In 2022, the annual steeplechase welcomes an in-person audience for the first time in two years – 2020 was held as a virtual race, and only owners, trainers and staff were allowed onto the racecourse in 2021.
To mark its return to normality, the Grand National is launching its first standalone visual identity – previously, the horse race was branded and promoted under racing organisation the Jockey Club. The event has been running since 1839, with some of its 30 fences, for example Becher’s Brook, considered iconic.
Thisaway has tapped into the event’s “grand proportions” for its type-led branding, using it to reflect the huge audience – 10 million people watch the Grand National in the UK, and 600 million around the world – and epic race course.
“We gave the brand a bold typographic feel that aims to reflect their stature and immediately speaks to what the race is known for,” said the studio in a press release.
Thisaway has been expressive with its use of type, setting letters behind galloping horses, arranging them higgledy-piggledy, and playing with proportions and spacing to echo the action of the day. Words are combined with textural effects to mimic splattered mud, dirty goggles and the impact of horses going over fir-covered fences.
A dark racing green is, naturally, in heavy use, although the studio has paired it with some livelier pastel tones that add to the energy of the branding. According to Thisaway founder and creative director Graeme Cook, the identity aims to capture public sentiment towards the event, which he describes as “a race where everyone gets involved”, whether purist or punter.