The Scouts looks to become “cool again” with unified brand identity

Founded in 1907, the Scouts was set up as an organisation to help young people develop life skills and now, it has a UK membership of 450,000 children and 115,000 adult volunteers. Design studio NotOnSunday has given it a new visual identity in a bid to open the Scouts up to minorities, disband the “quite old-school and white” stereotype and show that it offers more than camping.

The Scouts UK division has a new visual identity that looks to make the organisation accessible to people from minority backgrounds and be seen as “cool again” by children and adults alike.

The Scout Association was founded in 1907 by a British army lieutenant as a movement that would help young people develop their physical, mental and spiritual skills. It was originally focused on developing outdoor and survival skills, and has since turned into a worldwide movement.

There are currently roughly 450,000 young people and 115,000 adult volunteers across the UK who are Scouts members.

Since it was founded, the organisation has used a “fleur-de-lis” motif as its logo – a stylised icon of a lily. It has had different iterations, and is used today in varying styles and forms across the world.

NotOnSunday has rebranded the Scouts for its UK groups, with the aim of “unifying” all the disparate identities that exist across branches, says Wayne Trevor Townsend, co-founder at the design studio.

The “iconic” fleur-de-lis symbol has been retained for its history, he says, but has been stripped back and simplified, turned into a flat, line-drawn symbol.

A refreshed, “brighter” colour palette has been introduced, which again retains purple as it is associated with the brand but uses a more violet shade.

Colour pairings have been incorporated for consistency, including purple and teal, red and pink, green and navy, and blue and yellow. Including red, green and blue within different pairings allows countries within the UK to adopt the pairing that best suits their national colours.

Open source Google Font typeface Nunito Sans has been used for the logotype and copy, in a bid to make the typeface “accessible” for all organisations across the UK as it is free to download.

NotOnSunday has also designed a modular grid system for leaflets and flyers, which can be personalised by organisations with imagery and text, but which will allow them to keep a consistent format.

“A lot of leaflets, flyers and posters will be created across the UK by people who aren’t designeres,” says Townsend. “It was important to create something that could be made easily within a template, and that encouraged groups to use a standard format rather than just start using their own typefaces, designs or colours.”

The brand guidelines and all visual assets are available to download from the Scouts brand centre online, so that all UK organisations can adopt the same branding.

The rebrand project took seven months for NotOnSunday to complete, and will be rolled out across all UK Scouts groups over the next two years. Animated gifs were designed by Mainframe, and a strategy film was designed by studio Young. A new brand film was created by film production agency 3angrymen.

While unifying the branding across the UK was key, the other main aim was breaking archaic stereotypes associated with the brand, says Townsend. This included opening the Scouts up to more people and making both adults and children aware of the diverse range of activities that the organisation now offers.

“There was a feeling of the Scouts as quite old-school and quite white,” he says. “This new identity aims to open it up to all different minority groups such as black and Asian communities, and generally be much broader. This applies to youth and adults who want to volunteer. The feedback on the new identity has already been positive. This is about involving everyone, and bringing everybody together.”

He adds: “And if it appeals to more people, this is going to be a positive thing for the UK in getting kids active. It will become cool again to join the Scouts. Before this project, I wasn’t aware of half the things they do, I thought it was still camping – but there’s so much, from coding workshops to dance. The key thing is making adults and children aware of what’s available.”

The new identity will roll out across all UK Scouts groups over the next two years, across all touchpoints including office interiors, signage, merchandise such as t-shirts, in-house materials such as presentations and documents, print marketing materials such as posters and banners, and online platforms including the website and social media. There are currently no plans to roll out the new identity worldwide.

Hide Comments (8)Show Comments (8)
  • Shaun Boateng May 18, 2018 at 9:32 am

    Yet another example of a logo that has been fashionably “stripped back” and designed to look good for an app. Has it been stripped back too far? I think so.

    • Henry Walker May 20, 2018 at 7:23 pm

      Yep, Shaun, took the words out of my mouth.

  • James Harvey - Smith May 18, 2018 at 10:14 am

    Gasp! …where’s the heritage, pride, sense of purpose and most importantly of all …fun!
    Way too educational and bland. There are ways to be progressive whilst maintaining the intrinsic sense of history associated with Scouting. The derogation, in this way, of such a well loved and respected organisation shouldn’t be a surprise in this day and age but is still extremely sad to see.

    Can’t be certain of course, but I fear Baden-Powell will be turning in his grave.

  • Continental Scout May 18, 2018 at 4:30 pm

    Founded by an “army lieutenant”? More like a Lieutenant General, but nevermind …

  • Mo Farnhan May 20, 2018 at 1:47 pm

    The simplification of the logo works really well. But sadly the overall look and feel of the branding lacks distinction. This could be any youth organisation. Where is the creativity and originality the scouting movement needs and deserves?

  • Chez56 May 20, 2018 at 9:49 pm

    I actually think this has revived a brand that the millennials have not taken much interest in till now. Fresh, vibrant and love the message of inclusivity!

  • Barnes327 May 21, 2018 at 10:12 am

    very clever logo! Most great strong marks are simple and they last helluva lot longer. People saying logo is good but applications are dull – it’s been out less than a week. They’re going to be rolling it out for the next two years!! Plus the applications needs to be used by so many. Majority who can’t use photoshop so it obv needs to be simple for the volunteer dad.

    There will be so much opportunity to be creative with this brand as it rolls out

    i found this a really good read and love the animation
    Good on them.

  • Shaun Boateng May 21, 2018 at 11:45 am

    I think the age old saying “Scouts Honour” really doesn’t apply anymour to this brand anymore you look at the new logo. The designers should have had this in mind before stripping the life and indeed the honour out of this logo. Shame.

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