries worldwide, and is represented in over 100 countries as a mega brand paint distributor. In many ways, credit goes to its founder Gleditsch who is remembered for his passion, dedication and words –”If I have a secret weapon, it is my ability to find able employees and to listen, and listen carefully, to their thoughts, suggestions and ideas”. Many people would say that it was this very way of thinking that helped create the able employees who made Jotun known to the world as the company it is today.