Waterford Crystal dates back to the 1780s, and as a heritage brand it has become synonymous with craft and authenticity. To move with the times and reposition itself as more than just traditional, Waterford has enlisted the help of London-based agency Identica to rebrand the company. The new identity aims to showcase the craftsmanship of Waterford, as well as the unique cutting techniques it uses on its crystal.
The original logo was monochrome, cast in a serif typeface, which felt a little old-fashioned. To update it, the agency has redrawn Waterford’s icon and work mark, inspired by the brand’s signature Lismore cut, which references the battlements and windows of Lismore castle in Waterford. The new logo uses these cuts as letterforms as a nod to its craft, with the original Waterford cross section of the W still retained.
The clean cut of logo creates a contemporary interpretation and this was one of Identica’s biggest tasks: to reframe the brand as “desirable and relevant to a younger audience”. In the past the brand has actively built the perception of being saved for special occasions, but now wanted to create the idea that Waterford is a beautiful product that can “transform everyday moments to make them truly special”.
The new colour palette also helps to modernise the brand, as it combines a dark moody green with a molten orange. The combination is a tribute to the “elemental starting point” of each crystal piece. Waterford’s famous seahorse also got a makeover, with Identica redesigning the character to feel like a “modern shorthand” of the brand.
For imagery, a new photographic style has been developed to allow the product to be shown in authentic, everyday settings, again to emphasise the idea that Waterford can elevate any occasion, not just the special or luxury ones. As part of the launch a suite of imagery and films was created to celebrate the expertise in each piece, and the time, care and skill behind each product.
“The brief was one that many established brands have faced; how do we retain the essence of Waterford’s rich history, craftsmanship and Irish heritage but ensure that these feel relevant, compelling and desirable for a younger audience?” says Richard Clayton, Identica’s creative director. “I was hugely inspired by walking around the workshops, in awe of how the craftsmen were shaping the molten crystal using simple wooden paddles, how the crystal cutters manipulate small and huge crystal pieces over the diamond cutting wheels creating complex and delicate patterns.”
It’s from these moments in the workshop that Clayton says the new identity was born. “The glowing amber of liquid crystal became one of the new brand colours and the intricate crystal cuts inspired the shape and forms of the new logotype,” he says. “Working with Waterford was a fantastic opportunity to work with a brand whose artisans transform raw materials into something unique and beautiful.”
The branding will be applied across the Waterford range from January this year. While it’s a relatively risk-free way to modernise an old-fashioned, heritage brand, it has added some much needed drama and finesse, and is both a warm acknowledgement of the brand’s past plus a nod to its future.