Sports brand Asics has been rebranded, dropping its previously “clinical” look for one that reflects “the joy of playing sport”.
Asics was founded in 1949 in Japan as a basketball shoe retailer, and then branched out into other sports. Today it is best known as a specialist and tailor-made running store.
The new visual identity has been created by Bruce Mau Design, and is the first brand change the company has seen in 10 years.
“Iconic” spiral logo kept
Asics’ “iconic” spiral logo has been retained along with the light and royal blue colours associated with the brand, because they are “core elements” and “maintain consistency”, says Chris Braden, creative director at Bruce Mau Design.
But the colour palette has been expanded with bright shades of pink, purple, green and yellow, and will be extended further to suit future product ranges.
“We wanted to bring a youthful energy to the palette,” says Braden. “Attracting a younger audience is part of it, but also getting across the joy of playing sport. Other brands in the category are quite dark and intense, conveying competition and winning. This is an antidote to that, with a feeling of fun.”
A new bespoke typeface developed in collaboration with design studio Kontrapunkt has been incorporated, which looks to “avoid clichés” of sports branding, such as “italics and thin typefaces”, adds Braden.
Photography of people participating in sports aims to capture the “story”, not just the “climactic” moments of movement such as completing a race.
Target people beyond the “dedicated runner”
The new look aims to make the brand more accessible to a wider audience overall, targeting both “Asics’ core group of dedicated runners” alongside “those who see sports more casually”, says Braden.
It aims to move away from a focus on running technology and engineering towards being “a little bit more fashionable”, and a “lifestyle” brand as well as sporting brand.
“The brand was clinical with a lot of blue, white and silver,” says Braden. “It didn’t have the warmth that people experience when they play. Sports have become more cultural – it’s a social activity, and it’s not just what you wear during football, it’s what you wear afterwards. People want to feel and look good while playing.”
He adds: “It’s part of the overall change in sports culture. We’re purposefully not trying to be a different version of Nike and Adidas – it’s something unique in the category.”
The new branding is currently rolling out across packaging, print materials, online platforms and store interiors worldwide. It was revealed in London this week as part of a new advertising campaign, which launched at the 2017 International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships.