Tag Archives: rebrand

CNET’s new identity

Since launching in 1994, US media brand CNET (an abbreviation of Computer Network) has become a trusted source for reporting and advice on all things related to technology and digital culture.

As tech has evolved over the last two decades to influence almost every aspect our lives, the media company decided to expand its coverage and advice to what matters most in modern life – including money, home, wellness, culture and climate.

Collins’ brief was to turn CNET from a tech review site into an editorial-first brand known for its useful information and expertise, putting it alongside the raft of other news organisations that are placing renewed emphasis on trust, including the New York Times and the Guardian.

The new visual identity swaps the lower case sans serif logo that CNET had used for the past 30 years in favour of a more trim, custom serif wordmark inspired by editorial design from the so-called golden era of journalism.

In marketing CNET’s new approach, the studio leaned into bold surrealism with a series of striking artworks by Kentucky-based illustrator Robert Beatty. It has also introduced a slab serif typeface, Sentinel, and a new brand voice that seeks to make talking about the news more enjoyable.

ARC branding

ARC is a real estate partner geared towards organisations and institutions specialising in science and innovation. These companies are brought together in place-based groups, or Advanced Research Clusters, positioned in and around cities like London and Oxford.

To help put a new spin on the category, dn&co worked across ARC’s brand strategy, narrative, positioning, identity, and the name itself. The visual identity centres on the ‘cluster’ concept and draws on mathematical graph theory to represent people, places and relationships.

The individual radial symbols might have gaps, but when layered they form a perfect ring, which “represents the assembled strength” of the different campuses within a network, says creative director Patrick Eley. It is complemented by chunky, condensed typography designed to “reflect the power of the cluster ecosystem”.

JKR redesigns Magnolia Bakery

First set up on Bleeker Street in New York’s West Village in 1996, Magnolia Bakery played a significant role in the boom in popularity for cupcakes in the 90s, which has endured pretty much ever since.

After experiencing a pop culture moment when Carrie and Miranda were shown chatting about their love lives over cupcakes from the store in season three of Sex in the City, the brand has expanded to other sites across the city, and the world, and now plans further growth as well as giving greater focus to its direct-to-consumer business.

To mark these developments, JKR has created a new brand identity, which draws on Magnolia Bakery’s original, somewhat whimsical styling though refines it for more coherence, especially in digital.

“The new logo is inspired by the bakeshop’s trademarked cupcake swirl – which takes up to 40 hours to perfect! – and the live theatre of the bakery; mixers spinning vanilla cake batter, cupcakes being iced and banana pudding being scooped.” says JB Hartford, group creative director at JKR.

The updated core brand colour is inspired by the iconic green of the bakery’s walls, while other colours are drawn from its desserts and colourful sprinkles. 

The brand’s West Village roots are still firmly evident in illustrations, though the wider system allows the brand to grow across different channels, particularly digital. Magnolia Bakery will roll out the new design elements over the coming months, beginning with its digital platforms, followed up by packaging and store refreshes. The brand will also continue to add new products to the D2C channel in the coming months.

Everyone loves Chocolate

Chocolate is a truly miraculous thing. The indulgent treat made from cocoa pods becomes a delicious food when mixed with other ingredients, such as sugar, fruit, or nuts. Unfortunately, most chocolate bars are made with refined sugars and stick to conventional ingredients.

Spring & Mulberry is a chocolate brand founded by Kathryn Shah and Sarah Bell to share more complex flavors beyond sweet, adding organic fruit, pollens, nuts, and spices, all sweetened with dates, a purportedly healthier alternative to refined sugars. Spring & Mulberry also uses organic ingredients whenever possible, and the bars are vegan save for lavender, bee pollen, and rose petal since it contains animal-derived pollen.

“The brief was to take the client’s product— date-sweetened chocolate—and build a brand supporting the concept of ‘exploring a world of sweet beyond sugar,’” said Allison Henry Aver, owner and creative director at Letter A, the agency behind Spring & Mulberry’s packaging. “We created the ‘land of Spring & Mulberry,’ where food and friends and feasts are abundant, good looking, and good-for-you. The land is showered in dappled light and dreamy sunsets, and from this, we took inspiration for our color palette, packaging, prints, and photography.”

The design is elegant, with fanciful and striking typography. The logo also makes tasteful use of Meek Display, with Brick DisplayClifton, and Nexus playing supporting roles. The mix of varying widths, round, and sharp edges shows complexity and craftwork, signaling a premium experience and product.

Baskin-Robbins

Baskin-Robbins has had a bit of an identity crisis the last few years. They’re still all about the ice cream they scoop up, ice cream cakes, sundaes, and shakes, but Baskin Robbins’ logo and branding haven’t delighted as much as its sweet, frozen treats. At the end of 2020, Baskin-Robbins introduced a new visual identity, replacing its maligned logo with a JKR-designed look, a definite step forward and inspired by “Living Flavorfully.”

Now, Baskin-Robbins has unveiled another logo and visual identity system, this time by creative agency ChangeUp (though, according to Baskin-Robbins, it hasn’t undergone a “major” brand refresh in decades). Time flies, supposedly, and recent events have likely distorted our perception of its passing, but the early 2021 refresh also included a new logo, visual system, and bespoke typeface.

