Archive for the 'Design' Category

Our Work: Northamptonshire County Cricket Club Rebrand



Northamptonshire County Cricket Club Rebrand


Northamptonshire County Cricket Club


Having been involved in Sports Sponsorship and brand activation for many years, we were delighted to be asked to work on the redesign of the Northamptonshire County Cricket Club brand.

The club, dating back to 1878, has had many iterations of its iconic Northamptonshire rose throughout the years, but it’s most recent incarnation had become cluttered with too many elements. We wanted to strip the logo back to its core component, and make the rose the hero of the logo again.




The rebrand also encompassed the badge for the T20 team, The Northamptonshire Steelbacks. The T20 tournament is the new kid on the block compared to traditional county cricket, and this spirit needed to be reflected in the logo, whilst still maintaining a link to the CCC logo and essential “Englishness” of the brand as a whole.




The team figurehead is a Northamptonshire ‘Steelback’ soldier, from the era of the clubs formation, so nicknamed for their stoicism. Despite being the team namesake, the Soldier felt lost in the background. Our intention was to modify the logo so that the Soldier became the prime focus; we also introduced a wider colour palette and incorporated the white T20 cricket ball into the shield.

For the wider brand, we chose to use photographs of the players in action, making them a central feature of all the materials. We know fans love to see images of their team players in all their glory and we wanted to reflect the excitement of watching live T20 cricket. So far we’ve applied the new brand to membership and hospitality materials, programmes, video idents, scorecards, advertising, signage and much more.







Our Work: Louis de Soissons Architects new identity



Louis de Soissons Architects new identity


Louis de Soissons Architects


Established in 1920, ‘Louis de Soissons’ first made their name working on such major commissions as the original ‘Master Plan’ for Welwyn Garden City, a town they continually helped shape for the next 60 years. They were also the architects behind the original Home Office building, various Duchy of Cornwall private estates in London, and Lords cricket ground.

Today the practice has offices in Hertsfordshire and London, and operates in both the commercial and private sectors specialising in, among other things, town centre conservation and inner city developments.

When exploring how to refine their brand identity, we knew it was important to stay true to their origins while still giving them the more contemporary look-and-feel they were after. Seeking inspiration, we looked at vintage posters of Welwyn Garden City, where the most striking features were the bold use of colour and dominant typography. These were details we were keen to introduce into our design.

Seeking a typeface from the 1920’s, we decided upon ‘Kabel’, as we felt it evoked the era in a clear yet subtle way. We were also keen to introduce a brighter colour palette, and after experimenting with a few options we finally selected a vivid ‘apple green’ which brings to mind the garden cities for which Louis de Soissons first earned their reputation. The use of such a bold colour is a mark of confidence, and makes the brand seem fresh and modern.

Having produced their new logo and stationery, we are now beginning work on their new website, so watch this space.




Colour Me Crazy: a Study in Spotify

Spotify old v new


After the rather extreme reaction to Spotify’s colour change last month, it really drew attention to the significance brand colours can have on an audience.

In case you missed the furore, it came about when Spotify updated its signature colour from a so-called “broccoli” to a fresher, almost “mint” green. This colour change was all part of a larger on-going brand refresh, and was apparently a unanimous decision within the company, considered so uncontroversial in the Spotify camp that they didn’t even feel the need to mention the update formally.

But unfortunately for them, certain Spotify customers did not consider it a welcome change and reacted vocally online, causing something of a Twitter-storm, and I imagine some internal panic at Spotify.

Was it simply change itself that people reacted against, or was there a genuine antipathy towards the new Spotify green? For some it will be both. For what it’s worth, my feeling is that the gradient had to go. I can take or leave the new colour, but the gradient was tired and dated.

It is clear that people can feel a sense of ownership towards brands, particularly ones they have used regularly for many years. Sudden and unannounced change can be disorientating, especially on digital devices where colour can sometimes fluctuate (note that “is there something wrong with my screen?” was a fairly typical response). There is also something weirdly intrusive about brands making updates to our desktops and mobiles without our consent. When an app icon updates we lose some control over the aesthetic of our digital world, and it can be quite jarring in a way that updating printed materials just isn’t.

