CR Blog

Made in Britain's new logo

Posted by Rachael Steven, 7 January 2014, 18:02    Permalink    Comments (54)

The Partners has designed a new logo for Made in Britain – a national campaign promoting products manufactured in the UK. We asked design director Kevin Lan about the project.

Made in Britain was launched by Liverpool cooker manufacturer Stoves. The company ran a competition inviting students to design a marque that could be applied to its products to show they were made in the UK and later invited other companies to use the symbol.



The campaign has since re-launched as an independent organisation and the original logo – a red, white and blue ribbon/check mark by Nottingham student Cynthia Lee, above - has been replaced with a flexible and versatile design from The Partners.

The new logo is based on a quadrant of the Union flag and can be rotated to act as an arrow. It can be used independently or alongside the brand name, which can be placed over one line or two and positioned beside, above or below the symbol:

 

It’s designed to work in both large and small formats and on a variety of materials and products, says design director Kevin Lan.

“There are such a wide range of manufacturers in Britain – from artisan makers to large companies producing domestic appliances. We had to create something that would translate across those different industries and products and work in Britain and abroad,” he says.

 

 

The consultancy was keen to avoid designing a symbol that would look historic, says Lan – a decision that also informed the choice of logotype. “We looked at first at a German font but decided this wouldn’t be appropriate. We opted for Fontsmith’s FS Emeric in the end as it has the classic feel of a traditional British sans like Gill Sans but with some added modern features. It also works well with body copy for extended applications,” he adds.

As some designers have pointed out, the i’s in the words ‘in’ and ‘Britain’ are not aligned but Lan says this was a conscious decision to aid legibility.

“If you line them up it doesn’t make sense, particularly in smaller sizes – the I’s look like one line, or it breaks up the words so it looks like MADE IN BRITA IN or MADEIN/BRITAIN,” he explains. This will no doubt bother some but the logo’s flexible guidelines means users troubled by the kerning can place type across a single line or omit it altogether.

 

 

The Partners doesn’t have any immediate plans to design other collateral for Made in Britain but Lan says they would like to – he has already considered how it could be applied to textiles, ceramics and large scale installations at trade shows. He also hopes it can act as a subtle indicator on products – there is no fixed colour scheme so the logo can adopt the colours of host brands and products.

 

“We wanted to avoid implementing a fixed 'union jack' colour scheme as we were keen to create a logo that could work within someone else’s corporate identity,” he says. “It’s not a brand endorsement but a subtle, recognisable marque,” he says. “Some people might think it looks quite blunt but we’ve built in a lot of flexibility and are excited to see how people will use it in the future,” he adds.

Users of Stoves' marque have questioned the £100 annual fee to use the new symbol but the new scheme ensures that those using the marque will have provided evidence of UK manufacturing which is assessed and approved by a committee.

Designing a truly versatile logo with a universal appeal is a tricky task but The Partner’s design is strong, simple and effective – and one that looks just as at home on a set of speakers as it does on the leg of a chair.


54 Comments

Really like this - solid, flexible and practical. Nice to see the dreaded Union Jack being put to positive use.
Bill
2014-01-08 11:00:55


Is it just me, but in a lot of instances the (red) arrow is definitely pointing down. Is that a reflection of our manufacturing standards or simply the direction in which Britain's manufacturing industry is heading?
Red Snapper
2014-01-08 11:52:08


I have one small, very anal point to make... but for me it lets this down completely. Why is the word 'IN' not aligned to the letters 'I' and 'N' at the end of the word BRITAIN? It seems a pretty standard detail which has been missed.
Daniel
2014-01-08 11:52:56


@ Daniel
That point is specifically addressed in the 8th para of the story
CR PatrickBurgoyne
2014-01-08 11:58:41


First reaction, love it, its robustness and modern appeal..
I do admire its flexibility but wouldn't have the arrow appearing downwards to the right as this does suggest negativity. Not as apparent when downwards to the left.. The 'I's not aligned is a bit of an issue too.
Nik
2014-01-08 12:11:38


Images suggest it can be used with arrow pointing in any of the 4 directions. Presumably for flexibility. I just hope they mentioned something in the guidelines about preferring it pointing upwards, as their are definitely some negative associations with a down-right facing arrow!!
Steve Kirby
2014-01-08 12:42:55


Simple design that provides maximum usablilty, but arrow should be pointing up. Impression of the logo will be negative when the arrow points down. Classic mistake.
Ian
2014-01-08 12:49:42


Yea it's quite nice.

