P.F. Flyers plants its feet back on nostalgic ground with new brand identity

After a previous rebrand fell flat, Bokeh was drafted in to revamp the footwear brand’s visual identity, which now draws from the company’s roots.

15 May 2024

If you’re a millennial, you may have some lasting nostalgia for the American footwear brand P.F. Flyers, which made a star appearance in the 1993 coming-of-age baseball film, The Sandlot. It’s exactly this feeling that creative agency Bokeh wanted to tap into to completely remodel P.F. Flyers’ brand identity. With a mission to reconnect the brand with its American history and original ideals, Bokeh overhauled the company’s visual identity with hopes to connect with a new generation of consumers, whilst signalling back to its heritage and past.

For the visual identity, Bokeh’s executive creative director, Doug Smith, guided the implementation of a new brand strategy around three core themes: of “comfort, freedom and fun” into the identity system, in collaboration with the team at Trackmeet design studio and social agency Camp Digital. Bokeh steered away from P.F. Flyers’ previous attempt to “reinvent itself as a fashion forward, style-first [...] challenger brand” which apparently had a profoundly negative impact on the company’s bottom line, says the press release. For the agency’s CEO David Bates, the former identity felt as if P.F. Flyers had attempted to build a relationship with a specific audience by “overtly signalling virtues the brand had no stake in”. Unlike competitor brands such as Vans or Converse, he felt that P.F. Flyers were yet to embrace their “own version of a counterculture narrative” and push their own “unapologetic individuality and creative expression” for a millennial or Gen Z audience.


Bokeh: PF Flyers (Copyright © Bokeh, 2024)

The focus for Bokeh has been to pull away from cliches and to instead dive back into the brand’s product, history and audience. This led the agency to develop a reworked design of the classic green circular badge logo, a P.F. Flyers vintage trademark. The Bokeh team recognised early on that they wanted “to reconnect the brand to its Boston green colour and the circular badge”, says David, going almost all-in on green in their new colour scheme.

Bokeh were struck by “the treasure trove of history” that they felt was left largely untapped. This prompted the agency to develop a library of illustrated badges to connect the footwear brands’ past with the present, expanding out from the logo design with imagery and illustrations loyal fans can easily identify. David says: “These badges could be applied as digital stickers, or embroidered as patches into the product which empowers consumers to personalise their shoes in their own way”.

A new functional and expressive typographic system has also been developed, serving as “an extension of the brand's personality”, says David. The primary sans serif typeface is Avantt – inspired by avant-garde art movements spanning from early 20th Century (as long as P.F. Flyers has been around) – finished with the use of the typeface Sign Painter with “a hand-painted humanity that reinforces realness and comfort”. Bokeh aims to tie in these ideas of familiarity with their use of typography. The agency also wants to tap into fond memories with its use of an old P.F. Flyers motto ‘Run faster, jump higher’.

By pulling design motifs from the past, Bokeh taps into the “perceived simplicity, comfort, and emotional safety of our childhood”, drawing on multiple points of the target audience’s nostalgia. The agency aims for the new visual identity for P.F. Flyers to modernise its messaging whilst “celebrating our history and moments we are most known for”, says Lisa Bagaco-Lewis, chief marketing officer at P.F. Flyers.

GalleryBokeh: P.F. Flyers (Copyright © Bokeh, 2024)

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Bokeh: PF Flyers (Copyright © Bokeh, 2024)

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About the Author

Ellis Tree

Ellis Tree (she/her) joined It’s Nice That as a junior writer in April 2024 after graduating from Kingston School of Art with a degree in Graphic Design. Across her research, writing and visual work she has a particular interest in printmaking, self-publishing and expanded approaches to photography.

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