To better present its mission, Black Mums Upfront gets a brand refresh from Wieden+Kennedy London
BMU is a collective of four Black mothers who aim to make motherhood feel more inclusive. In need of an identity update, the all-female team crafted a custom logo, motion design and photography.
- Ayla Angelos
- 3 June 2021
Black Mums Upfront (BMU) is a collective of four Black mothers with an aim to change the narrative of Black motherhood. Through shared stories and experiences, the collective both supports and empowers women, not to mention challenges the racial stereotypes of motherhood so that it can feel more inclusive. To better represent its mission, Wieden+Kennedy London has given the collective a rebrand, which includes a custom logo, motion design and photography shot in-house by Sof Vujanic, and with production help from Ardith Birchall and Jade Lamb, all of which has been crafted by an all-female team.
“Black Mums Upfront is a collective of four mums – Endy, Nana-Adwoa, Natalie, and Carina – who are on a mission to bring black mums into the conversation and make them feel seen, heard, understood and supported,” Jaclyn Hudson, senior designer at Wieden+Kennedy London, tells It’s Nice That. “One of my favourite slides from when Alex and I were briefed was on their tone of voice, written by BMU, which read: ‘Black Mums Upfront is the tell-it-how-it-is friend, the spiritual guide, the fun and feisty friend. The ‘omg that’s me’ friend, the ‘I’m glad someone said it’ friend, the ‘wow, you said that on air’ friend.’ I read it and knew the identity had to be vibrant and punchy to help propel their voices and personalities.”
With this in mind, the identity has been ideated through three brand principles: “Real, Unapologetic and Energy”, explains Alex Thursby-Pelham, lead designer at Wieden+Kennedy. “At every stage of the design journey, we made sure that all aesthetic decisions laddered back to these principles.” The collective also features predominantly online, meaning that the team needed to think about how the identity could be animated from the get-go. The solution was to create a custom logotype, “not only so Black Mums Upfront had something that was completely bespoke,” adds Alex, “but because we knew that we’d have more technical control over the type if it was designed with motion in mind. Once we’d landed on the look and feel of the logo, the rest of the system evolved from there.” Additionally, the primary typeface used is GT America, “a bold and unapologetic typeface that suits a bold, unapologetic collective,” says Jaclyn.
After an audit of brands in similar fields, the team noticed how there were many identities with “quite subdued and quite tonal” colour palettes, explains Alex. So when it came to choosing the hues for BMU, the team opted for vibrancy to reflect the collective’s energetic nature. “Each of the women bring such a unique personality to the table,” adds Jaclyn, “but there’s a clear spirit that binds them together. We wanted to mimic this idea of coming together by blending the colours into gradients in the same upwards direction of the logo.”
The lively colour palettes are paired with portraits from the BMU team, which were shot in various London locations that were meaningful to BMU, “like the Black Cultural Archives and we steered clear of anywhere overly gentrified like specific parts of Brixton market that stood for what the women didn’t support,” says Jaclyn. “The main thing was letting the women be themselves and capturing them in a natural and not overly composed way, which Sof did an amazing job at.”
The result is a bespoke identity crafted for a collective that strives to make a difference. “That most important thing to us at the end of the day was that BMU felt that the brand was representative of who they are and did them justice,” says Alex. “Initially we were just briefed to design a logo, but after talking with BMU, we pushed to develop a visual system for them too, to really help the brand progress.”
GalleryBlack Mums Upfront: Identity designed by Wieden+Kennedy London (Copyright © Black Mums Upfront, 2021)
Black Mums Upfront: Identity designed by Wieden+Kennedy London (Copyright © Black Mums Upfront, 2021)
About the Author
Ayla is a London-based freelance writer, editor and consultant specialising in art, photography, design and culture. After joining It’s Nice That in 2017 as editorial assistant, she was interim online editor in 2022/2023 and continues to work with us on a freelance basis. She has written for i-D, Dazed, AnOther, WePresent, Port, Elephant and more, and she is also the managing editor of design magazine Anima.