I think the explanation of the IN's not lining up is there retrospectively as I have no idea why you wouldn't line them up. If anything it draws your eyes to it.
Char
2014-01-08 13:20:32


I've always liked the 'Made in Britain' idea, but I never liked the original logo.
This one is much better, but, as with everyone else here, my first thought was 'The arrow is pointing down.'. It's just too negative, especially in these times of reducing rates of growth.
Flexibility is all well and good and, when appropriate, better than the stringent rules attached to many brands, but it does have to be appropriate, and here it just isn't.
As for aligning the 'I' and 'N', the designer in me says 'Yes', but the ordinary Joe in me says 'Most people won't notice.'.

And, what will they do when Scotland votes for independence?
Andi Rusyn
2014-01-08 14:11:14


@ PatrickBurgoyne

When was the original logo designed? Just curious to see if/how it's dated.

New one's pretty straightforward and gets the job well done in a 'BOSH: BRITAIN' kind of way (a very good thing). Would be interested to see if they pitched any more slightly out-there ideas. Like having the Queen personally sign everything on its' way out of the country or something.
Ed
2014-01-08 14:15:48


@ Ed

2011 according to our colleagues at Design Week:
http://www.designweek.co.uk/news/a-new-identity-for-made-in-britain-by-the-partners/3037748.article
CR PatrickBurgoyne
2014-01-08 14:21:55


Jesus. Thanks! Was expecting circa 1940...
Ed
2014-01-08 14:26:54


Is it just me or has the whole design been let down by the top I not being in line with the bottom I. It's all in the details. Otherwise a nice mark.
Simon Ford
2014-01-08 15:40:13


The lining up point is right, I'm sure: if you lined them up the INs would really stand out and it would read
MADE IN
BRITA IN
...which would be quite visually irritating.
Erika Clegg
2014-01-08 16:30:26


Love the logo, will be being for sure. I am 100% in favour of made in england products!
Amaury Baot
2014-01-08 18:11:00


Well done! The Design is very goog. Also the arrow pointing from the atlantic ocean to Great Britain.
Webdesign Freiburg
2014-01-08 22:12:00


Smart design solution with an idea and flexible in it's application possibilities. Well done!
Joost Roozekrans
2014-01-09 05:36:13


Like the new logo but surely the old one wasn't the best that was produced at the time?
Mark Ford
2014-01-09 07:23:25


Interestingly I don't see the arrow as pointing down, I see it as pointing to 'Britain'. I think the logo is flexible enough so that it can point in any direction, so really don't see this as an issue.
Simon Cotton
2014-01-09 08:35:29


The Union Flag was designed when England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland became the UK not Great Britain.Therefore it should not really be used as a symbol of Britain (which technically is only England and Wales), although it is now accepted as a general reference. (See link below).

Furthemore, It was developed with the lower white stripe of the upper left quadrant i.e. closest to the flag pole being thinner than the top white stripe. When the flag was hoisted upside down it became a distress signal or an insult to the crown, which still carries a penalty (at least theoretically). Setting the red stripe in the middle dumbs down the significance and our rich history, perhaps a sign of the times?

Ps, I do not read the Daily Mail!

Comments please.

http://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/blog/2011/08/whats-the-difference-between-uk-britain-and-british-isles/
Mark Jeater
2014-01-09 11:30:05


Very good!
Antonio Lobo
2014-01-09 12:12:01


A massive improvement and a nice simplified use of the Union jack arrow. I understand the point regarding legibility on the 'IN' but my immediate feeling is that if thats the case I would have made the misalignment more deliberate. Had it been kerned slightly by hand the mis-alignment could have been made more deliberate and thus less of a potential oversight. Overall nice work however.
Greig Anderson
2014-01-09 12:12:49


I don't think many people bother reading before commenting, do they. As it is, the non-alignment of the I's makes the logotype much more legible. If they were aligned, it would create an unwanted mark in itself. Not to say it makes it look great, but I prefer it this way.
Tom Lenartowicz
2014-01-09 12:17:02


There are several comments here about the alignment of the 'IN' and "IN", and an explanation of why they don't align in the blog post. However, I wonder if at any point anyone thought that maybe it wasn't the best idea to stack the words in this way, then the legibility issue wouldn't be an issue in the first place.

