2016 was a big year for the Co-op. With the announcement that 100 new stores are set to open and a major rebrand now in place, there is an unmissable and exciting new energy in the organisation that has been such an integral part of Manchester’s narrative for over 180 years.
This new zeal and vision are helping the organisation to build on and celebrate the Co-op’s unique heritage and values. The 2016 rebrand drew inspiration from their 1968 brand identity and logo and the wider Co-op team have been busy translating the Co-op’s longstanding principles into the modern digital age in which the organisation now exists.
An important catalyst for change has been the creation of the new Co-op Digital team, whose ambition is to build on the company’s brand values to create new digital products, services and platforms that will support new and future Co-op businesses and customers.
The Co-op’s headquarters are situated in Manchester’s city centre neighbourhood: NOMA. While the majority of the Co-op team are in the area’s iconic One Angel Square building, the Co-op Digital team needed to find a new, but nearby home that would provide the space they needed to grow and deliver.
Just over the road from One Angel Square is Federation House: an eight storey Victorian structure that was one of the Co-op’s pioneering buildings. Federation House was selected as the perfect place for the Co-op Digital team and in 2016 work began on a major refurbishment programme. This presented the opportunity to design an environment that was purpose built with collaboration at its core and would also be able to house a community of other like-minded people and businesses.
What we did
With phase one of the refurbishment complete and the building ready to launch, The Co-op Digital team invited us to work with them to develop the initial brand identity and narrative for the space. This identity needed to reflect their core values and ambition ready to be shared with potential occupiers, partners and stakeholders.
Our first stage of the design journey focussed on drawing inspiration from the building’s rich history. Using the National Co-operative Archive as a resource, we immersed ourselves in stories and artefacts from Federation House’s history. Our exploration led us to particular items (ranging from flags to archive photography) that felt emblematic of the project’s ambition.
Following the design exploration phase, we then ran a series of workshops with the Co-op team to establish the key audiences and messaging. This enabled us to quickly and collaboratively capture the core offering and explore ways to express the heart of what The Federation stands for. This led us to an original and bold identity that we hope will help give The Federation’s digital pioneers a place to be proud of.