Job title: Designer
A strong brand that’s nailing it: One brand that I’m always pleasantly surprised by is the dating app Hinge. As a single person in my twenties I’m right in the middle of their target market and I think their identity hits the mark.
What it does so well: Hinge has a very clear marketing message, the dating app that’s ‘designed to be deleted’. It’s a memorable idea because it’s so counter-intuitive, but the tagline also prompts some fun and creative ad spots. Most famously, the app logo/mascot being set on fire by a distracted hinge user, bitten by a dog on a date and eventually exploding when the app is deleted, all backed by a comically cliche but classy jazz soundtrack.
Hinge negates the awkward nature of dating apps using comedy and makes people feel comfortable interacting with the brand. Beyond advertising, the identity has a clean and premium feel thanks to its restricted colour palette and minimal graphic style. With an elegant wordmark, lots of white space and a focus on high-quality photography, Hinge feels a lot more classy than its main rival, tinder.
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Job title: Senior Designer
A strong brand that’s nailing it: Patch. Partly because I have become a little obsessed with plants in my home since we are just finishing a big extension and house renovation!
What it does so well: I love the visual brand, especially the illustrations. They are fun, friendly and work great paired with the immaculate plant photography.
But mainly I like the way the plants have been humanised. By giving them human names it somehow makes you feel you want to care for them, they become a member of the family. It makes it much easier to remember and discuss with friends. They’re also creating great content with video lessons on how to care and choose for plants.
Read an interview with Patch’s founder, Freddie Blackett, to find out more about the brand’s ethos here.
Job title: Creative Designer
A strong brand that’s nailing it: I really like the brand TrackInsight, a global platform for exchange traded funds.
What it does so well: I like the use of colours and how they have taken a difficult-to-visualise subject and given it a bold abstract identity, which could easily be a brand from a totally different sector upon first glance. You can read about how they developed their new identity here.
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4. Extinction Rebellion & COP26
Job title: Brand Strategist
Two strong brands that are nailing it: My picks will be regarded as controversial, but a couple of brands I think are nailed on for what they represent are Extinction Rebellion and Johnson Banks’ identity for COP26.
What Extinction Rebellion does so well: Its colours are bright and its tone loud, creating stimulating, attention-grabbing communications that don’t shy away from the issue – whether you agree with what’s happening or not. In my opinion, climate change is an undeniable truth that affects us all. So to empower anyone and everyone to raise awareness, Extinction Rebellion developed a brand toolkit that people could use – designer or not – to create their own graphic messages without losing control of the brand image. Brand is about behaviour too, and Extinction Rebellion displays integrity to reinforce its position. For example, Extinction Rebellion ‘walked the walk’ when it refused a nomination for ‘Designs of the Year’ in 2019 due to the questionable ethics of the awards’ sponsor.
What COP26 does so well: To me, this identity is nailed on because it’s full of meaning and looks stunning. It encapsulates present and future concerns beautifully – so people will be more likely to engage with messages – as well as past realisations.
As described in the Johnson Banks case study, the identity ‘illustrates that the climate has no borders, alludes to currents and weather systems’ and ‘deliberately avoids directly using recognisable country shapes’ to inspire action ‘to save our precious planet’. For me, the swirling coloured globe also harks back to the famous ‘Blue Marble’ photograph taken by the Apollo 17 space mission way back in ’72. I don’t know whether this was intentional or a happy design accident, but it looks just as compelling as that first picture of our only home.
5. Forestry England
Job title: Senior Brand Designer
A strong brand that’s nailing it: Forestry England.
What it does so well: The icon is such a clean and recognisable mark, you find it’s clearly distinguishable when seen on trails. Pair that with their stunning photography and it’s just food for the eyes (their Instagram is stunning!).
Rebranded in 2019, the icon still feels current among other brands within the landscape. In addition, I love how active they are on their socials and how they keep on top of current topics, such as climate change, showing their creativity through their campaigns.
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