That said I think it works - the downward arrow doesn't imply negativity to me and the font choice is an excellent call. It would have been a real cop-out to have gone for something like Gill but Emeric has the right qualities combined with a more contemporary feel.

But as Andi Rusyn mentions earlier, what happens if Scotland votes for independence? Maybe it would have been prudent to stick with the old logo until that one has been decided.
Tony
2014-01-09 12:25:42


The first thing that came to mind with the arrow pointing down was not a negative connotation but rather that the product is made 'right here' on British soil. I like it.
Cinzia allocca
2014-01-09 12:38:00


The kerning is all over the place
Josef Müller-Brockmann
2014-01-09 12:45:10


In terms of the direction of the arrow, I think it is good that the design allows for flexibility so that this can be pointed in the direction that makes most sense in context. If it is placed over something or at the top of an object it should point down, not at fresh air. If it is placed underneath it should point up. Likewise left and right as needed. Surely that flexibility is a key point and strength of this identity?

Not convinced over the explanation for the non-aligning INs. I see that alignment could be an issue for just the reasons Kevin Lan describes. But on the clothes tag version it looks aligned (and would probably be forced to align if it were embroidered at that size) and it doest hit me as a massive issue. What's more is that non-alignment is also an issue and therefore not great as a solution. Could it be that neither works and an alternative approach should have been explored? Maybe it was but it would be interesting to see if/how they worked that process through and came to the non-alignment as the best solution.

As for the previous logo... Let's just say it does nothing to support the idea of design by competition. In fact it might be a great case study for the limitations of that approach.

The new version is very much stronger and more considered.
Robert
2014-01-09 12:46:47


Witty. Well done.
Thierry Brunfaut
2014-01-09 12:49:17


Don't agree with the 'IN' comments, think it actually let's the logo down and makes it look slightly amateur, shame because it finally seems like they have an effective and usable logo.
Jili Allen
2014-01-09 12:57:21


I like it, I think it is bold and strong and instantly recognisable. The font choice and colour in the original is spot on too. At first my thoughts were that the arrow is pointing down, which looked negative, and to the south east towards that London, which hasn't been mentioned in the comments until now. Was this a factor in the original design and the 'compromise' of three variants a cop out.

All for British producers and manufacturing here!
David
2014-01-09 12:58:16


The negative downward poiting arrow is funny (connotations of 'race to the bottom' econmics) but I also had an uneasy sense of this being like a neoliberal era swastika.
Ric
2014-01-09 13:15:17


It reminds me of the opening titles of Dad's Army.

As for the non-alignment of the i characters, we can continue the theme "Who do you think you are kidding Mr Lan?" – for the sake of legibility? I can smell a whiff of post-rationalisation.

Anyway, a logo does not always need to be legible in the way that a column of body text needs to be legible - most people don't read logos, they recognise them. Personally, I would have enjoyed the alignment more.

Plus, at the size of the clothes label, if it was rendered using embroidery, the miniscule difference will all but dissappear.

You could always have kerned the MADE a fraction tighter to open up the word space if that really was a problem. But then, if it had lined up would it have generated as much discussion?
Shaughn McGurk
2014-01-09 14:04:36


MADE IN BRITAN. A NATION IN DECLINE
B
2014-01-09 16:14:00


In the first instance I wasn't particularly impressed with the main logo - I've never been a fan of the Union Jack. However upon seeing the variety of ways it can be used as a marker or stamp on products I rather like it.
NewVisionMedia
2014-01-09 16:33:00


I agree with Red Snapper. In quite a lot examples the arrow is pointing down - which is not a very positive symbol. Generally, the idea of "Made in ..." carries an aura of yesterday ... an aura of an overcome industrial world.

