Identity Designed is a showcase of brand identity projects from around the world.

British Athletics

Contributed by Simon Manchipp of London-based SomeOne.

British Athletics

UK Athletics has unveiled a new identity for British Athletics designed by SomeOne.

Based on research, there was a need to create a more consumer-focused identity that was able to attract and engage with new participants of the sport as well as those already familiar with athletics and the UK Athletics body.

Athletics is part of Britain’s past, present and future.

As athletic organisation logos are often worn on event clothing as well as training kit, it was felt that the existing UK Athletics logo approach was better represented by a badge — a badge of athletic pride.

“A badge was created to bring together all of the diverse athletic disciplines. Something that could come to represent quality, confidence, expertise and pride — in all things athletic.”
— GARY HOLT, SOMEONE

The branding device of the badge is designed to work at both small sizes where the illustration makes a crest-like shape, and at large sizes where each of the sporting figures can be more clearly read. The leading symbol is detailed, but is designed to retain primary elements even at small sizes and in challenging applications such as stitched shirts and digital branded environments.

Individually, these pictograms can be picked out in colour for each specific discipline, or even used as patterns themselves — increasing pride and relevance to all of the types of athletics, as well as building a broader brand world for all communications and events.

British Athletics

The new British Athletics logo is made up of 14 different “pictograms” each representing a different discipline within the sport and as Sophia Warner, British Athletics commercial director explains, the unique design has been created to reflect the diverse nature of athletics.

“Athletics could lay claim to being the most diverse sports in the country and that’s something all of us at British Athletics are immensely proud of. Not only are there lots of different disciplines but people from all walks of life are getting involved — we wanted a brand that reflects that, and we’re proud of our new image.

“The development of the British Athletics brand gives the sport something really exciting and unique to work with, and opens up a world of opportunities for us to develop and increase the profile of the sport.”

The new British Athletics branding will be used in all external communications, with UK Athletics reflecting the governance and NGB duties of the organisation.

British Athletics

British Athletics

British Athletics

British Athletics

British Athletics

SomeOne elsewhere on Identity Designed: Eurostar.

View more identity work on the SomeOne website.

21 appreciated remarks about “British Athletics”

  1. Wow! I like every single bit of it.

  2. They may want to reconsider using a silhouette of “the Blade Runner” Pistorius, given the homicide charge against him.

  3. There are other athletes with similar disabilities to Pistorius, Derek, not a particularly useful comment.

    This is a great identity which works really well, even though there is so much going on within the shield design.

  4. Not much love for this over at Underconsideration http://www.underconsideration.com/brandnew/archives/the_name_is_athletics_british_athletics.php with some valid criticism. For me a particular strength of this identity is that it references tradition (colors, shield, flag) and action at the same time in a plausible way. I would admit that the swooshy figures might not stand the test of time.

  5. I really love this. Especially because of the addition of the wheelchair and amputee athletes in the design. And it is refreshing to see images that can be man or woman, with some that are definitely one or the other. The overall inclusiveness of the design should help it stand the test of time. Course I personally don’t see how the swooshy figures would date it considering athletes are usually depicted in motion in one way shape or form. The formation of the figures into a shield I find to be genius. This is a great brand in my opinion.

  6. I like it! The swooshes and swirls of the athletic figures are nicely contained in the shape of the shield for a nice balance.

  7. Yet another Someone job that marketers (clients) love and designers (competitors) don’t. One reason it’s perfect for a sporting client – they’ve just set a new World Record for the number of swooshes in a single identity.

  8. Tim, I take it you’re a designer then? Surely a project that is loved by the client is a perfect case of ‘job well done’ by Someone? It doesn’t really matter what anyone thinks.

  9. Or should I say, it doesn’t really matter whether designers like it or not.

  10. David, I would partly agree with you. The design should also be commercially successful and work on a functional level – not just be a client pleaser.

    The idea isn’t really mind-blowing and the design is a bit swooshy but all in all it’s alright

  11. Actually not a designer, but my comment wasn’t meant as a dig. Some agencies are great at pleasing other designers, and in the process become very famous making very little money. Someone have a very client-friendly style (as in they produce the kind of work that clients want to see), and in the process I bet are making a ton of green. Personally I’m not blown away by a lot of their work, like Eurostar or the Greenwich splashy crown. But I’m sure that won’t bother them a jot as Simon tweets about how many pitches he’s won before lunch (OK, that one was a dig). ;)

  12. @Tim: Lolz!

  13. @Tim — thanks for the feedback — we’ll try harder.

    PS: Just won a pitch.

    ;-)

  14. Thanks Simon, but I’m sure the last thing you guys need to do is try harder! I’m always struck by the amount of work that you invest in your solutions, irrespective of whether it floats my boat or not.

    Out of interest, I’d be interested to know what you mean by ‘pitch’. i’m presuming your MO doesn’t include spec creative? Do you simply outline your process? Or do you do some initial thinking to whet the client’s appetite? Or do some research to frame the questions that the work will need to answer?

  15. @Tim — ha ha — just kidding around.

