Thisaway’s future-facing rebrand of Brentford FC reflects the dynamism of the club’s new era
The rebrand is inspired by the bee in the club’s crest, transitioning it from down-to-earth to confident and ambitious.
- Ruby Boddington
- 11 September 2020
- Reading Time
- 3 minute read
London-based branding agency Thisaway is next in line to take on many a graphic designer’s dream brief: rebranding a football club. It’s a particularly intriguing one as well, as it sees the agency refreshing the look of Brentford FC, a team going through the most exciting period in its history to date. “At the dawn of a new era, it was time to evolve the club’s brand and align it with their ambitious mindset,” Thisaway explains.
Graeme Cook, the agency’s founder, spoke to us about the rebrand, touching on what has brought Brentford attention in recent years. He describes them as a football club “that truly does things differently,” explaining that “Over the past five years, the club has made some bold decisions that fly in the face of common footballing wisdom.” This has included the appointment of two directors of football from very different backgrounds and the closure of its academy “in favour of a unique B-Team model”.
Despite this unusual approach, these decisions have proved very successful, and its “focus on identifying and developing young players from the lower leagues and from Europe has reaped huge profits.” The team is also headed to a new stadium in the new season too.
In turn, the new identity aims to mirror this innovative approach and the entire system is pinned to, and inspired by, the bee in Brentford’s crest. With the team having just missed out on a Premier League spot as well, everything has been dialled up somewhat, to reflect its ambition and confidence and to make it more future-focussed; while still respecting its past. “While the club will never forget where they’ve come from, tomorrow has never been more exciting,” the Thisaway case study outlines.
Thisaway’s approach was therefore to “transition the brand from its more humble, down-to-earth roots, into the confident, modern, dynamic, challenger brand it is today,” Graeme explains. “At the heart of this was the new brand idea of ‘Forward Thinking Football’, a progressive philosophy that encourages innovation across the entire club, and one that looks towards an exciting future. We wanted to capture the dynamism and innovation of this idea in the new identity.”
Taking inspiration from the Brentford bee, the agency developed a series of patterns inspired by the bee's wings, sting and stripes. Each has the flexibility to be used in a number of ways, “and almost feel futuristic,” Graeme adds. These patterns can be combined, too, in a clever element Thisaway has dubbed “the swarm”, which acts as a motion principle to showcase graphic elements and transition between messaging. “We also developed the colour palette to give the brand more sophistication and confidence. Combining these elements with our bespoke typeface, Sting, gives the brand a much more cohesive feel,” the founder continues.
Sting is a typeface which tries to stand out among a homogenised space; “Looking around the world of football and sports brands you see a lot of bold and condensed typefaces.” Again, the bee was the starting point and, working with Marc Rouault, Thisaway developed a modern and elegant typeface. “We gave each character sharp details, reflecting the angles of the bee within the crest whilst also giving the type an insect-like quality,” Graeme tells us. “We also tried to make the counters and negative spaces within the characters feel like the sting of the bee.” Continuing the identity’s flexibility, Sting is available in three weights to ensure it can work across the brand’s multiple touch points.
GalleryThisaway: Brentford Football Club rebrand (Copyright © Thisaway, 2020)
Thisaway: Brentford Football Club rebrand (Copyright © Thisaway, 2020)
About the Author
Ruby joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in September 2017 after graduating from the Graphic Communication Design course at Central Saint Martins. In April 2018, she became a staff writer and in August 2019, she was made associate editor. Get in contact with Ruby about ideas you may have for long-form stories on the site.