A tale of two brands

I’ve been quite taken with two new brands in past week or two.

The first is an unashamedly commercial brand that is all about the commercial imperative that all business brands know well. The second is a gloriously arty brand, almost part of a bygone era. I though it would be fun to see them together and talk about them in the context of them being diametrically opposed to each other – or are they?

First up is the Little Chef rebrand. This is the outward facing element of the Heston fuelled revamp that is seeking to change the fortunes of the much-loved (or hated) highway food brand. This is a brand that’s all about the practicalities of delivering a clear message to consumers – we have changed and we want you to know this. This is a beautiful example of brand as a business asset in my opinion and the work we see is the result of lots of care and attention in the strategy phases of the brand and a fair amount of OCD in the application phase to make sure that none of the great thinking has been lost along the way.

It’s a great piece of branding in my opinion and the key to the success of this project is the product. As with any rebrand if the consumer sniffs spin or smoke and mirrors, then it’s game over. This brand will ultimately be all about whether the promise of the messaging and graphics can be delivered on the A64 just outside Scarborough.

Next up is the new identity for the Hepworth Gallery in Wakefield. The first brand new gallery to be opened in the Uk for 30 years (I think), the Hepworth has a lot to live up to. In some ways this is a gloriously old fashioned ‘corporate identity’ – a graphic design exercise that is a throwback to a purer, less commercial age when brands didn’t really have to do lots of work, but just be there.

I’ve worked on plenty of cultural identities and they are as desperate as any business to make sure the ROI is visible and the value of the brand is maximised. In some ways the purity of the Hepworth identity is at odds with this and I think it can be viewed in two ways: a huge opportunity missed and a visual identity that just is. Either way. I’m happy.

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