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The Rebranding of the British Countryside

The way we view the British countryside has changed. The identity of our green and pleasant lands have shifted, and over the past few years the digital and print design communities have transformed the outdoor lifestyle sector, bringing it into the 21st century and revolutionising our experience of this growing market.

Here are a few notable outdoor companies that have updated their visual identities over the past few years, and what that means to our perceptions of the great outdoors.

National Trust

For anorganisation predominantly focussed on preserving relics of British history, the National Trust updated their brand identity in a big way recently, refreshing their look and bringing a modern feel to their web and print assets. The rebrand also brought the company in-line with contemporary design consumption – they ditched the ‘The’ from their name and started using lower case typeface. The oak leaf icon is far more recognisable now as part of their core branding, and the colour palette in their brand guidelines now follows a softer, but more contemporary feel without the antiquated dark green associated with days of old.

The fact that the National Trust have taken it upon themselves to refresh their look says a lot about our changing philosophy to the British countryside, and the fact the design showcases a far friendlier and approachable identity exemplifies the fact we’re opening up the countryside to every spectrum of the British population.

Visit the National Trust website for more.

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Land Rover

As a brand so closely tied to the British countryside, Land Rover were under pressure to update their look and feel as the 4×4 car market grew, bringing with it more and younger entrants into the sector. With such a surge in interest, it provided an opportunity for Land Rover’s competitors to gain the march in terms of appealing to a new crowd, and the ageing brand had to refresh its look to position itself once again as the world’s leading 4×4 manufacturer.

As is often the case with bold rebrands, the key is in the simplicity. Rebranding often changes a lot, but in reality, this was just a case of giving the iconic Land Rover logo a prominence and a confidence to be centre stage. This, combined with the custom typeface for the brand, integrated a feeling of craft, heritage, confidence and dynamic ability that the cars themselves possess.

Before…

After…

More information and images via Rebrand.

Tresco Estate

A small collection of islands just off the Cornish coast, the Isles of Scilly very much have their own identity. To help shape that identity in print and online, Nixon Design were asked to rebrand the Tresco Estate, as it was generally felt that the existing visual identity was underselling the destination and the brand as a whole.

Tresco is an evocative island, and the refreshed branding looked to put a distinctive feel of the sea within the identity, with bespoke illustrations and lifestyle art direction combining to convey the emotional response many people feel when visiting the destination. The branding has positioned itself very firmly within the luxury travel sector, whilst at the same time bringing an aspect of heritage, craft and timelessness to the look and feel.

Visit Tresco Island to find out more about this unique brand and destination.

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RNLI

The RNLI, as a British institution and a charity inaugurated in 1824, had maintained a similar branding, look and feel and logo for many years. Missouri Creative in Shoreditch were hired to give the brand a refresh without changing the overall identity, developing a coherent language and style guide around three main core values of the charity – ‘active, personal and reliable.’

The new identity, and shift in visual language, has enabled more defined target audiences, with the tone of voice, colours and photography being put centre stage with the ability to scale them up or down depending on audience – more active tone of voice for recruiting, or a personal tone of voice for engaging local communities, for example.

Without changing the historic RNLI logo, Missouri Creative have managed to bring a rugged, authentic design language which conveys modern passion, heart and adventure with a vibrant colour palette echoed in the RNLI’s famous waterproof uniform and lifejackets.

The key here has been about accessibility, and in much the same as the other case studies, the RNLI’s printing and digital presence has become far more about reaching the right audiences at the right time, with the right imagery and tone of voice.

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The rebranding of the British countryside has for the most part been about reconnecting audiences with the outdoors. A survey carried out last year showed that in the preceding year, the British population made more journeys into the great outdoors than at any time in the last five years. Annual reports also suggest that green spaces are becoming an increasingly important aspect of our day to day lives, with 96% of people agreeing or strongly agreeing that having open, green space near to where they live is important.

A friendlier, more accessible approach has been welcomed by these and other big rebrands, and it’s a trend that looks likely to continue, with design companies seeing a rise in work from outdoor, adventure, travel, lifestyle and heritage brands.

In any case, all of this can only mean good things for both the British outdoor and the British design communities, providing a better experience for consumers, refreshing the appeal and aesthetic principles representing outdoor spaces and making information far easier to find for a wider spectrum of the population.

Share your thoughts or your favourite outdoor branding project with us on Twitter.

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