“Baskin-Robbins is one of those brands with the unique potential to transcend generations. They wanted the branding to deliver the quality and creativity they’ve always offered but weren’t getting credit for,” explained Ryan Brazelton, ChangeUp CCO. “They needed to create a visual identity system that was exciting for people who grew up with them and future audiences as well.”

The new Baskin-Robbins logo turns to the brand’s visual history as inspiration for the new design. The brown and pink color combination is back, which sounds as gross as chocolate orange mayonnaise, but it works. The new logo keeps the oh-so-clever “31,” first introduced in 2006’s logo ( and held over in 2021). The type has a bit of the original’s circus feel, and the perfect circle shapes also recall the logo first introduced in 1947. Secondary typography is much more subdued in this refresh. Gone are the sharp angles, and the new type is less child-like and more mature, adding some soft lines that keep the new visual presentation casual and comfortable.

A tale of two halves

Founded in 1936, electrical appliances brand Morphy Richards has been a staple of many British homes for the best part of 100 years. Yet its brand vision hadn’t necessarily translated as it expanded around the world.

“Morphy Richards is historically a British brand that over the years has grown globally. As this growth happened, the meaning of the brand became inconsistent across markets. From the UK, to China, to Australia, what Morphy Richards stood for became diluted and as a result there was no longer a clear and consistent message,” explains Otherway founder Jono Holt.

Tasked with helping the business “see fundamental change”, Otherway set about identifying the brand’s point of view on the world and making it relevant to a new generation of consumers.

“The new wordmark is designed to capture the positive tension that has always sat at the heart of the business,” Holt explains. “The engineer and the salesman. The right brain and the left brain. The rational and the emotional. This juxtaposition of two personalities is represented in the differentiated fonts but somehow work in harmony.”

As our homes are set to remain a place of both work and play for many people, balancing feeling and functionality seems like a proposition that’s fit for the future.

Moniker rebrands crypto platform Coinbase

San Francisco-based agency Moniker has rebranded cryptocurrency platform Coinbase, aiming to reach a wider audience outside the “crypto crowd”.

Moniker was initially brought in to create a new logo, but it was soon apparent that there was “a larger need and opportunity for the visual identity system”, says Moniker creative director and founder Brent Couchman.

The rebrand was initiated at a time when Coinbase was experiencing massive growth, and according to Couchman, had become “the most trusted and easiest-to-use platform for the cryptoeconomy”, but its former identity didn’t match that position.

Coinbase briefed Moniker to create a new visual identity that would balance “the excitement and energy of this new financial world” while communicating trust and security. “To reach a wider audience, not just the typical crypto crowd, they needed a visual identity that built recognition for the brand but also allowed for a really wide range of expression to speak to new users,” says Couchman.

The designers looked to the idea of wayfinding and transit signage systems for inspiration, since the team’s early conversations had unearthed the idea of Coinbase being a ‘bridge’ between traditional finance and the cryptoeconomy. “This was really the core driver early on and gave us a shared language and set of filters to think about each piece of the identity,” says Couchman. Another key concept behind the new identity was the idea that crypto is no longer a futuristic entity, but something tangible and real that can be used right now. “This also fed into the wayfinding concept, that the system needed to be immediate and grounded — not something too abstract that could potentially get in the way for users who were new to the space,” he adds.

The new icon is instantly recognisable as a ‘C’ and a coin, again conveying simplicity and accessibility. “We didn’t want people to have to work to get it, just like using the product,” says Couchman. The blue colour palette of the previous identity was retained to aid identifiability and the brand’s equity; and Moniker introduced a secondary palette to give the branding more flexibility as it grows into new markets and introduces new sub brands.

Wolff Olins identity for DailyPay

First revealed last May, the updated identity revolves around the idea that DailyPay is “flipping the system” with regards to acccessing earnings. It’s reflected in a symbol that doubles as a sun peeking behind the horizon and a coin dropping into a slot. The two interpretations are joined together in an animated execution, in which the sun motif flips over to reveal the coin.

The colour palette has been updated from light blue to a sunny orange, and a new custom typeface has also been introduced. The type design, called Horizon, evokes the main symbol through the elongated serifs, exaggerated hooks and the full stop.

DailyPay animated logotype designed by Wolff Olins

Grand National rebrand

Thisaway has designed a new visual identity for the annual racing event, using big, mud-splattered type to evoke the energy of the race course.

To mark its return to normality, the Grand National is launching its first standalone visual identity – previously, the horse race was branded and promoted under racing organisation the Jockey Club. The event has been running since 1839, with some of its 30 fences, for example Becher’s Brook, considered iconic.

Thisaway has tapped into the event’s “grand proportions” for its type-led branding, using it to reflect the huge audience – 10 million people watch the Grand National in the UK, and 600 million around the world – and epic race course. 

“We gave the brand a bold typographic feel that aims to reflect their stature and immediately speaks to what the race is known for,” said the studio in a press release.

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.