The Olympic brand gets a refresh

Every four years, the world watches on as the next host country of the Olympic Games is announced. The anticipation surrounding that announcement is closely followed by the reveal of the design identity for each Games – an occasion that gets designers talking as much as the general public.

The design heritage for the Olympic Games is so illustrious that it’s easy to forget that the Olympics has a brand of its own to look after. And since the last development of its identity, in 2011, the organisation’s needs have evolved, explains May Guerraoui, the IOC’s head of brand management. So began an extensive process to evolve the brand, which has been revealed through a gradual rollout, and is expected to be implemented in full by the Paris 2024 Games.

The Olympic colours – second only to the iconic interlocking rings in terms of recognisability – have been “subtly optimised” to have more impact and flexibility, she explains. These have been joined by an extended palette of complementary colours reflecting the gold, silver and bronze medals, to be used for cases like data visualisation and infographics.

Illustration by Abbey Lossing

“Art and creativity have played a big role in Olympic history, and not only in the iconic Olympic Games’ design. From 1912 to 1948, art competitions were held alongside sport – with Olympic medals awarded to architects, poets and artists,” Guerraoui says. “We wanted to bring this idea of championing the arts back into the brand identity.”

Olympic Sans was designed by Fabian Harb; Olympic Serif was designed by Seb McLauchlan
Image: Naoya Suzuki

“For example, we have put the athletes at the heart of the evolved identity system with the Field of Play (FOP) design, a graphic system that expresses the Olympic brand through colour and geometry inspired by the Games,” Guerraroui says, from courts to tracks to lanes. “It was a way to incorporate the Games into the brand in a timeless way, without featuring a specific athlete or moment in a way that a photo would for instance.”

DesignStudio’s Casavo rebrand

Casavo is a digital platform for buying and selling homes, offering a mix of properties from trusted agents, as well as houses acquired by Casavo directly. To date the focus has been on properties in Italy, Spain and Portugal, however a recent round of investment means the business is now expanding across Europe.

DesignStudio has rebranded the company to reflect its global – or ‘glocal’ as they describe it – scope, as well as its ambitions to evolve from a home-buying platform to a full digital solution for sellers and buyers. The new identity also had to speak to a broad range of consumers, spanning several generations of potential clients.

Casavo’s previously blue and pink, sans serif wordmark has been replaced with a more characterful, black and orange version – designed to flex across Casavo’s online and offline presence. The rebrand includes subtly different palettes of neutrals, blues and greens for brokers and buyers, however orange plays the starring role, appearing prominently on Casavo’s website and app.

DesignStudio has also introduced a suite of new monoline illustrations, depicting symbolic motifs of roofs and trees in Casavo’s outdoor ads. Photography feels more lifestyle than your traditional real estate agent, showing happy people sprawled on sofas and beds.

Topshop and Topman reveal a joint new look

Following the brand’s acquisition by Asos as part of a £330 million deal that also included Miss Selfridge and activewear brand Hiit, the teams behind both Topshop and Topman have been steadily evolving them into digital-first businesses.

Helping them to stand out among the ecommerce giant’s roughly 900 stocked brands, they now have their own designated ‘shop front’ – or landing page – to better appeal to fashion-conscious shoppers looking for inspiration.

“The brief was bold and direct: to elevate the brand expression with a design system that honoured the spirit of Topshop and Topman’s iconic heritage, whilst introducing distinct new elements that could make that iconoclasm relevant and successful in today’s digital era and beyond,” says Moving Brands chief strategy officer, Christina-Anne Kyosti.

The agency’s stripped back approach to the identity appears to be an attempt to bridge the gap between the worlds of high street and high fashion once more, with a new monogram that nods to the brands’ shared heritage.

A new wordmark, designed with Colophon Foundry, is equally as minimalist. “Building out from the brands’ heritage of a sans serif logotype, we created a modern custom wordmark that confidently put an unapologetic, monolithic stamp on their new creative direction,” Konczak adds.

Opening Up the Outdoors (OUTO)

There has been a huge cultural shift in the way we view the great outdoors in recent years, particularly in the wake of the pandemic and our increased desire to spend time in nature for both our physical and mental health.

Couple that with technical outdoor retailers’ newfound appeal to style-conscious consumers (see the North Face x Gucci collab that broke the internet), and it’s unsurprising that business is booming.

“Spending quality time in the great outdoors is a right everyone should be able to enjoy, but ever since I began hiking, mountain biking and skiing I’ve often been one of the only Black or brown faces on the trail (or piste),” says journalist and filmmaker Keme Nzerem.

Recognising the power of brands to enact change, new non-profit Opening Up the Outdoors (OUTO) has been spun out off It’s Great Out There with a commitment to equity and inclusion. Founding members include leading outdoor brands the North Face, Arc’teryx, Adidas Terrex, Patagonia, and Vivobarefoot.

The organisation’s launch is accompanied by an eye-catching visual identity led by Amsterdam agency We Are Pi. The hand generated logo and illustrations evoke a DIY aesthetic, and are balanced with a utilitarian type system which nods to the design language of manuals and maps.

“The design approach goes against the established aesthetic of the outdoors, and feels like a true celebration of the new outdoor culture Black and brown communities are creating,” says the design team.

Agency: We Are Pi
Design Director: Seth Josephs
Senior designer: Gemma Stoner
Motion Designer/Illustration: Nick Fatouris
Creative Director: Taylor Black
Creative Director: Daan van Dam
Copywriter: Maya Halilovic

Soho House launches new magazine with a splash

Soho House is known for its luxe members-only clubs around the world, as well as a growing array of offshoots, like its plush homeware and skincare ranges. So the new Soho House magazine may surprise those who would expect the dimmed lights and muted luxury of those spaces to be translated onto its pages. Yet surprise is exactly what recently appointed editorial creative director Andrew Diprose, who previously worked at titles like Wired, GQ, and Elle, was hoping to achieve.

