Opinion by Richard Baird Posted 13 September 2013
Antler is a British luggage brand and manufacturer that creates stylish, practical, lightweight and sturdy travel solutions “full of design and innovation” drawn from over a 100 years of experience within the industry. Mammal, the design agency behind the brand’s new visual identity, describe Antler, prior to the rebrand, as ‘stagnant’, appearing tired and old-fashioned while its competitors were “surging ahead with growth, innovation, brand awareness and credibility.”
Mammal developed a new visual identity solution for Antler that juxtaposes the old characters of a new logotype with contemporary campaign photography by Matthew Shave and a sans-serif headlines, that brings it up to date without disregarding its significant history.
“Mammal were appointed to help position and rebrand the business and brought in strategy and communications agency The Cernis Collective to work alongside us. This was a great opportunity for Antler to re-energise the brand and give the business a more sophisticated look and feel which led us to create a fresh, new, bold brand identity built on the culture and flair of British design underpinned by heritage, history and craft.” – Mammal
It is not often you see what Mammal describe as a ‘medieval’ typeface set alongside high fashion photography and the modernistic utility of an accompanying sans-serif. Although disparate in their combination these work incredibly well to deliver a cohesive trinity of brand values, precise in their communication, that balance an outgoing and fashion conscious personality ― ideal for a brand engaging with the modern international traveller ― a sense of heritage and an understanding of basic reliable functionality, all bound together by a limited contemporary colour palette.
Rather that relying on a classic or old-style serif, an approach typically taken when conveying some kind of heritage, Mammal have dipped further into the past, setting the logotype in what I think is a broken grotesque (a modernistic derivative of blackletter or gothic script from the 12th century) which has been more recently reinterpreted as as Habour Bold by Gareth Hague.
Although this choice has more of a 1930’s German undertone (see Ernst Paul Way’s work for Apotheke) rather than a sense of Great British, its heavy serifs, strong angles, calligraphic element across the ‘r’, distinctive ‘e’, the similar weight of characters either side of the ‘t’ appear well balanced and reflective of both a the brand’s heritage and the durability of its products. For me the cropping the serifs by the roundel neuters the impact and character of the A but works well, albeit a little conventionally, as a container for photography.
The photography offers a more recent, playful, energetic and communicative counterpoint to the sturdy footing of the logotype, with a clear fashion led sensibility in its structure, colour and movement it adds a solid contemporary dimensionality fitting for a lifestyle brand.