London design studio SEA has created a new logo, visual identity system and seasonal ad campaigns for outdoor clothing company Regatta.
A family business founded in 1981, Regatta is one of the UK’s best selling outdoor brands but as it isn’t particularly ‘consumer facing’ – most products are sold online and through third party retailers – it had never developed a strong, coherent identity, says SEA founder Bryan Edmondson.
“We’d worked with Regatta since around 2006, mainly art directing on campaigns. Around 12 months ago, we started work on its sub brands Point 214 and Xert [aimed at hillwalkers and climbers] and that led us to ask ‘Who is Regatta exactly, and who are they targeting?,” he says. “Regatta is all things to everyone, made for dog walkers, commuters, ramblers, kids and climbers. It’s an inclusive, affordable brand and its image needed to reflect that.”
Regatta’s new logo represents this broad appeal – while it looks like an R, the flat line, hump and steep ascent also reference the dog walkers, hillwalkers and climbers Regatta caters for, says Edmondson.
“A lot of outdoor brands use logos referencing mountains or trees or nature but we wanted a marque that said more about the people wearing Regatta than the landscape they’re wearing it in. It was one of the first ideas I had and I didn’t present it at first as I thought it might be too simple but sometimes, the simple ideas turn out to be the best,” he explains.
The biggest challenge designing the marque, he adds, was creating one that would work well on clothing and communications and have a global, unisex appeal. “We needed to create something that was instantly recognisable on a zip or a cuff or the back of a jacket. We worked on a couple of other idents first but they felt too familiar, and they didn’t pass the stitch test,” he says.
Regatta had no fixed colour scheme but often used oranges and greys, so SEA devised an amber, charcoal and light grey palette. The studio has also selected one typeface, Neuzeit, to be used in Regatta’s identity system and communications.
“We chose Neuzeit as it’s a semi-rounded sans and not too sharp or corporate. The logo was designed before we picked a typeface but after we’d decided on it, we went back and tweaked the marque to match,” says Edmondson.
Neuzeit has also been applied to long copy print ads for Regatta which tell the story of the brand so far, reinforcing its message of being a family-run, affordable brand for everyone and using the strapline ‘for every adventure’. The print ads and accompanying TV spots will be released next year, and feature images of Regatta wearers standing in an ‘R’ formation shot by photographer David Short on a rainy day in the Peak District’s Saddleworth Moor.
Regatta’s six sub brands have been given a makeover, too, with new promotional imagery for each. The new campaign for climbing range Xert was shot on a mountain in South Africa at dawn, and imagery promoting hillwalking range Point 214 was shot in Patagonia, Chile.
“Each sub brand has to have its own look and feel. They’re all active outdoor brands but they are all very different. For Xert, we didn’t want a fashion shoot, we wanted an action shoot so we used climbers and stunt people,” adds Edmondson.
Regatta’s new identity is sharper, stronger and more versatile than the old. The new Regatta logo is just as recognisable as those used by competitors such as North Face and Berghaus, and the visual system and accompanying campaigns help to clearly define the brand and what it stands for. SEA has also produced a brand film for Regatta (stills below) and is working on a new website, packaging and merchandise, to be rolled out over the next 18 months.
Images: David Short
“Regatta had gone so many different ways over the years without clear guidelines so it’s no wonder they lacked a clear visual direction. We worked closely with the marketing and in-house design teams and hopefully now, they have a strong look that will work across products, communications and maybe even into Regatta retail stores,” says Edmondson.