The magazine, Diprose says, is entirely new, and not a revival of House Notes, the publication that Soho House used to produce before the pandemic. Its launch dovetails with Soho House’s new awards (which he also worked on) celebrating talent across the worlds of culture and creativity, and is being used to support the scheme by housing a range of profiles on the winners. Spot acting elite John Boyega and Paapa Essiedu in the issue alongside fashion designers Harris Reed and Bianca Saunders.

The first issue has a core palette of six splashy, ice lolly hues that pop off the page, while the bold display typeface is joined by a bubbly guest typeface, which Diprose says has “just the right amount of readability”. The hyper-saturated palette is woven throughout the issue: you’ll see it in the colouramas used in the photoshoots, or the illustrations by Lucy Jones commissioned for op-eds, or even in the objects that Christopher Mitchell shot for the still life story.

It might be a “glorious experiment” but the design still relied on plenty of “geekery”, he insists, whether in the similarity between the CMYK and RGB references that ensure consistency across print and digital, or the ‘golden ratio’ created by the page proportions. “Obviously anyone who is geeky about design is going to love sneaking in a golden section to a page layout!”

Some design elements, like the condensed display typeface and the grid layouts designed to evoke the brand’s square logo, will remain as the “nuts and bolts” of future issues, yet the rest is open to evolution. “It’s all up for grabs!”

Soho House magazine is available in the private members clubs, and will be stocked at selected newsstands and galleries;

Leeum Museum of Art

Since first opening its doors in 2004, the Seoul-based Leeum Museum of Art has been building up a wide-ranging collection of Korean, international modern and contemporary art.

The cultural institution, which is run by the Samsung Foundation of Culture, was founded with the ambition to become a 21st century ‘museum of convergence’ – a place where people could see and discuss traditional, contemporary and international art all in one place.

Following a period of closure during the pandemic, the museum commissioned design agency Wolff Olins to create a new visual identity that would better reflect its ambitions, and appear across a number of touchpoints, from signage and communications to social media and augmented reality experiences.

The updated branding is centred around the museum’s dynamic new logo; a rotating form that intends to reflect both the cyclical nature of time and the form of the Leeum’s Rotunda building.

Ryvita rebrand

Founded in 1925 by John Edwin Garratt, Ryvita was brought to life when the world was a far simpler place – and consumer choice was much more limited.

The rye-based crispbread is one of those brands that many of us grew up with, but was typically viewed as as a ‘diet’ option for weight conscious mums.

Since Ryvita’s heyday, society’s relationship with health and wellbeing has shifted significantly, with a huge amount of choice springing up in the health food category. As a result, Ryvita has struggled to stay relevant in the ‘healthy alternative’ landscape.

The team behind the brand approched London-based branding agency Springetts to challenge traditional perceptions of the crispbread and reignite its relevance among consumers.

Through a combination of bold typography, accessible photography and a more playful tone of voice, the new brand looks to bring a new energy to the brand while remaining recognisably Ryvita.

INNOM colourful identity

Oslo-born convenience store concept Innom is vying to be the exception to this rule, however. Offering a mixture of goods that places it somewhere between a grocery store, kiosk and bakery, the new concept is aiming to engage younger audiences in the Norwegian capital.

“The new store should be tailored for those who are short on time and need to take something with them on the go. It’s not a place you do your weekly shopping, but rather a place to drop in,” says Håvard Bergo, a designer at local creative agency Try.

The agency was recently commissioned to create a visual identity that nods to the convenience store’s mission, and in particular the name Innom, which translates as ‘drop by’.

“We centred the identity around a typeface that has a distinct link to the parent brand [grocery store] Rema 1000’s round visual language, but rather than being an extension of it, the Innom brand appears like a remixed and younger version,” says Bergo.

Branston Pickle brand

After Branston Pickle’s new logo and packaging design, both by This Way Up, were revealed earlier this summer, the condiments brand is launching a refreshed identity led by Wonderhood Studios.

The new visual and verbal identity leans into its lengthy heritage, having spent the last 100 years as a staple of many British kitchens.

According to Simon Elvins, head of art at Wonderhood Studios, it was an opportunity to “dust-off this quintessentially British brand”. The execution of the new identity is simple yet effective in reflecting the nature of the product and brand, featuring appropriately chunky type and a palette that draws heavily on the yellows and greens associated with Branston.

The copy does the heavy lifting in the brand campaign, Bring out the Branston, which mostly goes for a hit of nostalgia and warmth through references to childhood memories and family time, while injecting a bit of playfulness into the mix.

Jack McKeon, Limerick School of Art and Design

Jack McKeon’s portfolio is impressive in its breadth of media (packaging design, branding, illustration, animation) as well as its range of themes. At times, it’s commercially astute and slickly professional, at others, it’s using animation to explore ideas around community and societal division, or examining Irish cultural idiosyncrasies and the country’s deepening housing crisis.

Although his work started out with an illustrative bias, relying almost solely on imagemaking, his skill with typography emerged over time and is shown across a wealth of both speculative and real life projects, from soft drink branding, to a concept for a non-alcoholic events company, to theatre posters. The Project Arts Centre in Dublin recently commissioned McKeon to create a billboard reflecting on the current state of Ireland’s capital and what it means to those living there.

Laytown Soda Co. posters
Fression branding