Wolff Olins has rebranded energy company OVO, highlighting its customer base in its brand assets by using the hero square as “a window into consumers’ lives”.
In light of current economic conditions and the climate crisis, OVO is looking to find “a better way to do energy” and help customers reduce their carbon impact, which includes “investing in making smart technology affordable and offering innovative energy-saving”, says Wolff Olins senior creative director Stewart Davis.
To better communicate its renewed brand position, as OVO moves towards its net zero goals, the company looked to Wolff Olins to create a new design system and brand platform.
The strategy centres around “putting people at the heart of energy”, says Davis, as the company wants to stand out in the generally “corporate” energy sector. When the studio started its partnership with OVO, the company’s long-term design partner NB Studio had already completed the “foundational work” for the rebrand, “developing the typeface and identifying the square as the hero asset”, says Wolff Olins senior creative director Stewart Davis.
OVO’s square, which is first seen in its logo, now has a new purpose, acting as “a window into the customers’ worlds” as well as showcasing products and services, says Davis. “When photography is used in the square, we use dimension and parallax to create a volumetric feeling that gives a sense of empowerment to customers”, he explains.
He describes “staying true to the singularity of the square” as one of the project’s challenges but says that it ultimately made the identity feel “pure and connected”.
Building out the rest of the identity from the logo assured that everything in the design system had “a sense of shared DNA”, according to Davis. Wolff Olins employed the double-layered negative space in the logo to “create a sense of depth and tactility”, he says, allowing assets to exist in a three-dimensional space.
The DNA of the logo also informed OVO’s new iconography, illustrations and spatial design.
To avoid the brand becoming “flat and static”, motion was crucial to OVO’s new identity, as it wanted customers to feel as if it is “switched on” and “filled with natural energy”, says Davis. This notion informed the three key motion principles: the spin, when the square spins on its axis, revealing messaging and imagery to customers; the swipe, used to transition in and out of content; and, the scale, which guides customers through OVO’s platforms.
Davis says these “unique motion curves” allow OVO to “execute motion with speed and consistency”.
OVO’s photography style seeks to “celebrate people’s individuality”, says Davis, capturing “small spontaneous moments of authentic daily life”. He describes how the imagery is “connected by warm natural sunlight”, creating a cohesive look across the brand.
OVO’s signifying green hue has been updated and “elevated” in a bid to make the brand appear more confident and re-establish its position as a green energy company, according to Davis.
Wolff Olins’ work has influenced OVO’s UX and UI approach, and Davis says its new identity provides “more tools to create warmth and interactivity”. The studio also worked with OVO’s internal teams “to define how to apply assets in their digital environments”, he adds.