JKR rebrands The Diana Award

JKR’s new branding for The Diana Award sees an uninspiring silhouette replaced with a 3D likeness of the Princess

JKR has created a new identity for The Diana Award – an organisation founded in Princess Diana’s memory in 1999 to celebrate young people who are making a positive impact in their communities.

The Diana Award recognises young people who demonstrate kindness, compassion and a desire to help others. This year’s recipients include an 18-year-old who has cared for his mother since the age of 13 and an ambassador for Cerebral Palsy Teens UK who publishes a blog for people living with the condition.

The organisation also runs a nationwide anti-bullying programme and a mentoring scheme that provides skills training to young people in schools across Yorkshire, Birmingham and London.

Its previous logo was an uninspiring – and not immediately identifiable – silhouette of Princess Diana. This has been replaced with a 3D likeness of the Princess created using photographs of her taken from different angles.

JKR worked with an illustrator to create the likeness after struggling to find a suitable photograph of Diana. The agency searched through hundreds of photographs (Diana was once the most photographed woman in the world) but found few that were taken side-on and decided to create an image instead.

The illustrator combined photographs to create a likeness of Diana’s head and shoulders. “We pieced it together from some photographs and used a little bit of artistic interpretation,” explains Sean Thomas, creative director at JKR.

“We didn’t want it to feel like a statue – we wanted to capture the sense that her work is ongoing and her legacy is still alive,” he adds.

The image was approved by Princes William and Harry and shows Diana looking forward with her head tilted upwards. JKR says this captures “a sense of progress” and reflects the organisation’s mission to celebrate young people who are driving positive change.

The image is gently lit and shows a little of Diana’s shoulders – a nod to a now famous off-the-shoulder black dress she wore in 1994. Thomas says it took several attempts to craft the right image – one that wouldn’t feel too formal or dated.

“The hardest thing to get right was Diana’s hair,” he adds. “She had so many iconic hairstyles over the years … but we had to find one that felt progressive as well. A couple of her hairstyles were quite 1980s and when we went with them it really changed the tone [of the identity].”  The end result is an image that is unmistakably Diana but does not feel rooted in a particular era.

The logo is accompanied by a condensed sans logotype – selected for its contemporary feel. The type was initially centred but was repositioned to “loosen up” the identity and make it feel more modern, says Thomas.

The new brand identity aims to unite The Diana Award’s various activities under a consistent visual system – one that conveys a sense of gravitas but will also appeal to children and young adults.

JKR has designed communications for each of The Diana Award’s activities as well as certificates and a trophy for award winners. Trophies feature the name of the award, the likeness of Diana and a shortened version of a quote which now appears on all of the organisation’s communications. JKR designed the trophy using CAD software then had models made in acrylic.

Certificates feature gold lettering and the same quote (“Young people can change the world”). Each recipient’s name is hidden inside adding a surprise personalised element to the design.

JKR has also created design and photography guidelines to help The Diana Award’s creative team produce their own assets.

JKR was approached by The Diana Award after the organisation came across the agency’s work online and offered to work on the project on a pro bono basis. The agency has recently set up an initiative called the JKR Foundation and plans to work on a number of small and larger-scale projects for good causes each year.

You can watch a film about the making of the project below:

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