Nomad creates “animalistic” identity for Pets at Home

With a bespoke wordmark and supporting custom typefaces, Pets at Home hopes to unite its previously disparate sub brands.

Nomad Studio has designed Pets at Home’s new identity which aims to unify its sub-brands with a bespoke logotype and two custom typefaces.

As its business has grown, Pets at Home has created and acquired multiple brands, such as Vets for Pets, The Groom Room and the VIP club. Because it lacked a “robust brand visual identity”, each sub-brand existed in isolation with their own brand worlds, making it difficult to “amplify them and for consumers to navigate them easily”, says Pets at Home head of brand Cath Ryan.

While it started as a straightforward brief to unite the main and sub-brands “under a single new visual identity” Nomad’s scope of work naturally expanded as the project went on, says the studio’s creative director Ash Watkins. The studio worked on everything from Pet’s at Home’s visual and verbal identity, to motion, spatial and web design.

The “Pets” word mark was crucial to uniting the company’s sub brands, according to Watkins. The goal was to create “something simple that could become iconic over time”, he says. By joining the letters together, Watkins explains how Nomad sought to represent the close relationship between pets and owners. Nomad added a subtle tail flick on the P to give it “an animalistic angle”, he says.

Nomad worked with Colophon type foundry to design two custom typefaces for the brand. Pets Headline was created for use across all of the brand’s channels, from grooming to vets, which meant striking a balance between “expressing joy and building trust”, says Watkins. To help with this, Nomad and Colophon opted for a rounded serif style with “unique character”, he adds.

The second custom typeface is Pets Sub Brand, which is used exclusively for denoting sub brands alongside the Pets wordmark. Design to embody the same “character quirks” as the logo, Watkins says that Pet Sub Brand features “tail-like descenders and sloped ascenders”, allowing it to “build attribution back to the main brand while still letting the sub brands shine”.

The studio commissioned Hannah Warren to a suite of bespoke illustrations for the brand that  “capture the eccentricity that owning a pet brings”. He describes how the illustrations are used in “a really functional way” to add “unexpected moments of humour”. For example, animals can be seen flying through the sky on giant syringes to remind owners about upcoming jabs.

For Pets at Home’s new graphic system, Nomad drew on shapes inspired by paw prints and fingerprints. The two closely interact and overlap throughout the identity, aiming to reinforce the notion of close owner-pet relationships established through the wordmark. Watkins says that it is “ultra flexible and distinctive” and provides “endless layout combinations”.

Though the recognisable Pets and Home green has been retained, Watkins says that Nomad revised the primary shade to make it “fresher” and set it against a darker background. This aims to make the identity more premium and modern “while still letting the famous green shine through”, he adds.

Previously, Pets at Home had been over-reliant on stock photography, which was often used to “fill space”, according to Watkins. He says that Nomad set new brand guidelines that any imagery used should be Pets at Home’s own and “pack an emotional punch”. The studio worked with photographer Roo Lewis on a suite of imagery “of real people and their pets” that feels a lot more “genuine”, Watkins adds.

Ryan says that the new brand system “creates a unified anchor”, with an approach to logo, font and colour that “aligns the whole Pets at Home world”.

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