Chael
2014-01-09 16:33:00


As others have pointed out, the arrow should definitely point upwards. It's a phalic thing I think... or am I not allowed to say that..?
Geoff
2014-01-09 16:54:50


In the first instance I wasn't particularly impressed with the main logo - I've never been a fan of the Union Jack. However upon seeing the variety of ways it can be used as a marker or stamp on products I rather like it.
NewVisionMedia
2014-01-09 17:15:19


Where do we apply for artwork to use? Thankfully in process of setting up new designs and want to see if it sits as well as our little flag. Louise@distinctivewash.co.uk if anyone knows 😉
Louise
2014-01-09 21:08:42


@PatrickBurgoyne

I'm not sure if it aides legibility, with very minor tweaks to the kerning of the other it would have solved the issue in my opinion.
Daniel
2014-01-09 22:14:46


Not digging that alignment and think it could have been aligned AND be legible. I was always taught to be dramatically out of alignment or in alignment - this is too close to be being aligned (yet not) to be awkward.
Dom
2014-01-09 22:59:47


I love this.
Ibraheem Youssef
2014-01-10 06:42:55


Absolutely spot on.
kirk
2014-01-10 08:29:56


From this American's view it works great. Very recognizable and iconic. Don't know much about the in's and out's of kerning, but it works. Looking forward to seeing stamped on items showing up on this side of the pond.
Wayne Henderson
2014-01-10 13:55:23


For anyone Scottish (and of a certain age!) this will be all too familiar as the main component of the Scottish Conservatives logo in the 1970s. See http://www.andrewcusack.com/scotory4.jpg. I think that's partly why anything involving the union flag brings some of us up here out in a bad rash!
Andy McGregor
2014-01-10 14:08:06


Regarding comments about the negative associations of an arrow pointing downwards. It's the first quadrant of the Union Jack, top left, so I personally don't see it as an arrow in conjunction with the type. It's great.
CraigG
2014-01-10 14:50:32


EXCELLENT - simple, intelligent and it works.
Jo-Anne Alvis
2014-01-10 15:34:56


Personally I perceive the arrow pointing down as "this", "here", rather than "that", "there". As in "this product is made in britain". I don't perceive it as negative. I like the logo and the "I" not aligned adds that subtle touch of quirkiness.
Stefano
2014-01-10 16:22:40


Looks like the designers may have been hanging out in River Island: http://www.riverisland.com/men/sale/bags--wallets/Red-Union-Jack-wallet-270242
David Heulun
2014-01-12 18:49:06


I love the flexibility of the direct of arrow and colours. I can see how pointing down could be perceived as negative, but it entirely depends on the context. If it is saying "here are the lovely British made things" I think it works. If not, point the arrow up at the lovely British made things!

I can totally see how lining up the 'I's would look wrong. Great work.
Ben
2014-01-15 16:08:03


I really look forward to this happening it is about time we have the best workforce in the world. i for one would prefer to buy British.
sharyn khan
2014-01-16 19:58:28


We have been using the existing swoosh since it was born. We apply it to our packaging, website, exhibition panels, all printed material, letterhead and business cards. This new version is great - very business like and strong. We rather urgently need a high res version to go onto our new Peezy pouch, which will be going all over the world from later this year . Who do I speak to about this please?
Giovanna Forte
2014-01-23 19:25:10


To me, it is a downwards pointing arrow, once the two sections are joined it becomes just a red and blue arrow, the two sections on the flag aren't joined.
Chris
2014-01-31 11:11:00


Late as usual! Firstly I'm not a designer, just someone who likes good design. TBH, I've never seen or noticed the old 'tick' version, and it looks 'weak' to me anyway. I like the new one. I didn't notice the alignment issue, but as the knitwear label seems to have solved the problem perhaps everyone should do what they did. Whatever it was. I also think the sans serif font makes it more authoritive/masculine/old fashioned? Maybe use a thinner font? But its better than the serif one used before. All of this is subjective of course. If you're in Scotland and dont like it, use a Made in Scotland one. In fact, do what you want, because most people won't realise its an 'official' thing anyway. Its the message thats important, not the paper its written on.
Jack Legg
2014-03-23 09:13:53


I love the image, very contemporary. Is it freely available for anyone to use it to advertise british made products, or onlicence from The Partners?

A
Alison
2014-12-01 12:26:33


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