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

ROAR

Contributed by Sanj Sahota of Birmingham-based ORB.

ROAR identity

The client came to ORB with the task of wanting to create an identity and brand that would allow them to achieve credibility as a start-up. As a communications provider they would be going up against BT and other established suppliers for large contracts and as a result needed an identity that would set them apart from their competitors. The client wanted to show off their local roots and not to try and make out as if they were an international company, one that could communicate with clients and provide a very honest service on a one to one level.

The process and idea

The process started off with an ORB drawing board session with the client. This is a process that allows us to really get under the skin of the client, to understand their aims, who they are and what makes them tick and it allows us to create a real brief to work from. The results of the session revealed a lot of polar opposites that exist in harmony about what the client wanted from the brand and identity. After a large amount of research and brainstorming, it came down to the concept of the “mouse that roars” which summed up the client attitude, personality and their position in their industry perfectly. The little guy with a big voice.

The name ROAR is one that everyone fell in love with from the very off, one that really worked with the communications industry they exist in. From the research and brainstorming sessions, also came the direction for the logo, wanting to go with something a lot more natural which was a massive contrast to the clients competitors. A fair bit of time was spent playing with Indian ink to find and create the logo, with the whole team getting involved. The style of the logo evolved over the time, going from something very ‘aggressive’ to something softer that was a contrast to the new name.

ROAR identity

ROAR identity

ROAR identity

ROAR identity

The visual identity and video

Photography has been used throughout the identity to support the logo. We ended up with the idea of using real portraits of animals to reinforce the message, rather than using animals that would traditionally roar (which would have been rather obvious) we decided to use farmyard animals that wouldn’t ever roar but would still be keeping in with the spirit of the brand. The photography was shot in one place and on location with Terry the cock, Daphne the goat, Scooter the Jack Russell, Lillie and Ellie the ducks, and a pair of chicks.

ROAR identity

ROAR identity

ROAR identity

ROAR identity

ROAR identity

To celebrate the launch of ROAR we were also tasked with helping to create a video that would explain who the client was and what the company did. You can see behind the scenes and the final video below.

We came up with the concept, helped with the art direction, and brought in the model Ricki Hall to help present the video — his beard, black country accent, and epic amount of tattoos helped to create a focal point.

ROAR identity

It’s been a real labour of love for us at ORB, one that had us stick to our guns on a number of occasions as the concept wasn’t easily palatable by the client, but our belief and absolute conviction really left them with no other choice but to join us on this little adventure — one that has really been embraced by the client and their customers.

ROAR identity

ROAR identity

View more brand identity work on the ORB website. Follow ORB on Twitter.

20 much appreciated comments about “ROAR”

  1. Thanks for sharing this guys, really, really, really appreciated!

  2. Ok personal opinion here. To me ‘Roar’ has quite aggressive connotations. Not a fan of the typography. Photography looks good however for a communications company to use imagery of a chicken, a dog and a duck…… I for one am not Doctor Do little and cannot walk and talk with the animals.

  3. Wow. Well, it is different, and I love the name though I find the logo a little forgettable. The system will be a nice addition to the designers’ portfolios, but will it serve its owners as well? Maybe I’m antiquated, but I just can’t see this resonating with b2b buyers of telephony services.

  4. Not sure what I think of this. I appreciate trying to push things but I don’t really understand what this accomplishes. It’s not very memorable—the logo, type, colours, imagery all feel very unrefined and not thought out. The images are especially a bit of a let down. I feel like you could have just gone on istockphoto and gotten similar photos.

    I hate sounding like a hater. I appreciate the effort but feel like it didn’t get pushed nearly hard enough. Who knows, could have been diluted by the client for all I know…

  5. This is a nice writeup and I like the photos. But I also share johnsonstarfish’s questions. I see some mis-alignment between the quite corporate self description of being “a one-stop-shop provider of telecommunications to businesses” and the artsy and ironic slogan in combination with the photos and the logo. Text next to animal photos on the website has some shadows that makes it appear a bit grungy. The photos in combination with a more conventional and rigid typography might have resulted in a better balance for me. (I was reminded of Paul Rand’s Eye-Bee-M poster that struck a balance between irony and corporate identity.)

  6. Sadly, I agree with the above comments. A bit of a miss for me…

  7. I agree this is also a bit — perhaps way off target.

    This would’ve made perfect sense for a social media marketing company but don’t believe chickens and small dogs (albeit a tenacious little dog) portray the sense of robustness a telecommunications provider would need to convey.

  8. “one that had us stick to our guns on a number of occasions as the concept wasn’t easily palatable by the client, ”

    This sums up the identity to me, which comes across as a little self-indulgent.

  9. Sorry, but it’s another that feels more like a campaign than a brand identity. It seems to pose more questions than it answers. Why was the old name (Glide) dropped? Roar sounds a tad confrontational and the constant capitalization feels like shouting.

    Why were the first logo experiments in Indian ink? Is there a connection I’m too dim too notice?

    There have been mentions of hipster design here recently and I think this is also an example. I’m not against hipster design, but does it appeal to the target market? Do businesses want their communications providers to be cool and ironic, or reliable and efficient?

