News / Graphic Design

New Mother identity places the idea of family at its heart



For Mother, all roads lead back to the kitchen table – or at least the family gathered around it. So say Peter Robertson and Susan Hosking, the creative agency’s two international executive creative directors. They are talking about the company’s rebrand, which has seen the agency adopt what it calls “clan-thinking” to redevelop the brand into a universal language of family and home, using tartan.

The branding has its history firmly rooted in the tartan that formed the basis of the design identity 14 years ago. Now, in a moment of global connection, offices across the world are using the colour of their tartan to geographically map their current place. Each office will feature a “mother tartan” with unique colour variations. These include the London office incorporating the nation state’s red, white and blue and Shanghai’s office featuring what Peter calls the “reds of old and new China, and grey skies of pollution of Shanghai”. The LA office gets a tartan featuring different shades of blues that were “taken on an iPhone outside the office which captured all the Pantones of the blues”, and Madre will communicate what the agency calls “a south American flamboyant vibe” incorporating the spirit of carnival compressed into straight lines for the offices across Latin America and Spanish-speaking countries.

Despite not having roots in Scotland, Peter tells It’s Nice That: “It was important to link up the offices and network now as we have a new office in Shanghai. We didn’t want to throw the heritage that we already had because we loved the idea of being like a clan or family but wanted to reinvent it into a modern interpretation. What we’ve loved about the concept is that every office has been able to reinterpret it with their own take so it feels like shared ownership as opposed to rolling out a look and feel.”

Susan says: “It felt like something we could borrow from and make our own with contemporary colours. Especially as moving forward we are increasingly pitching a global network so it’s important to look like we’re coming from the same place and want to share our global values: to make the best work possible, to have fun doing that and to make a living, not a killing.”

The rebrands also feature depictions of Alfie and Stanley, the agency’s dogs, who, according to Peter, have always been part of the furniture. “Mother’s always had dogs in the agency and we had two dogs that came every day,” he says, “and we loved the idea of seeing them fighting over one bone as a sort of symbolism for fighting over the best work.”

The rebrand aims to create the idea of utopian familial working relationships – so much so that both Peter and Susan shudder at a question about which their favourite identity is, giving us a very diplomatic (and parental) answer: “Favourite? We can’t do favourites!”