Meet Oli, the new face of Alder Hey

Alder Hey in Liverpool is the UK’s busiest children’s hospital and one of the biggest in Europe. USP Creative were asked to create a brand identity which would work for both the hospital trust and its charity

Alder Hey in Liverpool is the UK’s busiest children’s hospital and one of the biggest in Europe. USP Creative were asked to create a brand identity which would work for both the hospital trust and its charity.

A new Alder Hey hospital is being built in 2015. In preparation for this, it commissioned a new brand identity to work for both the Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust and the Alder Hey Children’s Charity. According to USP Creative, who won the task, the brief asked for an identity “that reflects the hospital’s core values, has flexibility to work across many different mediums, is easily identifiable and could be used as a key part of communications and fundraising initiatives”. In addition, the work needed to appeal to a wide range of interested parties, including children, staff, the wider healthcare community and the public.

USP say that in research they uncovered certain words which had frequently been used to describe the hospital and charity – “family, wisdom, strength and memory were consistently mentioned” they say. All of which, they felt, could be embodied by an elephant, which they christened Oli.

The character is rendered in a ‘Fuzzy Felt’ style. Prominent stitching recalls, USP say, the care and attention Alder Hey gives its patients. The desired colour scheme should be “bright, colourful, positive and appealing to children, but also respectful of the serious nature behind the work that is done by the hospital” USP say. They plumped for Pantone 300 blue for the character which, they claim, is gender neutral and reasuring and which has no negative connotations in any culture.

As for the name, it’s simple and easy to pronounce for children as well as recalling the ‘Alder” in the hospital’s name.

USP have now started to apply the brand derived from the character across the huge array of materials required, beginning with the charity.

This was a very tricky brief – to combine the needs of both the governing trust and the Alder Hey Children’s Charity and to provide something which would work in all the different contexts that implies. It will be difficult to tell how well the scheme works across everything until the new hospital opens but, in Oli, Alder Hey has a marketable, highly recognisable character with great charm.



CR In print

In our December issue we look at why carpets are the latest medium of choice for designers and illustrators. Plus, Does it matter if design projects are presented using fake images created using LiveSurface and the like? Mark Sinclair looks in to the issue of mocking-up. We have an extract from Craig Ward’s upcoming book Popular Lies About Graphic Design and ask why advertising has been so poor at preserving its past. Illustrators’ agents share their tips for getting seen and we interview maverick director Tony Kaye by means of his unique way with email. In Crit, Guardian economics leader writer Aditya Chakrabortty review’s Kalle Lasn’s Meme Wars and Gordon Comstock pities brands’ long-suffering social media managers. In a new column on art direction, Paul Belford deconstructs a Levi’s ad that was so wrong it was very right, plus, in his brand identity column, Michael Evamy looks at the work of Barcelona-based Mario Eskenazi. And Daniel Benneworth-Gray tackles every freelancer’s dilemma – getting work.

Our Monograph this month, for subscribers only, features the EnsaïmadART project in which Astrid Stavro and Pablo Martin invited designers from around the world to create stickers to go on the packaging of special edition packaging for Majorca’s distinctive pastry, the ensaïmada, with all profits going to a charity on the island (full story here)

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