Arnold Clark’s Radical Move Paid Off – Logo Critique
Cast your mind back to 2015.
NASA scientists confirmed the presence of water on Mars. Billions of fans were turning out to see ‘The Force Awakens’, Disney’s much anticipated take on the Star Wars franchise.
Meanwhile the hard working folk at Arnold Clark were preparing to unveil something truly bold and dangerous.
Starting from their head office in Hillington, Glasgow, they gradually replaced their iconic blue and gold logo with a brand new design.
A bold move for any organisation.
For one as well known as Arnold Clark this was a critical moment.
What went wrong?
The classic blue and gold logo had 3 major flaws:
- Blue and gold stood out but didn’t play nicely with other elements
- The red .com emblem became irrelevant, it began to compete with the rest of the logo rather than enhance it
- Going wild with Photoshop Bevel, Gradient and Border effects looked cool once, but now these styles had begun to look dated
5 Things that made the difference
A mammoth task was looming over the Arnold Clark design team.
How could they maintain the essence of their renowned brand whilst creating something fresh and contemporary?
Here’s what they did.
Smoothed out edges
They introduced smoothed edges to the letters creating a softer, friendlier feel to the logo.
Sharp edges can be perceived as harsh uninviting. Too many curves can make a logo overly playful and casual, not what you want in a reputable motor dealer.
Arnold Clark got the balance just right.
Next a subtle but crucial change. The team deepened the counters (the space inside the letters, like O) and the kerning (the space between the letters).
This clearly defined each letter making it easier for the eye to identify even at really small sizes.
It also made it easier for those with visual impairments to read.
The words ‘Arnold’ and ‘Clark’ were harmonised by reducing the leading (space between lines of type) to create more unified look.
Drastic simplification was employed by removing any unnecessary elements like the Photoshop effects and .com emblem mentioned earlier.
The logo was brought down to a single colour allowing it to work in a variety of contexts.
And the most ground breaking move of all…
Arnold Clark exercised restraint.
Unlike many organisations they successfully fought against the overwhelming urge to make radical changes that would alienate their loyal customers.
The Italic style emphasising speed and efficiency was kept. So was the bold font face highlighting permanence and stability. These key elements tie the brand back to it’s roots.
2015, a good year for Arnold Clark
Arnold Clark successfully redesigned and rolled out their new logo, they made intelligent choices reflecting good judgment and design principles. 2015 was indeed a very good year for Arnold Clark, the rebrand has been part of their continued success as their continued growth clearly shows…
2016 – £3.7BN
2015 – £3.35BN
2017 – £3.9BN