How Wimbledon's identity was rescued

Discover how a branding agency saved the international tennis tournament's identity from going stale.

There's a lot more to managing Wimbledon's brand development than just a spot of logo design; it's been a large and ongoing process for London-based design firm hat-trick.

"When we first came across Wimbledon, visually it was a real mess," says Gareth Howat, hat-trick's co-founder. "So half the job was to get rid of all the stuff that didn't work, and just keep the stuff that did.

"We won a [Computer Arts] Brand Impact Award in 2014 for the work we'd done in redesigning the club's visual identity. We modernised the typography, and made the wayfinding, print and digital communications much cleaner and more legible, as well as more adaptable to a wide range of applications.

How hat-trick is developing Wimbledon's visual identity

hat-trick recruited top paper artist Yulia Brodskaya for last year's Wimbledon poster

"Since then, we've essentially become the brand guardian for Wimbledon. And although the organisation doesn't go for big, sudden changes, there's always a lot of development going on. They're currently doing a big masterplan for the actual site, for example: they're developing some massive architectural plans, long-term.

"One of the big things Wimbledon has been really pushing recently is the digital and social media side. So they've constantly reinvented the website: it's all about making it year-round, rather than just for the Championships. And we've been overseeing the look and the feel of that, to make sure it's still on-brand.

Having created a new identity for Wimbledon in 2014, much of hat-trick's work since then has been developing and enforcing strict brand guidelines

"They've also asked us to help standardise the way that the branding of commercial partners is represented at the Championships, in and around the grounds. The aim is to give everything a really clean, simple approach. And the commercial campaigns are starting to integrate more closely with the Wimbledon ethos – like the ad for Stella Artois, one of Wimbledon's brand partners, using Rufus, the legendary resident Wimbledon hawk.

"Another thing we've been doing is designing tickets and posters. One idea that we've put across is the idea of using social media to actually generate content for the tickets. It's all about engaging with the fans, so we're trying to merge the worlds of print and digital a little bit more with that.

"Developing Wimbledon's visual identity is a very iterative process. From the ticket design to the way the digital platform works, everything's very much in development. It's never radical, but it's very much building over a long period of time. Each year, the whole thing gets more consistent."

This article originally appeared in Computer Arts issue 254; buy it now!


Tom May is a freelance writer and editor specialising in design and technology. He was previously associate editor at Creative Bloq and deputy editor at net magazine, the world’s best-selling magazine for web designers. Over two decades in journalism he’s worked for a wide range of mainstream titles including The Sun, Radio Times, NME, Heat, Company and Bella. Follow him on Twitter @tom_may.