With a World Cup on the horizon in 2019, England Rugby needed to modernise their brand to appeal to new audiences. We helped them define their brand positioning and bring it to life with a new flexible visual identity system.
How do you deepen connections between England Rugby’s brand and audience?
England are established as among the leading teams in world rugby, and the game’s culture and values are deep rooted. But, faced with the challenge of attracting new fans beyond their core audiences in an increasingly competitive environment, their brand required modernising from the ground up.
New England, new rugby
Unfairly regarded by many as traditional and elitist, rugby is evolving fast. The multicultural England mens’ team embody this evolution, and as a governing body England Rugby have embraced diversity - from developing a world-class elite women’s team to supporting inner city and outreach rugby initiatives nationwide. Their brand needed to reflect this ethos, and help them communicate to a huge range of audiences, old and new.
Rugby is the Game of Our Lives
Our brand strategy was based around making one fundamental shift. Prior to engaging Onwards, England Rugby were using ‘The Game of Our Lives’ as a campaign proposition; we recommended changing its role to a core brand positioning. This concept became the foundation for all brand decision-making, informing the content-led identity approach that puts diverse storytelling at the heart of the brand.
‘The Timeline’ device
To bring ‘The Game of Our Lives’ to life visually we developed an identity based on a timeline device. This linear system creates a home for storytelling in the brand, enabling us to showcase in a huge array of diverse content - from social posts to grassroots imagery to elite footage, while always remaining on brand.
Coherence over consistency
England Rugby’s new brand has been designed to work effectively in everything from stadium signage to Snapchat posts. To achieve this we designed flexibility into the brand system, introducing a typeface with a broad range of weights and styles and creating flexible layering options that can be used to create different textural effects within a single system.
"Onwards have designed an outstanding identity that enables us to communicate flexibly to all our audiences and has breathed new life into our brand. As an organisation we have a wide remit and this new brand gives us a platform to speak in a far more engaging way to supporters and players alike."
Brand strategy, brand identity, tone of voice, campaigns & content, digital design, films, animation, brand guardianship.