Contributed by Joe Ryrie of London-based Article.
Escape the City are at the forefront of the movement towards a new world of work. 250,000 professionals have joined their community and they’re on a mission to help 1,000,000 others escape unfulfilling jobs and do work that matters. Inspired by these disruptive principles we created a unique ‘uncorporate’ identity – handmade and purposefully inconsistent but still modern, digital and ready to take on the world.
Escape the City began in 2009 as an email list of interesting job opportunities for people looking for more fulfilling work. Six years on it’s grown into a 250,000-strong community and they’ve become a global authority on the future of work. As well as collating the “most exciting job opportunities in the world” they now run a range of community programmes and have huge ambitions to grow into a global brand.
Escape is a purpose-driven brand with a proven track record and a huge community of committed advocates, but their branding was holding them back. To establish their position as a global authority and achieve their bold ambitions they needed to inject some fresh creativity into the brand and reassert their philosophy through all their communications.
Having spent time with the team in workshops and at their Tribes and Mondays events, it soon became clear that a standard corporate identity system wouldn’t do.
Our solution needed to reflect their firm anti-corporate principles, community vision, and DIY ethos. And because their brand is about action not perfection, it had to be practical, gettable and deliverable — the polar opposite of the precious, pretentious, and parody-worth rebrand projects we’ve all seen so many of.
Escape the City is a people-powered movement, not a profit-driven corporation. So we ripped up the corporate identity rulebook; choosing inconsistency, flexibility and freedom rather than enslaving ourselves to strict rules about grids, logo sizes or geometric consistency.
We kept their original ‘ESC key’ logo concept, but gave it a fresh look and an all-important twist. By outlining the key we’ve turned it into a frame — a flexible graphic device we can use to house the amazing stories in their community and focus on what people can escape to, not what they’re escaping from.
Inspired by the protest stencils of global grassroots movements, the whole visual identity is designed to be handmade. Keeping things unpolished, inconsistent and not too perfect reflects Escape’s experimental DIY ethos and empowers their global community to shape the direction of the brand.
Although DIY-inspired, our approach to the brand identity was always digital-first. We redesigned their core web experience, rolling out the new handmade graphic styling across the Escape the City site as well as simplifying complex job search functionality.
Escape the City started as a jobs board for ‘the most interesting jobs in the world’. But today they do so much more. Our new sub-branding system brings some much needed consistency to their product range, enabling them to promote their core Opportunities and Tribes products far more effectively.