Inspired by grime and films like Moonlight, Templo rebrands UD to reflect Black music culture today

As UD relaunches with a state-of-the-art music hub unveiled by Sadiq Khan, Templo brings the brand forward, implementing a new name and bridging logo.

5 July 2022

Today (5 July) marks the start of a fresh look for UD, the London-based music organisation bringing communities together around Black music. UD is announcing its rebrand, delivered by Templo, with the launch of the Talent House, a new state-of-the-art music and dance building unveiled by Sadiq Khan in Stratford. For 20 years, UD has been integral to nurturing Black talent and bridging gaps in the industry, yet its “visual identity was from another era; it was static, dated and clunky,” says Templo in a release. In particular, Templo outlines, “its old name ‘urban development’, had to be changed”.

“We immediately honed in on the name,” Pali Palavathanan, Templo co-founder tells us, “which included the word ‘urban’ – a loaded term with negative connotations used as a lazy catchall to reference culture and race.” This renaming was core to the brief from UD (which now stands for United Development). With the brand beginning work with Templo in the wake of George Floyd’s murder and the “#BlackOutTuesday Instagram fad”, says Pali, this re-evaluation was reflected beyond even the crucial renaming. Pali says: “This was a precious opportunity to readdress some of the preconceptions about Black music culture and what POC want and need to see in brands that represent them.”

This drive, to allow audiences to see themselves in the brand, is incorporated throughout; Templo conducted interviews with young talent during development and created Instagram filters in a launch campaign that embodied their music.


Templo: UD (Copyright © Templo, 2022)

A new logo is one of the standout moments of the work. Replicating a soundwave, an undulating line connects the ‘U’ and ‘D’ in the wordmark and acts as a bridge. The studio explains that the soundwave echoes how UD acts as a link, connecting “talent from deprived areas of London to the music industry”. This soundwave is interwoven across the brand in creative ways, such as typographic inserts, bespoke icons and 3D designs over photography. It even crops up in the Talent House’s physical space and within UX as a digital and physical wayfinding device, adding flourishes to arrows.

To deliver the work, the studio says many influences played a part, listing its love of grime, hip hop, Black comedians, and movies such as Moonlight as cultural cornerstones that shaped its thinking.

Beginning the work at a conjecture when authenticity in representative branding was (and still is) lacking, Pali adds having a diverse team in the studio helped to push the approach of the UD rebrand in “an authentic direction”. “As a POC, I’m reminded on a daily basis of how Black and Brown skin is portrayed in marketing and advertising to either score cheap PR points or as an afterthought to tick a box.” For Templo, the work often included drawing on “our cultural heritage and experiences of growing up on council estates. It helped us get the tone right from the outset.”

GalleryTemplo: UD (Copyright © Templo, 2022)

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Templo: UD (Copyright © Templo, 2022)

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About the Author

Liz Gorny

Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. In January 2023, they became associate editor, predominantly working on partnership projects and contributing long-form pieces to It’s Nice That. Contact them about potential partnerships or story leads.

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