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.