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Visual Identity of the Year

The story behind our Visual Identity of the Year

Ascot is a household name, an icon of British culture. However, while it attracts the world's best horses and jockeys, it was struggling to make further inroads into the consumer leisure market. Royal Ascot - its flagship summer event - is a well-known fixture in the British social calendar but was overshadowing the regular Ascot race meetings throughout the year. 

The challenge was to deliver a premium visual identity system that would make sense of the relationship between Ascot, the destination, and Royal Ascot, the event. 

The solution was to create one overarching destination brand – Ascot – that flexes to deliver Royal Ascot, the one-off luxury occasion. The Clearing developed two visual identity systems; both underpinned by the brand promise ‘Raise the Standard.’ This ensures that the traditions and heritage of ‘the royal racecourse’ always run through everything. 

The two visual identity systems share similar elements, but together feel different enough to be clearly distinguishable. The logos echo each other, both retaining a modernised version of the crown element. The Clearing chose a contemporary sans serif typeface, Neutraface 2, as the primary headline typeface for Ascot, with a classical serif typeface, Chronicle, as a secondary. For Royal Ascot, this was reversed to give it a more refined feeling reflective of its status. 

Both brands feature navy blue, but the Royal Ascot colourway retains cream as its core background, with gold detailing as a nod to its regal heritage. For Ascot, a secondary palette was introduced of contemporary shades including teal, blue, an orange, coral pink and a purple. A shared pattern inspired by jockeys’ silks runs through both identities, to be reproduced in the respective colourways. 

The new identity system is already having an impact, appearing across all branded communications for the 2016 calendar – from ATL advertising and printed collateral to destination branding at each race-day. It has successfully reinforced Royal Ascot’s position as the jewel in the crown of the UK racing calendar, while simultaneously raising the profile of other Ascot race-days.