Brand Roots: 1968 Was A Very Good Year


I’ve been reading up on the latest design news this morning and noticed the new NatWest identity recently developed by Futurebrand. Interestingly, it is a return to the original Natwest logo, first developed in 1968.

This, hot on the heels of the Co-Op identity re-design by North and the Mastercard brand evolution by Pentagram. Both of which have revisited the wordmarks created that very same year. 1968.




It also happens to be the year of the Mexico Olympic Games, the identity of which was beautifully crafted by Lance Wyman. Ooooooh, such a treat for the eyes.


Coincidence? Absolutely. There is no obvious trend here: we are not returning to 1960s logos for the sake of refreshing them with a sprinkling of 2016 magic designer dust because we simply can’t think of anything better to do.

But it does say heaps about the period and the strength of the body of design that emanated from it. Designs of that particular era were often solid, simple and considered. They were more than contemporary, they were forward. The proof being the aforementioned brands’ logo revivals. They are as current today as they were almost 50 years ago!

These recent re-brands also demonstrate the designers’ respect for a brand’s history and equity. Sadly, however, these aspects are often overlooked. Identity alterations or redesigns aren’t always well received. Think back to 2010 – the year of the shortest ever rebrand (6 days!) when Gap tried to take it’s iconic brand ‘out of the box’.


Many of the world’s most successful brands have stuck to their original identities, making only subtle changes – the hue of the blue here, the addition of a little shadow there, the refinement of a typeface.



But it does make you wonder: will any of the brand identities created today be revived come 2070?


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AUTHOR: Stephanie Girard

Stephanie began her career in Milan working for the likes of Ferrari and Prada. She swapped her high heels for wellies back in 1998 and has been enjoying Devon ever since. Relishes a challenge, perfectionist to the max and a massive fan of colour and typography (and all things related to Mark Cavendish & ice hockey!) And in case you were wondering where her lovely accent is from, she’s Canadian.


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