How Castrol's fluid new branding was created

Purple Creative used its experience designing for the drinks sector to create stunning visual identities for Castrol oil.

Whatever way you spin it, motor oil isn't very exciting, and it's hard to come up with a visual identity for a range of different lubricants when they're all very similar translucent brown liquids.

So when it needed a set of visual identities for its eight hero global Strategic Brand lubricants, including those used in the aviation, energy, manufacturing and space industries, Castrol turned to Purple Creative, an agency that's made its name working with the drinks sector, to devise a fluid new look.

Purple created a unique and evocative look for each different lubricant

Over an 18-month project, Purple Creative has brought to life the idea of Castrol being 'liquid engineers', with a set of 'Fluid in Action' CG imagery that presents Castrol's eight products as a wider unified family, yet allowing each of the eight lubricants to express itself differently, and demonstrate its individual properties and strengths. 

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And while each of the Strategic Brand lubricants look pretty much identical out of the tin, Purple was able to inject a little more personality into each one, using CG to render up fluid visualisations that capture the main feature of each lubricant. So for example, for Molub-alloy, used for the heaviest loads such as steel works, mining and cement works, Purple devised a fluid made of graphic blocks bound together to form a solid chainmail armoured structure, in order to show its strength.

Purple also designed a set of images showing Castrol's products in action

Purple also created an image library for each Strategic Brand, showing the 'Fluid in Action' graphics functioning in their usual industry environment or a close-up showing the technical detail of the precision lubricant.

The end results are one of the most memorable pieces of Castrol creative since the company's iconic Castrol GTX 'Liquid engineering' TV ads from the 1980s (which did indeed manage to make a translucent brown liquid look, if not exciting, then at least really interesting).


Says Gary Westlake, founding partner and creative director at Purple, "Many different B2B industries around the world, from car automotive plants to the Mars Rover, wouldn’t move without Castrol’s products. Their lubricants allow amazing things to happen, so we wanted to bring them to life in a memorable and powerful way, and hopefully the visual identities reflect the many precise functions each Strategic Brand achieves for Castrol."

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jim McCauley is a writer, editor and occasional podcaster, and is available for space parties.