When it comes to rebranding, Root is about trimming waste. "We feel that we have an instinct for when a logo has gotten a little bit long in the tooth. Usually you can tell immediately whether a logo appears completely out of date or if it simply needs tidying up a bit," says Tom Bradley, creative director at Root Studio. "But by redesigning or updating the logo we try to make it more efficient and clean-cut by trimming the fat."
Like most design groups, telling a client their logo is dated and ineffective is delicate work. People invest a lot of themselves in identities, visual personalities, especially smaller enterprises in which founders and owners are still at the pilot's wheel. Thankfully, most new or existing clients realize they have a problem and approach a design professional first. But even ecofriendly Root Studio is not afraid to speak when necessary: "We will mention the possibility of a revamp to clients if we feel that their logo is detracting from their overall product," says Bradley.
Root Studio, EPIC, and LECCAP had been working together for some time before the identity change. Root had created the original LECCAP logo and collateral for EPIC. Since the three shared a business relationship and a passion for ecofriendly solutions, it was natural that both organizations would ask Root to help create the new, merged identity.
The EPIC stands for Environment, People, Innovation, and Choice. Lincolnshire's main environmental body was LECCAP (Lincolnshire Environmental and Climate Change Action Partnership.) The stated mission of the combined organization is to encourage individuals, businesses, and communities in Lincolnshire to adapt to, or mitigate, the global effects of humanity's activity on the environment. The ultimate goal is a carbon-neutral community. Epic Lincolnshire has a number of important functions: to raise awareness through education, advocacy, and public forums; be an information resource about sustainability; and, finally, help individuals and businesses apply for grants that are available to support their sustainable activities.
From the outset, designers at Root knew both the logos for EPIC and LECCAP had equity worth retaining. Says Bradley, "They were relatively straightforward. They were clean and precise. But since neither name had been marked broadly, we felt we could keep the name EPIC and drop the acronym LECCAP."
Upon receipt of the brief, Root had an in-depth discussion with contacts at the new EPIC Lincolnshire. Says Bradley, "The client immediately agreed there and then that the existing EPIC brand would be the basis for their new logo. However, they also stressed that the local link needed to be reinforced. How the two logos would be merged was left to us."
Good call. Most acronyms are egregious. LECCAP buried the link between Lincolnshire, its symbolic cathedral, and its sustainable mission. Lincoln Cathedral, also known as St. Mary's Cathedral, is the unofficial symbol of Lincolnshire—for good reason. It is one of the finest examples of gothic architecture in England, and it is the town symbol of Lincolnshire. This Anglican cathedral was once believed to have been the tallest building in the world for nearly 250 years. The central spire collapsed in 1549, so no one has even been able to prove the fact, but it is still regarded by some prominent scholars as the most important piece of architecture in the U.K.
Needless to say, Lincoln Cathedral has a lot of equity. It dominated the LECCAP mark. "We kept it in," says Bradley, "and we restored the word Lincoln to prominence. We retained the type and coloring from Epic and shape of the LECCAP logo."
In this case, the design team took all the good aspects of the LECCAP identity—the town symbol and the name of the town. They retained all that was fresh, straightforward in the Epic identity—the name (an acronym worth keeping because Epic has meaning), the font, and the composition of the type. The colorful waves, suggest joy and vigor.
The end result is an identity that is bold and contemporary, confident and colorful. It is an identity that befits an organization with goals as significant and monumental as Epic Lincolnshire's: a carbon-neutral, sustainable world.