Immersed in the competitive world of marketing as we are, our day-to-day objective at Fox Agency is to remain creative in our pursuits. We understand that our integrated campaigns need to turn heads as well as engage fingers. We revel in all things aesthetic, and this also means we keep a keen eye on design developments in marketing and beyond.
Naturally, certain examples catch our attention, especially when it comes to the big dogs of the marketing design world – rebrands. Comprising a well-crafted mix of creative, messaging and more, here are some of our favourites from across the year.
Image: Shakespeare’s Globe
Often, visually simple ideas carry the greatest weight, and this is no more apparent than the rebrand of Shakespeare’s Globe. Bold and instantly recognisable, the visual rethink is focused around a 20-sided polygon, matching the theatre’s floor plan and harking back to the prologue of Henry V, in which the theatre is described as a “wooden O”.
This unique shape wasn’t just thrown together on Illustrator; it was carved from the only remaining circular oak timber surviving from the famous 1598 iteration of the theatre. Once cut, printmakers covered it in ink and pressed it to paper, creating an unforgettable image that oozes with texture. It’s now being used as a logo and holding device across all the Globe’s media – printed simply in red, white and black.
It’s certainly one of the most romantic behind-the-scenes logo stories we’ve heard (yes, they’re a thing), but the part of the rebrand that really set off our inner geeks was the supporting range of print materials created with design cues from the First Folio, the earliest Shakespeare collection printed in 1623. Higgledy piggledy and very much on the experimental side, they’re a visual feast.
Image: The Scouts and NotOnSunday
Think of The Scouts and you might imagine fancy fleur-de-lis, fusty patch designs and plenty of khaki – not exactly cutting-edge design, and potentially an impediment to the membership growth of one of the world’s most well-known youth organisations.
In May, the situation changed when a team of agencies worked together to give The Scouts a much-needed rebrand, changing the tagline from ‘be prepared…’ to ‘Skills for Life’. With this, the focus, perfectly encapsulated in the accompanying brand film, has switched to the skills The Scouts teach children to succeed in school, at work and in life more generally, as opposed to those required when lost atop Helvellyn.
All this was matched by the redesign of The Scouts’ visual identity, formed around a drastically simplified fleur-de-lis logo, modern logotype and fresh colour palette, all delivered across adaptable templates to allow the rebrand to be quickly deployed across the organisation.
Contemporary yet grounded in Scouting history, the rebrand captures, not just the adventure and fun of scouting, but its inherent value to society, ditching its old-school aura and placing it firmly in the 21st century.
You’ve got to give it to Uber. Despite being embroiled in scandal after scandal, it’s become a global transport platform used by hundreds of millions of people, but it’s no longer a start-up, and this new global identity wasn’t being reflected in its busy and rather forgettable 2017 rebrand, focused on the widely derided ‘bit and atom’ design.
With a new focus needed (and ex-CEO Travis Kalanick, architect of the bit and atom, out of the way), CEO Dara Khosrowshahi brought together a range of agencies, in collaboration with the Uber Brand Experience Team, to create a simple, recognisable rebrand.
Ditching the purely in-house approach, the result is decidedly sharp. The logo is simple, comprising an easy-to-read, optically kerned ‘Uber’ in the company’s new font, Uber Move, printed in ultra-legible monochrome.
A U-shaped frame is used to give diverse pieces of creative a singular visual message; alongside a new range of 192 system icons; an updated colour palette featuring white, black and seven ever-so-slightly pastel colours; and a motion system of animations and transitions.
You have to hand it to Uber, the end result really looks quite nice – and the company will certainly be hoping it’ll help draw a line in the sand after its fractious past.
Image: Battersea and Pentagram
London animal shelter Battersea has helped over 3.1 million canine, feline (and hopefully vulpine) visitors since it opened 158 years ago, and its charming rebrand adeptly combines the serious work the charity does and the loveable pets it helps.
The key messaging has been altered from ‘Dogs and cats home’ to ‘Here for every dog and cat’, communicating the charity’s commitment to care for every animal in need, all while stressing its need need to rehome animals, not take care of them indefinitely.
Visually, Battersea’s signature blue colour was used, both as a means of ensuring visual continuity across the brand and as a nod to the charity’s history. The shade is also used in the logo – abstract watercolour illustrations of various breeds, contrasted with strong, Franklin Gothic type – and to support, the charity also commissioned portrait photographs of the animals as backgrounds for supporting creative.
The result is a novel rebrand that eschews the heartstring-tugging shock tactics employed by many other charities.
Mailchimp has been a force in email marketing for well over a decade, relying on cute, funny branding to connect with small businesses and demystify the complex marketing landscape. But as the company moved away from providing just email marketing services, it felt its branding didn’t aptly reflect its newfound focus and required a rethink.
The result is effective and wonderfully novel. Getting rid of the clean lines and cuddly sterility that so many tech giants opt for, the company has chosen a warm, yellow background, 1920s-inspired Cooper Black typeface and hand-drawn illustrations that abstractly represent the various services Mailchimp offers, giving the company one-of-a-kind branding.
Take the illustrations: a five-legged person represents automation services, a large mushroom shielding smaller fungi shows how the company helps businesses grow, and a figure whose head is bursting with shapes and flowers indicates the creativity Mailchimp’s platform stimulates. Each scrawled image is utterly abstract yet manages to evoke the right sort of message – scrolling through the site is a little bit like being in an art gallery!
As you might have gathered by this point, we have a soft spot for branding. See our approach to branding and brand activation, or contact us to have a chat about how we can help your brand stand out from the crowd.