British Gas and their trite new identity

call me a cynic if you wish, but I am not a big fan of this rather smug new identity for British Gas. Here’s the old one.

Brirish Gas and their old and uncaring identity
British Gas and their old and uncaring identity

There’s not a lot wrong with this. It says what they do, or rather what they did. Their business has obviously diversified and they need to move away from their obvious reliance on fossil fuels and the harm they bring to our planet. So they’ve changed it to this.

british-gas-who-are-now-looking-after-our-world-for-us
British Gas who are now looking after our world for us

I don’t have a particular problem with the identity. It’s fine in fact. decent typo and a subtle shade of green has been snuck into the logo. Good work team.

But the strapline. ‘Looking after your world’. Behave.

What a bunch of trite shite.

How are they looking after our world, by dragging tons of gas out and burning it?

Straplines are always a difficult issue, but this one is on the verge of vomit inducing. If it was my job, i’d drop it and quit the pretence before everyone does an emperors new clothes as soon as they have an issue or heaven forbid an accident and they make the word a little bit worse for us.

Updated

I’ve just had it pointed out to me by my mate and long time Creative colleague Darren Fisk, quite how similar the new British Gas identity is to the Age UK identity.

Age UK brand - Is this where the designers of the British Gas logo found their inspiration??
Age UK brand – Is this where the designers of the British Gas logo found their inspiration?

If you look at the background to the brand that was designed by the fabulously named Kitcatt Nohr Digitas (it’s that sort of name that made me want to join the industry) and watch their intro video about how they developed the brand, you can see it’s built on real values, that matter. I think it’s worth watching Paul Kitcatt talking about it here (even though looking at the viewer numbers, no one else has actually bothered):

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8 thoughts on “British Gas and their trite new identity

  1. To be honest John on first view I thought average, no spark, but hoped it might grow on me, but sadly no.

    But the more I look at it I agree the strap line is awful. The typography I feel will look dated in a few years, too styled for me.

    The flame I get the modern feel but I question why any energy company uses green, look at the issues Shell had, you’d think they would have learnt by now.

    Think in todays multi-channel world they’re missed the opportunity to bring the icon to life.

  2. I like the new logo.

    The wordmark has a confident and purposeful feel with a technical edge (it’s upright) and echos the ‘template’ geometry of fonts like Interstate and DIN. I think this is good because most of the brands consumer face are the engineers who are called out to fix, service, install etc.

    The flame is also a nice update. It’s more abstract which is good, as British Gas offer more than just gas and electricity now and will probably move into green/re-newable energy in the coming years, which is hinted at with the green graduation. Added to this is the nice mobious strip shape, again hinting at re-newable energy being a future core value maybe?

    The new flame is also very positive, it’s moving forward and up — which reminds me of the Nike ‘tick’. It’s also a pleasing shape and I like that it’s simple, the same shape twice (at two different sizes), it’s efficient, again another positive for an energy company. The flame position (over the ‘a and s’ letters) is also better — it binds the flame and word mark and is a better lock-up, which means it will be easier to position in layouts etc.

    The old logo always remind me of a cigarette being lit (look at old ‘No Smoking’ signs). Plus the old flame is badly drawn — zoom in, it’s a shocker, I think there are actually some straight lines in there. I never saw it as a classic, it’s not in the same league as say the Woolmark, WWF, Deutsche Bank logos.

    I think the new logo will drive re-appraisal without alienating existing long term customers. It’s simple, modern and attractive (for a energy supplier) and there isn’t any complex back story to explain. You can see it’s and evolution which I think was probably the brief as they haven’t changed their name or main offering at this point.

    I bet also on TV and online it will animate, similar to what BT do.

    One final point — the people involved in creating this, will have spent months on this project (the same time as any branding agency) and any design decisions will have been made with good reason.

    1. Edgar. Thanks for your comments, which are much appreciated. I suspect that you may be part of the CHI and Partners team that created it? The fact that you have commented anonymously does devalue them slightly for me.

      Design, as you know is initially subjective. But fairly quickly it begins to translate into sales figures. The acid test for this work is whether it begins to build the brand back up, or is it just a case of prettying up a sinking ship.

      I guess it will slow the decline for a short wile and then it will continue as it did. It’s not a stayer’ as an identity and my opinion is that we will get bored of it far too quickly.

      To compare it to the Nike Tick, is wrong. That work is just better, simpler more carefully considered with a clearer purpose. Your British Gas work is a tidy up of a logo with a slightly fatuous new strapline below it.

  3. John

    I do think the base of the flame shape and the general direction of the logo are similar to the shape of the Nike ‘tick’ — which is why I said it was ‘positive’. I was talking about the logo construction and not ‘comparing it’ to the Nike visual identity it’s brand positioning or communications.

    Also, the strapline has been around for about 2 years or so. I’ve seen and heard it on TV and Press ads for ages, so not sure what you’ve called this ‘a slightly fatuous new strapline’.

  4. John,
    “Your world” refers to customers’ homes (as illustrated in the TV and press ads depicting people living on their own respective planets), not to planet Earth as a whole.

    Maybe it’s a bit chancey adopting a strapline which is only intelligible to those who’ve seen their adverts, but the ads are fairly prevalent.

    The technical-looking wordmark and strapline typography comes across as slightly controversial as well. Generally, type has been getting more and more ‘humanist’/traditional in recent years (as in the Age UK logo above). This new style for BG could soon look dated, unless the pendulum is swinging back to the technical/squarish style popular in the previous decade.

    1. good point about the world, but I honestly believe they are overtly implying they are looking after the wider world too. This is what I object too as it is just too obvious and too hackneyed as a concept – even as it’s launching.

      As you say, what is it going to look and feel like in a few years?

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