The Co-op has returned to its old “clover leaf” logo, originally designed in 1968, as part of a major rebrand. The company worked with agency North to “reboot” the branding, which Ben Terrett, Co-op’s group design director, says had become “confused and too corporate.” North pitched the idea of returning to the classic logo, and for the relaunch has created a punchy set of photographs showing it used on food packaging, shop fronts, uniforms and bags. The identity uses a more vibrant, lighter blue than the darker scheme of the previous branding.
“We thought, let’s not invent something new when there’s a perfectly good logo here,” says Ben. “It’s a plain English approach. This logo is simple and memorable, there’s nothing fancy about it. It’s practical and it will tie everything together, as well as working brilliantly across digital, which we’re developing.”
The original logo first appeared in 1968 and the group has taken on a few identities since, including the most recent navy blue “The co-operative” logo, adopted in 2005, which was perceived as too corporate to represent the group’s local, people-focused image. Returning to the old logo “evokes nostalgic memories of local shops and dividend stamps” says the company “while to younger generations it suggests a modern brand of the future.”
North’s founding partner Sean Perkins says: “Returning to the familiar can be a radical act, but it is the timeless quality of this iconic logo that makes such a move possible – it is distinct, recognisable, approachable, and dynamic, giving us the opportunity to signal a shift back to the ideas that made the Co-op special for its customers.”
The “retro-brand” marks the consumer cooperative’s announcement that it will introduce new membership benefits, which will see the group give £100m a year to its members. Co-op’s members (which own the company, instead of shareholders) will get money back from buying own-brand goods, while some money will go into the community. This is part of a “Back to being Co-op” story being introduced across the business.
The Co-op will rebrand over 500 stores and 250 funeral care homes this year, and the new look will be rolled out to the whole group by May 2019.