The cliché when talking about green and brand personality is to link it to ‘earthiness’, ‘nature’ and ‘health’, and while this is true to a certain extent, it doesn’t seem to apply in Spotify’s case. Colour preference is not universal, but is in fact dictated by a variety of factors, including but not limited to, gender, cultural differences and personal associations. So why then was there such a surprisingly strong attachment to the more ‘earthy’ tone of green? It could all be down to a case of familiarity rather than the colour itself. If Spotify had launched with this colour I doubt people would hold the same level of distaste they claim to feel for it now. Which leads us to our first lesson: Recognition is key. Researchers have found that our brains prefer recognizable brands, and that there is a “real connection between the use of colours and customers’ perceptions of a brand’s personality”, all of which makes changing your brand colour incredibly risky, especially when you’re already a well-established company.

Whatever the reason for the distaste, it clearly came as a surprise to many just how much people cared. In the age before social media (if you can remember such a time), brands would never have received this level of immediate feedback directly from their customers. Other than a few reviews in design journals (barring true catastrophes), the critique of a rebrand would’ve remained under the purview of graphic designers and marketers. Now people have the opportunity to give instant (somewhat hyperbolic) feedback directly to the brand. It is also worth noting that people who liked the change, or were at least ambivalent to it, felt less of a need to post anything at all, and so the online reaction was unfairly skewed towards the negative.

Whilst I myself was initially reticent to the new shade, I have since found that I’ve become used to it and I’m sure it will soon replace any previous colour associations in my mind, although troublingly it has only automatically updated on my desktop and not my (Android) mobile. As a mainly digital application, Spotify have the luxury of being able to make piece-meal updates with relatively little expense, but just because they can, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they should. Part of people’s horror at the change was down to the lack of consistency. Lesson number two: if you’re going to enact a brand refresh, make it universal.

Spotify icon Victoria Addo-Ashong












However, despite all of the above, it must be said that ‘Brand’ is so much more than colour and aesthetic appearance. As long as people genuinely like the service they receive from Spotify, I doubt they will lose much custom if other areas of their brand are on-point. If someone is willing to delete the service over this it’s worth betting that they weren’t a satisfied customer to begin with. Still, brand recognition is a difficult thing to build, and examples such as these just go to show how quickly it can be lost. Spotify have been having a tough time in the media lately, and could really do without the additional controversy. It will be interesting to see how the rest of their brand-refresh plays out, and whether users will be quite so vocal in their reaction to it.







Our Work: Barclays Digital Eagles HQ neon sign



Barclays Digital Eagles HQ neon sign




In 2013, Barclays launched the Barclays Digital Eagles initiative, with the aim to encourage their colleagues within Barclays to become more comfortable with the continuously adapting digital world.  The Barclays Digital Eagles now offer their digital solutions, support and practical advice to a wide variety of groups, ranging from their Barclays colleagues, to customers and community groups, some of whom have never been online before.

With initiatives ranging from ‘Barclays Code Playground’, an online workshop encouraging children to learn to code, to ‘Tea and Teach, aimed at those who are unconfident online, The Barclays Digital Eagles are at the forefront of the technology and digital world.

With this in mind, Barclays felt that the Digital Eagles needed a fittingly modern sign for their headquarters based in Canary Wharf, the final decision being a neon sign.

Whilst the majority of neon signs are produced using one tube per letter, we decided to use two, which enabled us to replicate the Digital Eagles typeface.  In addition to this, the neon sign was mounted to Perspex which was cut to the shape of these characters.  The client was extremely impressed with the end result and we look forward to producing more neon signs in the future.




Our Work: Barclays Premier League Manager of the Season and Player of the Season Awards 2014/15



Barclays Premier League End of Season Awards 2014/15




We were thrilled when we were once again asked by Barclays to design and produce the Barclays Premier League Golden Boot and Golden Glove for the 2014/15 Season.

