Arcadia

A timeless platform for a house of fashion brands

The Arcadia group owns some of the world’s most loved and progressive high-street fashion brands. The corporate identity, however, was not optimised to support their evolving brand architecture, and didn’t allow the vibrant character of its retail brands to shine. After winning the project at pitch, we worked with Arcadia’s leadership to leverage the power of their portfolio to create an identity that reflected their position as an iconic fashion house.

The Arcadia business needed to complement the diverse characters of each of its brands which include industry-leaders Burton, Dorothy Perkins, Evans, Miss Selfridge, Topman, Topshop, Wallis, Outfit and BHS. With 2,500 outlets in over 30 countries, and a rapidly growing e-commerce operation, their overarching identity needed to support and keep pace with the business’ global growth.

Story

The equilateral triangle is a shorthand for Arcadia’s business strategy and portfolio of brands; scalable and solid in structure. The triangle was brought to life in the first letter of their name, the ‘A’. The elegantly simple and understated equilateral triangle coupled with the mantra ‘black is always in fashion’ underpinned the design.

The first step towards a more contemporary yet classic brand was transitioning the name. We recommended progressing from the registered Arcadia Group Limited to the colloquially used Arcadia, creating a more succinct, memorable, and useable identifier for the group. This was the platform for a more expressive, future-focused identity.

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System

Darren Bowles, Creative Director, explained, “Our intention was to create an identity system that has confidence and flexibility, leveraging a timeless simplicity to balance the seasonally relevant communications of the retail brands it represents.”

The ‘A’ has been crafted as a direct evolution of the identity’s original symbol, maintaining equity whilst adding elegance and gravitas. The mark has individually crafted characters and simple geometric forms with confident angles derived from the equilateral form of the ‘A’. The existing Arcadia triangle is retained as a sign-off or stamp of excellence.

The timeless colour palette once again references ‘black is always in fashion.’ Contrast comes from the structured use of either of the two colour palettes – ‘vibrant’ or ‘muted.’ These palettes can complement seasonal trends within each of the brands.

To give depth to the visual identity, we created a series of graphic textures, line details and photographic and typographic principles, all derived from the DNA of the wordmark. The 30º angle suggests dynamism, encapsulating Arcadia’s future-focused model.

We highlighted the opportunity for Arcadia to utilise the seasonal photography of their portfolio brands. Unifying the photography and integrating textural forms created a framework to utilise their photographic assets and bring life to the corporate brand.

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Experience

The Arcadia website shows how the new visual identity system creates a striking showcase for each of the Arcadia brands, whilst allowing them to share their individual stories. Best practice design templates were provided for stationery, business cards and internal presentation tools.

We partnered with the Group Marketing team on spatial design concepts and press launch invites, and printed communications including magazines, Annual Reports and HR communications.

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