Monthly Archives: March 2022

Sproutl’s new branding is bursting with life

Sproutl sells plants and gardening accessories, as well as offering jargon-busting advice to anyone that’s less than an expert in the field of plant care. The marketplace was set up in 2020 by former Farfetch execs Anni Noel-Johnson and Andy Done, and has already received millions in seed funding (insert gardening joke here).

Omse’s branding revolves around the idea of “growth as the glue behind the identity”, says studio founder James Kape. They’ve designed a very charming seedling symbol – which works particularly well when animated – as well as a set of ‘overgrown’ versions of the Sproutl sans serif logo.

“With the illustrations, we wanted to get a bit of a spectrum to show the different styles and ways that [gardening] can get a bit messy,” says Kape. “It can grow in all sorts of ways.

“We came up with a very graphic system for how Sproutl could communicate in different ways … it was important to have a strong idea in the core elements – how do our growth animations work? How can the idea of growth start to manifest itself through page loads? How can it happen through something as simple as the loading symbol so your sprout grows into something you’re about to look at?”

Omse has plenty more ways for how the ‘sprout’ symbol could come to life, with images of it used in packaging, in digital environments, and even as the cut-out for a seed card showing how versatile it could potentially become.

Sociotype Journal

Founded in 2004, SocioDesign is a London-based design and strategy agency that works with consumer-facing brands ranging from tiny startups to household names like Sonos. Last year, the studio launched its type foundry offshoot SocioType with a view to helping its clients stand out in an increasingly noisy world.

“Our work at Socio has always been very typographic, so the idea to launch a foundry for retail type was a fairly natural progression of the work we were already doing,” says creative director Nic Carter. “It’s early days, but it certainly feels like maintaining a design practice as Socio alongside Sociotype is helpful, as it enables us to judge our work both from the type designer and the user’s point of view.”

The plan for each issue of Sociotype Journal is to invite some interesting people – mostly from outside the world of type design – to explore a single theme, inspired by (and typeset in) a particular type family by Sociotype. “In terms of our editorial approach, we’re interested in the way things connect to one another, within individual articles and under the theme of each issue,” says Carter.

The journal’s first issue, The Gesture, was inspired by the calligraphic qualities of the foundry’s serif, Gestura. Inside its pages, the features look at gestures of power and political influence; sign language poetry; the secret codes of the illuminati; NASA’s gestural VR programme from the 90s; the cultural and historical significance of the raised fist, and more.

Sociotype Journal Issue #1 is out now, with 10% of the profits going to social enterprise The Black Curriculum;

If Alexa could read minds!

The ad could be read as a more extreme take on our general paranoia that Alexa, and other voice-activated assistants, are constantly listening in on our lives, and harvesting them for commercial opportunities. 

The spot doesn’t really do anything to allay that possibility, instead just ramps it up to the point of ridiculousness, as Alexa is shown revealing Johansson and Jost’s embarrassing inner thoughts. Happily nothing too cringeworthy comes out, of course – instead it’s all light-hearted fun and the spot will no doubt rack up the views online.

Agency: Lucky Generals
Production Company: Hungryman LA
Director: Wayne McClammy

OpenWeb rebrand

OpenWeb’s mission is to build an ‘open, healthier web’ by providing publishers with a framework for productive – and moderated – commenting and conversation. Or, as Collins describe it, to “de-troll digital discourse”.

The platform, which launched in 2012 and was previously known as Spot.IM, is used by the likes of Hearst, News Corp and Yahoo!

OpenWeb’s new identity is the latest example of a company to adopting a purposefully less ‘techy’ approach to branding – Mailchimp, which also worked with Collins in 2018, being another obvious example – signalling that branding’s reliance on the geometric sans serif might finally be tapering off.

Huch “relaxed luxury” branding

The studio was briefed to name and brand Huch, which will offer a collection of cabins in the Australian countryside, all intended to reconnect visitors with nature and offer “relaxed luxury in the wilderness”.

Each space is designed to offer the comfort of a hotel room, but without creating a negative impact on the environment – something Christopher Doyle & Co wanted to reflect in the Huch identity.

The brand revolves around the Huch wordmark, which incorporates the form of a classic pitched-roof cabin inside the H – a shape that’s also used as a frame for photography.

This, paired with a sans serif typeface, and a colour palette of warm reds, sunny yellows, and foresty blues and greens creates a welcoming feeling to the branding.

The Circle’s rebrand

The branding marks a clarified mission statement from The Circle, and a new strapline: ‘global feminism in solidarity and action’. UnitedUs has designed a new logo, colour palette and series of circular motifs, as well as a typographic framework that lends the organisation a more prominent, activist tone of voice.

Annie Lennox set the NGO up in 2008, with the aim of supporting women and girls around the world by bringing together a network of women who can campaign for equality.

With the appointment of new chief executive Raakhi Shah, the organisation decided to focus its mission statement around economic empowerment of women, and ending violence against them. The language The Circle was using to talk about itself had been developed “piecemeal over the years” says Natalie Burns, partner and strategy director at UnitedUs, and needed to offer a clear direction for its network of supporting women.

UnitedUs looked at protest placards for inspiration, to understand how to bring “that sentiment of solidarity and strength in a way that feels empowering and is not an anarchist movement”, says UnitedUs creative director and founder Luke Taylor.

The ‘amplified’ typography comes with clear brand guidelines, so The Circle can continue to recreate it without an in-house team. And the “culturally agnostic” circle motif is used as a framing device for photography, in combination with other symbols.

Visa new brand identity system

The new system capitalises on Visa’s recognisable colours, and aims to show that it’s “more than just a credit card company” with a new focus on brand purpose.

Based on 200 hours of stakeholder conversations, the agency also developed a new mission statement for Visa that leans into brand purpose: “We believe that economies that include everyone everywhere, uplift everyone everywhere.” This philosophy is tied into the brand symbol, an equals sign, which has been extracted from the recognisable bars that were historically used in the Visa logo lock up prior to 2005. “The symbol has always been there – we just dialed into the opportunity to use it in a creative way,” said Mucho creative director Rob Duncan.

Key to the new branding system was establishing consistency worldwide while helping the existing design elements – such as the Visa wordmark – work harmoniously in digital environments, adjusting colour palettes to work better on digital touchpoints (namely small mobile screens) as part of this.

The agency developed an iconography and illustration system, brought together by the Visa colours (shown below), and worked with Commercial Type on a new typeface, Visa Dialect, which was designed with legibility in digital executions in mind. Mucho also focused on enhancing Visa’s B2B standing with a sleek range of assets using motion design, made with the help of creative studio

Saga’s rebrand

Saga serves customers over 50 years old across insurance, finance, holidays and cruises. However, the brand’s own survey revealed that the majority of people in this age range find their age defines how they’re represented, and value brands that emphasise the idea of experience rather than age.

Off the back of this insight, SomeOne overhauled Saga’s visual and verbal identity geared towards ‘generation experience’, which is no mean feat given you could argue the over-50s category is just as varied as the under-50s. The agency found a unifying theme among Saga’s broad customer base to be the idea of quality and care, which it has aimed to weave into the new identity.

The agency enlisted London-based marbling specialist Lucy McGrath to create new prints for the visual identity, steering it more towards a luxury setting. During research, the marbling approach was seen by Saga customers as “a compelling way of connecting the brand offers with the enduring value, quality, and high levels of service delivered by Saga,” says Dawson. The marbling is achieved by combing patterns into coloured inks, which are added to the surface of water containing seaweed, ensuring the inks float.