This year, these acclaimed awards were presented to Manchester City’s Sergio Agüero on the final game of the season at the Etihad Stadium to rapturous applause from the Manchester City fans. Agüero was awarded the Golden Boot for scoring 26 goals in the 2014/15 season, beating out his closest competitor, Tottenham’s Harry Kane, by an impressive 5 goals.

Whilst the Golden Boot was comfortably won by Agüero, the race for the Golden Glove was incredibly close, and was eventually decided on the final day of the season when Manchester City’s Joe Hart kept his 14th clean sheet and was awarded the Barclays Premier League Golden Glove for the fourth time.

These bronze awards are produced using the lost wax chasing technique, after which, they are gold plated and personalised for each recipient.

Throughout the football season, WildWest also produce the Barclays Premier League Man of the Match, Player of the Month, and Manager of the Month trophies, but perhaps none are more sought after as the awards we design and produce for the Barclays Premier League Manager of the Season and Player of the Season Awards. These awards are set apart from the Man of the Match and Manager of the Month awards by being plated in gold.

The 2014/15 season saw an award double for Champions Chelsea FC, with José Mourinho winning the Manager of the Season for the third time, and Eden Hazard being awarded the Player of the Season award. Hazard was also awarded the PFA Player of the Season and FWA Player of the Season awards.

On behalf of everyone at WildWest, we wanted to congratulate each winner on an exciting 2014/15 Barclays Premier League Season.




Our Work: Babson Capital Management signage




Babson Capital Management signage


Babson Capital Management


Earlier this year, we were approached by Babson Capital Management, a global investment management organisation. Babson Capital Management was in the process of rebranding, and as such, required the signage throughout their London office to be replaced.

It soon became apparent that this was no ordinary signage update. After our initial site visit, we realised that the existing signage had been fixed to the wall in such a way that removing it would likely cause lasting and visible damage. As well as this, the material used on the wall was uncommon, and there was a risk that the replacement plaster would not match the existing.

After some research, we came across Armourcoat, a leading supplier of polished plasters, and innovative surface finishes. Armourcoat were able to match the existing material, and over two days, the wall rendering took place. The overall result was excellent, and matched the existing walls perfectly, ready for the new signage installation.

The signage itself was produced by using built up satin metal letters with 20mm returns and flat cut 3mm satin metal letters. We decided to use satin metal letters, rather than anodized aluminium due to the fact that, over time anodized aluminium ages differently to the cut edges (which are not anodized) therefore creating a much more noticeable contrast. We recommended satin stainless steel as it is a much higher quality material with a superior finish.

Both ourselves and the client were extremely happy with the overall result, and we look forward to working with Babson Capital Management in the future.





Our work: Christmas emailers

We always enjoy the opportunity to create unique and exciting Christmas designs, so we thought we’d sign-off 2014 with a few favourites of ours:


For their Christmas emailer this year, Silverfleet Capital wanted to stand-out from their competitors. Much of the emphasis was placed on reinforcing the company’s focus on Europe, creating an animated card that worked in different countries and different languages. The snow and the magic of a winter landscape did the rest.

Alcentra Capital had a similarly international feel with their card, with a very simple and effective design that worked all over the world.






For Kester capital we designed a fun, festive card that worked well both as a static and animated emailer (click on the image to see the animated version).



Our own card was a modern twist on tradtional nordic designs, with a nod to moving optical illusions.







Our work: Prepare for Work



Prepare for Work


Barclays and The National Skills Academy for Financial Services


Prepare for Work is a new programme designed to help Further Education college students in the UK improve their chances of securing and maintaining employment. It is being run by The National Skills Academy with support from Barclays.

Building upon the success of Barclays Money Skills, Prepare for Work sets out to address the lack of awareness of employability skills, and help students to develop an understanding of how to successfully navigate the recruitment process. Prepare for Work also touches upon the financial aspects of employment, whilst also raising an awareness ofentrepreneurship and self-employment.

