OVO: A TOTAL BRAND REFRESH

OVO was four years old when I joined, and was growing rapidly. Stephen Fitzpatrick, the CEO of OVO decided it was time for the brand to grow up. It was previously very playful - inspired by Innocent Smoothies -  with a website and branding thrown together on a shoestring budget. 

LET THE MAGIC BEGIN

I will be honest here - I can't for the life of me remember who designed the new logo for OVO Energy. It was an external agency. They also produced a set of colourways and some imagery recommendations which we quickly discarded, after a user testing panel revealed that people felt it looked like branding for a funeral home (harsh! but entirely fair).

 

We kept the logo shape, and edited it slightly to make it better balanced, but as far as the brand went, we basically binned everything else they had sent us and started from scratch.

 

Fabula worked with us on the campaign which was to be released in conjunction with the live release of the rebrand on Valentines Day. The senior designer (my boss & the only other designer in the company!) was out of the office focussing on filming TV ads, so I was largely left to my own devices to brand OVO. It was a huge responsibility, mildly terrifying, utterly exhausting and a bloody brilliant challenge! I think I work best under pressure.

 

There was a LOT to get through and came with a lot of challenges. I spent weeks researching and compiling an entirely different colour panel, seasonal based images, image grading styles and illustrations to inject personality and fun back into the brand. 'Natural' was the key word I had to go on from the CEO, so I focussed on building a brand that felt open, sophisticated and like a breath of fresh air, but also trying to maintain the sense of fun the original brand had, through using illustrations. I'm pretty proud of what we achieved, and how much we pushed the boundaries of what was expected from an energy company brand. It was also a bit of a cat and mouse game as other companies started to emulate us! (imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right?) so we were kept on our toes always striving to be better and out-brand them.

The biggest challenge of the entire rebrand was getting a green that everyone was happy with and which showed up as consistently as possible across all screens and print. When we set up a relationship with a printer, we had to do a bunch of print tests to ensure what came out on paper was the same as what came out on screen. It was an absolute nightmare, but we got there in the end. 

I wrote the brand guidelines out of desperation over a weekend, because there was so much work to do and just me doing most of it. More and more projects were being started such as communities and foundation, so we were getting some freelancers in to help out. I made the guidelines as clear and comprehensive as possible so there was no margin for confusion or error. Also having guidelines meant less of my time was needed to get freelancers up to speed by  explaining the minutiae; and pre-empted a lot of questions and inevitable feedback corrections for agencies. We won some brand awards too so I think we did alright!

As part of setting up the relationship with a printer, the environmental impact we had was incredibly important to me personally, and a value shared by the company. We interviewed a lot of printers until we found one that satisfied us both in terms of quality and environmental practises. We could finally put stamps on the back of our published materials that stated it was both FSC and certified carbon neutral and recyclable! There is so much waste and pollution that goes into printing  that this is one of the things I, as a shameless hippy, am the most proud of having achieved at OVO.

© TASH PAGE 2019