Shell launches new identity

Fuel giant Shell is to launch a fresh retail identity for the first time since 1994, created by Conran Design Group.

Fuel giant Shell is to launch a fresh retail identity for the first time since 1994, created by Conran Design Group.

CDG, which is one of Shell’s aligned partner consultancies, was handed a brief for the retail visual identity to ensure cost efficiency and to create a more customer-friendly and contemporary image.

The consultancy has created a look that features an increased use of white, clearly highlights information on prices and special offers, and enables customers to enter and exit the forecourts easily.

In addition, the logo has been replaced by a three-dimensional shell-shaped symbol, which will appear on canopies and monolith signs across the global retail sites.

Jane Simmonds, managing partner at CDG, says: ‘The brief was very specific. There were three points and one was to modernise, given that the competition has been doing so in the past few years. Also, we were asked to lose some of the costs from the existing identity. The third was strategically the most important for Shell, to help make service stations more customer-friendly.’

The design can currently be seen as a prototype at some of Shell’s retail sites in Turkey and will launch globally throughout 2007. The previous design was created by Addison.

Bruce Rosengarten, Shell’s global vice president of retail marketing, says: ‘Our new retail visual identity will help to keep our brand image modern and up-to-date. It is designed to increase the speed and ease through our forecourts and will enable us to effectively communicate about our products.’

Shell has revised its corporate identity regularly over the years, but has retained the basic elements of the name, colours and typeface for almost a century.

Within the oil business, fuel groups generally try to have one simple name and one visual look wherever they go. This is because they are ‘powerful adherents of the monolithic approach’, writes Wally Olins in his book Corporate Identity.


• Shell’s retail identity was last designed in 1984 by Addison
• Shell has used just one main name and visual style since 1900, but with regular tweaks to keep it up to date
• Between 1900 and 1904 the fuel giant’s main identity was a black-and-white flat shell. In 1904, the shell changed to resemble the iconic upright version, but remained black-and-white
• From 1948, the image became red and yellow, and featured the name Shell across it, until 1971, when the name was dropped

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  • Edward Bradfield November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Your excellent article mentions oil companies’ desire for a simple name and one visual look. Historically this was to enable the driver on a fast highway to identify the brand from a distance. In turn the customer had assurance of consistent product quality even far from home – important in the early days of extremely variable fuel specifications. Hence strong logos – eg Shell’s Pecten, Mobil’s Flying Horse, Texaco’s Lone Star etc etc- that were even more important than the company name.

    Edward Bradfield
    Energy Consultant

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