The Asda Rebrand: Balancing Tradition with Modern Appeal

Category

Branding

Read Time

5 min

Published

16 May, 2024

When a supermarket as big as Asda rebrands, it’s got to be done right.

Considering this is the go-to store for millions of customers, changing too much of the existing brand identity or changing it for the wrong reasons can have huge ramifications.

But in partnership with their advertising agency, Havas London, who won the creative account for the retailer two years ago, the supermarket giant has rolled out its latest rebrand with a focus on providing more personable experiences.

One of the problems being that Asda has evolved so much over the years that parts of the identity was starting to becoming fragmented.

It’s not just a shop where you can buy your latest groceries and produce, it’s also provides:

  • Pharmacy services
  • Mobile phone services
  • Photo printing and booths
  • Petrol stations
  • George clothing

It’s also visible across multiple digital platforms too – it’s no longer just about traditional media outlets.

As the world continues to evolve, established brands such as Asda need to evolve too.

Let’s start with one of the biggest changes – the typography.

asda new type in different shades of green

Updating the typography

The most notable change to the existing brand is the new typography, designed with Colophon.

A prime example being the lead display font, Asda Headline, which is entirely unicase, seamlessly blending uppercase and lowercase letters to create a distinctive and modern look.

Modernising the brand is a key driver behind the rebranding initiative, so this makes the ideal choice for giving Asda a more contemporary aesthetic.

In the words of Lorenzo Fruzza, Chief Design Officer at Havas, they wanted to bring “some of the beautiful cursive quality of lowercase into bold cap height prominence.”

As we said before though, implementing any sort of change for a company as big as Asda can be risky. So to make sure they got this absolutely right, Havas carried out an extensive brand audit and exploration ensuring they created a design that resonated with Asda’s identity and appealed to its diverse audience.

Following the audit, it was decided that using two display fonts and two text fonts (each with two styles) would be sufficient. This approach ensures a cohesive and versatile design while maintaining visual clarity and readability across all branding materials.

According to Lorenzo:

Asda has so much personality, we needed to create a face that would deliver that tone everywhere. Even in the spaces where the brand needs to be deeply functional and accessible.

new Asda stickers on green background

Blending tradition with modern charm

Asda’s typography is inspired by traditional greengrocers, featuring an open sans serif font with flares and strokes that evoke the look of hand-painted signage.

In turn, this helps the supermarket convey a more personable experience, so that despite being a huge brand name, it still has a friendly, local feel that resonates with people of all ages.

It’s a careful blend between traditional design elements with modern branding, allowing the supermarket to move into the modern day whilst still retaining familiarity with customers.

Numerals also play a key role in Asda’s branding, with features such as the crossbar of the pound sign reflecting sign painter qualities.

The fruit stickers are also clever and provide the perfect way to communicate information in a fun way without overcrowding the design. These sticker-like graphics have already gained popularity with brands such as Deliveroo. While sticker designs have become a standard in many brand toolkit, for Asda, they connect to the concept of stickers being applied to products (i.e. fruit).

The design approach taken by Asda makes the brand feel more friendly and human so that shoppers want to choose to shop here over the many other options available. By drawing inspiration from traditional greengrocers, Asda creates a sense of local charm despite existing on a national scale.

Asda print advert showing wine

Asda’s iconic green

One part of Asda’s brand identity which just couldn’t change is the colour.

Green is absolutely synonymous with the brand and has been with Asda for over 60 years. It’s probably one of the first thing customers think of when they hear the name, so loosing this much brand equity would be ludicrous.

According to Havas Creative Partner Nathalie Gordon:

Green was and remains a key part of the Asda DNA. As such, we wanted to keep it front and centre of the rebrand, but we had identified key challenges around hue and legibility in our research.

There’s a consistent theme in this rebrand, which is maintaining the classic elements of the Asda brand that customers know and love, while modernising it for today’s market.

To combat legibility issues, Havas introduced a higher contrast primary green and paired it with a new dark green as a secondary colour.

There’s also a new tagline to note which is ‘That’s More Like it’. While many of us might associate slogans such as ‘That’s Asda Price’ or ‘Get the Asda Price Feeling’ from 2021 campaigns, Havas explains that ‘That’s More Like it’ was actually soft-launched last year.

Now, it’s becoming more prominent in branding assets, so keep an eye out for it!

Lorenzo adds:

When developing identities for brands like Asda, it’s important to remember that the channels they live in have evolved so much in recent years – they no longer just show up in traditional media channels. We have worked with Asda to create a new brand identity which stands out in the market and can flex across multiple channels – ensuring it’s relevant and meaningful to its customers.

Image credits:
Creative Review

Hi, I'm Amy, Content Strategist at Canny. In my day-to-day role, I'm responsible for creating content that gets you noticed and makes you stand out from the competition. Naturally, I love writing and creating engaging copy that brings your brand to life.

Read here