    At SomeOne we are perpetual pitch mode. Always ready to take on a new challenge. It’s far more fun that way. I genuinely think creative companies are better when on Defcon 3 (Increase in force readiness above that required for normal readiness)

    As for what we put into a pitch… we’ll do a creds, and probably a bit of strategy. That should be enough to make an informed decision as to what we are like to work with.

    Free pitches are fine. (That one will probably get me shot by the Designerati — but read on! There’s sense to this…) Danny Boyle told me once that when he did Slumdog Millionaire he found getting funding really tough. Really? With his back catalogue? Yup, ‘every time you start from scratch,’ he said, ‘past performance counts for nothing.’

    Same with any creative endeavour — However, Danny went on to say that while the creative output changed each time, it was the processes and strategies that helped him pull off his past films that remained constant, it was these principles that got him the commitment of cash.

    The agencies process and strategic thinking should be enough for you to make a decision on who to hire.

    Any decent creative shop should be turning these out daily and find them a doddle. A fee for this is a joke.

    I know it’s a nightmare choosing an agency. (I’ve done it for clients in the past) Everyone says they are different, yet you’ve just seen almost the exact same diagram 3 times that morning from the other groups.

    Ultimately it really is like buying a bespoke suit (with all the fear that goes with parting with significant funds for something everyone says you can just buy off the shelf these days).

    This is what I advise clients embarking on a pitch…

    • Make sure you talk to the tailor, not his accountant

    • Check it really is cashmere you are paying for

    • It’s all about the suit, not the street the shop is on.

    • Want a trendy cut? Need a classic three piece? Check attitude fits.

    • If you can, try it on and get comfy before committing to it

    • Don’t be pressured into paying to see his past work, but do give him a good tip if he lets you take some cloth samples home.

    Ultimately, as a client it is far better to make a call, go with your heart and then walk if it doesn’t work out, than to dither around and hold a crazy complex pitch with 9 agencies. All you will get is frustration.

    As a design practice, it’s far better to hold your opinions dear at pitch. Be strategic, smart, interested and interesting, stick to your guns and keep the visuals at bay at pitch. We are hired for our opinions. Not our pictures. There’s no way you can create a perfect visual fit at pitch, we’ve probably only ever met the client twice and been working with them for a week or two, how can you possibly do a good job with that level of exposure and experience? You can’t.

    (Long answer, sorry, I’ve just had a very strong coffee)

  16. Long but useful, thanks.

    I was tempted to write an equally long response about what constitutes a free pitch, and how you can do strategy without first doing research, but I’m all out of coffee…

  17. Paul – Name just one with the recognition factor of Pistorius. A million basketball players can dunk too, but the ‘jump man’ silhouette is forever tied to Michael Jordan.

  18. @Derek Why would you think of Pistorius when it comes to British Athletics? Jonnie Peacock beat him in the 100m at the Paralympics?

    Regarding the design, I feel it definitely gets the job done. It’s great to see something that has british in the name that doesn’t rely on splashing a Union Jack all over it. Great use of pattern and I’m a big fan of using elements together to create a further image, like the shield.

    I do however feel some of the swooshes are a bit crude and could use a bit more finesse, the swoosh emerging from the runner’s head in particular.

  19. Well, there’s pitching and then there’s pitching, right? In the agency world, people create entire campaigns for free, with very little time for research, in the hopes of getting paid for bringing the work to completion (but mostly, for media buys). That’s the rush-rush, fear-based stuff that short-changes clients and demoralizes the entire creative industry. Whether companies can afford to gamble on that kind of free pitch work or not is irrelevant.

    I see no problem with putting together an informational packet for a client that shows them a design firm’s qualifications for the project, along with case studies of past work. That’s not pitching, in my book, as long as you don’t give away too much strategy (real strategy takes research, anyway). Then again, having a client niche – an industry that you specialize in – means you’ll almost never have to put one of those “pitch” brochures together. Pitching makes sense when creative businesses aren’t uniquely positioned. Design generalists are all saying the same thing with different typefaces – which means they have to compete more often. Specialization is good for the blood pressure, as well as the bank account.

    On the point, I think this ID fits the bill. Nice job.

  20. Love the logo at a large scale, but is anyone else worried that this is way to complicated to work on small applications?

  21. Hey Simon! Love your take on pitching. The analogy is spot on. Comparing logo design and brand development to the fashion industry is a good comparison these days… or is it more like the therapy industry? You can either pay for a Doctorate or pay $50 for a psychic online to help you with your problems. But, aside from the analogy, there is just a lot of good advice in there. Thank you. We spend a lot of time giving advice to other designers, but the real work is in advising clients and potential clients. We either get caught up in the terror of trying to explain the difference between pixel and vector, or instead spend all our time advising them on the importance of attitude and personality in design (usually the designer’s and not the client’s). But the real world and real client needs both. If a potential client doesn’t find me perfect for their design needs, I have no problem helping them find someone who will be. Not everyone can wear Bob Mackie or Gabriella Rossi…

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