DixonBaxi creates new design system for Hulu led by four design principles

Leaving its recognisable word mark untouched, DixonBaxi collaborates with Hulu to create a new cohesive, meaningful design system for the streaming platform.

6 April 2021

London-based design studio DixonBaxi has created a new brand design for US streaming platform, Hulu. With over 39.4 million subscribers in the US, the platform has grown extensively over the past few years. Its partnership with DixonBaxi mirrors this, realigning and reimagining the brand. “The new design unifies the Hulu experience like never before with a brand system born from the origins of its name,” reads a release from DixonBaxi. “We call this ‘One Hulu’.”

To instigate this change, DixonBaxi, in close collaboration with Hulu’s brand, product, campaign and strategy teams, create four global design principles to lead the work. The first principle, “always a story” reflects the actual product Hulu presents in its storytelling, followed by a want to “do it different” as the brand does in its original commissioning. A sense of character is then pin pointed in the third and fourth principles of “simply essential” and “delightfully human”. With these principles aligning the teams, the major factor in this new brand design is a visual system for the Hulu teams to adopt going forward.

This design system, named by the teams as the “Vessel”, creates an ever growing framework for Hulu’s teams to guide and talk about the work, as well as market it cohesively in creative campaigns. There are noticeable design details within the Vessel which immediately present this change, such as a focus on Hulu’s distinct green brand colour which now “creates ownership and punctuates stories,” explains the release. To uniquely raise Hulu’s voice further, the brand identity has been streamlined to just one typeface across the entire Hulu experience; adopting Graphik across the platform and promotional material to bring “character swagger and style.”

These visual elements are then drummed up further in a new tone of voice for the brand, described as featuring “punchy headlines that make people think twice, as much being friendly and fun telling people what they need to know,” soon to be seen across a series of major out-of-home campaigns across the US.

All of these considerations and changes live under this design system of the Vessel, a process actually derived from the Hulu name. Built from the understanding that the Hulu logo may have already had strong equity “but needed more meaning”, the team first looked into the Hulu name itself. “Research led us to uncover the origins of the name, an ancient Chinese proverb that describes Hulu as a ‘goard’ – the ‘holder of precious things’.” With this in mind, the teams then built a visual framework from the shape of the ‘U’ in Hulu’s logo, although as DixonBaxi’s design director Astrid D’Hondt tell It’s Nice That: “The Vessel is much more than a graphic device, it’s a design language threaded through every aspect of the Hulu experience.”

An “infinitely adaptive design and narrative system” the Vessel can hold content, work as a guide for the product and as “a way for Hulu to express itself,” continues D’Hondt. “You’ll see it everywhere, sometimes at full volume and at others, much more discreet.”

By identifying that the Hulu word mark was already recognisable amongst audiences, DixonBaxi’s approach realigns the tone of voice and multiple outputs of the brand, without touching its logo. “The biggest change to the Hulu brand is that it is now unified across brand, product and marketing,” adds to D’Hondt. “The entire consumer experience is more cohesive visually, in motion and with its voice.”

GalleryDixonBaxi: Hulu (Copyright © DixonBaxi, 2021)

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About the Author

Lucy Bourton

Lucy (she/her) is the senior editor at Insights, a research-driven department with It's Nice That. Get in contact with her for potential Insights collaborations or to discuss Insights' fortnightly column, POV. Lucy has been a part of the team at It's Nice That since 2016, first joining as a staff writer after graduating from Chelsea College of Art with a degree in Graphic Design Communication.


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