A challenging brand project with some fairly strict parameters. “We don’t want to change the logo. We want to keep green as our primary colour. We want to keep our name. Oh, and we want to include bamboo is some way.”
I get a perverse enjoyment out of projects like this. I think it’s really important to be able to bring good ideas to the table even when the avenue for creativity seems quite narrow at the outset.
What we have here is a sense-making of an untidy brand and a design system with a number of simple cues to guarantee consistency. But most importantly, we’ve given the whole business a new direction. Taking that left-field bamboo thought and using it as a catalyst for corporate change. Turning a major Midlands player in a perceived uncompromising industry into a business with ethics and responsibility at its heart.
Here's the story so far.
The existing icon, to give credit where it's due, was distinctive and well recognised within the industry. The concept was just very clumsily executed. I applied a design grid to recreate the symbol using a 45º angle to crop the SF letterforms. These were based upon Neue Helvetica 85 Heavy. The name SF Group meant that the existing tagline was needed to tell people what the company actually did. By reverting to the actual registered name – SF Recruitment Limited – people were now in no doubt as to the company's activities. This enabled a more creative treatment of the tagline – 'A natural fit'.
After an extensive exploration process, we settled on a brand promise for SF. The positioning statement 'A natural fit' is a playful articulation of what drives the company every day – putting more people in jobs they love.
We then expanded upon the SF brand promise and wrote this brand story. Successful brands have an undeniable truth at their heart. This rallying cry resonated with leaders and grafters alike summing up how they try to operate day-to-day.
Company values are an important tool to motivate the entire workforce. If they are accurate values are powerful but conversely if they are wide of the mark they can be damaging. This set of company values for SF seeks to validate the present day and show a path to the future of the business for everyone involved.
The newly defined 45º angle in the SF icon forms the basis of a new design system for the refreshed brand. Bold use of type, colour, image and shape make for a distinctive design footprint with style cues that are straight-forward to implement by non-creatives.
Bamboo. On the face of it, this seemed like a pretty random request other than the fact that in its living state bamboo is green... sometimes. But when you dig deeper, you find out that bamboo is pretty amazing stuff. This led us to ask if SF could be a more responsible business? Bamboo is strong, flexible and ethical – qualities we felt were essential to being a great recruiter. Could SF be the first plastic-free recruiter? Could we use bamboo as a more sustainable source of paper supplies in the office and even in client gifting? As it turns out, yes we could.
Taking the refreshed brand into the three SF office spaces in Nottingham, Birmingham and Leicester. Maximum impact created in a cost-efficient way that injected fresh energy into these hives of activity.
We launched the new brand alongside SF's plastic-free pledge. Everyone in the SF team is fully behind becoming a single-use plastic free business. This simple direct mail item was devised to prompt journalists and bloggers to pen column inches about the new strong, flexible, ethical SF.