    Does the company intend to stay small? Given the latest incarnation and expansion it would seem they’re ambitious and have further plans for expansion, although I may be completely wrong. If there are expansion plans, this identity may have a short lifespan.

    The animals are cute and the model is handsome and rugged, but what does it tell me about the brand? If I saw the logotype and pictures – as nice as they are – I wouldn’t have a clue what the company did. Even after reading, I’m still not really sure why I would choose them over the likes of BT.

    As a launch campaign I could see it working. It’s cheeky, artistic, different, and would probably attract attention. As a brand identity, however, I see it having trouble sustaining that attention unless there is a niche market in mind. Like Wayne, the fact that the identity wasn’t ‘easily palatable’ has alarm bells ringing.

  10. Thanks for your comments, and understand and appreciate your thoughts.

    We went through a drawing board session with the client, which identified the personality and attitude of their company and it became very apparent that they were nothing like their competitors. They had a different attitude, mindset and approach to what they do for their clients compared to what is the norm and so didn’t want to stand along side them, but apart.

    Since they are new to this industry but experienced in business, we wanted to get the attitude and concept of ‘the mouse that roared’ across in how they presented themselves to their clients as well as stand apart from their competitors. Hence the name ‘Roar’ to reflect their communications background, the logo has been designed the way it looks to contrast with the aggressive connotations of having such a name. We looked at potential competitors and the majority of them came back looking like http://www.gradwell.com/ and http://www.voipfone.co.uk/ The exploration of the logo and name took us along the route of using indian inks rather than trying to use something “clinical” like everyone else in the market, (it’s full of web 2.0 style identities etc) The final logo still uses indian inks, but isn’t as aggressive as the some of the other logo’s we explored. The use of ‘timid’ animals as part of their visual identity, to add an extra layer to what they are all about.

    ‘Glide’ as a name hasn’t been dropped it’s another company owned by the client which deals with Student bills and they needed something to act as a differentiator. Hence why we came up with ‘ROAR’ as a name.

    In regards to expansion, we don’t see that as a problem, going from county, to county, state to state and country to country, a targeted campaign could be rolled out quite easily. For example, if you go to a small city like Derby, where they have a Sheep/Ram as a City symbol, the visual identity could use that animal as a way to create a local connection. If you took it to austrailia, there’s no reason why a Koala bear or Wallaby could be used as the ‘mouse that roars’

    We realise that it won’t be to everyones taste and that when it comes to designers, we’re a hard bunch of people to please, but we’re proud of what we managed to achieve in the time and budget we had to work with and we realise that we all look at projects in a subjective way and have different ideas on how things can be executed and brought to life. It may not be perfect, but we’re learning all the time and will be taking these criticisms on board and hopefully try and apply them to future work.

  11. Sanj – Really good of you to come back and offer your thoughts. The extra context is very informative and helpful. I hope you don’t think that my comments were intended to be completely negative, and it doesn’t seem as if that’s the way you’ve taken them.

    Best wishes for the holidays.

  12. I love the approach…
    The farm animals help to keep it friendly, trustful and welcoming.
    I can see a lot of guys here not ready to leave the “blue and grey” layouts.

    Nice one, ORB.

  13. Outstanding! Love the font, the concept, the imagery… everything. Don’t listen to those other folks… they must be jealous. Keep doing what you are doing. Redundantly, I must say… OUTSTANDING!

  14. Dear Kelli, how is disagreeing with an identity a sign of jealousy? Like the other people before me I found the logo styling and photography not to jive well with the concept of b2b telephony.

    I think the brand could have easily been approached by using that model and exploring the contrast of those tattoos and three-piece suit in various directions. The farm animals only serve to reinforce my feeling of not being a serious enough company for my b2b needs.

    Designers and companies can think all they want, but I agree with Marty Neumeier’s The Brand Gap presentation that a brand in this day and age is what people (consumers) say it is.

  15. Unfortunately you have completely lost the (sound) original concept so that it no longer makes sense. What happened to the mouse?

  16. Consider reading the “The Four Agreements”, as my response to your frist sentence.

    Opinions vary, thankfully. And fortunately we can agree to disagree.

    The campaign is fun and brilliant. And I love it more and more, every time I see it…especially the Rooster.

    I, as a consumer, in this day and age …. say it is.

    Bonne Annee!

  17. I like it very much. It’s honest, unique, very different.

  18. Even though ROAR is a communication company using farm animals to portray their concept, I think this works as a benefit to the company. Not only does it grab people’s attention, but it forces them to be engaged and learn more about what this company is all about.

    In today’s age where many companies have the same “cookie-cutter” approach when it comes to their branding, ROAR seems to understand that their target market wants something a little different.

    Overall, different but in a good way.

  19. I’m assuming that when this says birmingham based ORB this implies UK? In which case you may not be aware of the expansive advertising campaign in Canada for Telus (another communications company) which consists of various animals also on white backgrounds. Although the typographical logo is unique the photographic elements look almost identical.

  20. I dont think branding has to be obvious to work. The major problem I have with this, is the execution of the video. Why would you pick a model instead of an actor? He mumbles, and has no body awareness… and the whole video is plainly boring.

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