Having previously worked on the Barclays Money Skills project to great success, we were asked to design and develop the logo for the new campaign. The brief was to create a clean, simple and professional logo that was still eye-catching and positive. It was important that the logo not only appeal to the young people engaged in the programme, but also to their tutors, who are an important part of leading and promoting the programme throughout their colleges. We feel the final version managed to achieve the right balance of educational, modern and fun that the client was looking for, and we were all extremely pleased with the end result.



Once the logo had been established, it was time to develop the resource packs. Each pack contains an information toolkit filled with activities and resources, as well as competitions for students to enter. We wanted the information to be presented in an engaging and informative way, so that students found the guidance useful and easy-to-follow rather than overwhelming. The packs also contain posters and merchandise used to promote the programme throughout the colleges, to encourage as much participation as possible. These packs are now being distributed to participating schools and colleges around the country, where Tutors and College Champions (young people trained to deliver activities to their peers) will lead students in developing the skills essential to gaining employment.


Our work: New Precision 3D Print Signage



Office Signage


Silverfleet Capital


When one of our clients in the private equity industry needed their office signage refreshed, we took the opportunity to look into the potential of new technology within the signage industry.

Traditionally for signage installations such as these, our material of choice would’ve been MDF cut on a router. However, as Silverfleet Capital’s logo is made up of 18 small letters with multiple bevelled edges, we thought that new methods might create a much more precise and detailed end result. 3D printing especially offered all these advantages without being prohibitive in terms of cost, and we were convinced that this new technology could deliver the quality we were looking for.

3D printing was a relatively new concept to us, but after a visit to the production site we found that it was an impressively fast, sustainable, and economical production method, that allowed our designers’ artwork to be meticulously rendered exactly as they would have wished. The process, also known as ‘additive manufacturing’ (AM), involves adding or layering materials on top of one another until a physical 3D object is produced.

Once the letters were produced – or ‘printed’, they were sanded by hand and sprayed with Silverfleet Capital’s colours. The end result was very impressive, and it is certainly a method we will be using again.


3d printing


6 Ways to Ensure Your Website Keeps Working for You



Over the years, we’ve designed and created a lot of sites. For different industries, different audiences and achieving vastly different results too. Some have been very niche (take a look at Tax Efficient Review for example, the bees knees for those interested in Venture Capital Trusts or Enterprise Investment Schemes). Others have helped companies to reach a much wider public.

These days though, it’s not enough just to design and post your site. Making it available is just the start. Any website should be playing an active role in your market development and delivering back on your investment.

Here are some starting points:

1. Think about audiences.

Make it easy for investors to get where they want to, as well as giving sales or service information to potential buyers. Remember that people who have already bought from you could be your best source of new sales. Your staff will also want a website they can feel proud of.

2. Do you want people to come back to your site? Then provide information that changes.

Could be a blog, could be news, market analysis, a cartoon – your website should be more like a magazine than a printed book. If visitors come back and see the same old content, they won’t stay long – they will feel they’ve done it all already.


3. Think about value.

What can you give to your audiences that will have value for them? It could be something they didn’t know about market conditions, an expert view on how to apply your products or services, an evaluation tool. It could be a competition, a CSR programme – Barclays feature their MoneySkills advice, for example, together with sponsorships.

4. When you provide value, make sure people know about it!

You can promote your features through Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and other social media. Your staff and others with an interest (resellers, supply chain) should be encouraged to do the same. Best of all is when your clients start supporting you too.

5. How do people view your site?

Are they deskbound PC users, or iPhone aficionados, keeping in touch on the move? For most, it’s both, so you need to make sure your website responds to many different viewing platforms and is continuously available.




6. Make sure you know what’s going on.

An analytics package is essential to keep your marketing programme and your website on track. It will help show what is working well and what doesn’t. It will show how long people stay on your site and what they look at most. How they search to find you, or your competitors. Essential stuff.

All of this will have a bearing on how you structure your site, how it looks, how the navigation works and many other factors. It should help you get the absolute best return for your investment too.