Founded in 1884 to serve the booming local bicycle, car and machine tool industries, Coventry Building Society today is the second largest building society in the UK. Now trusted by two million people, with a network of over seventy branches.
We were appointed in late 2019 to help re-invigorate Coventry Building Society’s brand strategy and visual identity.
The Society’s new strategy ‘All together, better’, was born from a desire to amplify the business’s already firm community ties and ideals of ‘doing the right thing’ alongside contemporary service expectations of accessibility, ease, clarity, engagement and continuous improvement.
From the very outset, the focus was on a ‘digital first’ approach. The team at Coventry Building Society were devoting all their energy to building an entirely new digital platform to support the strategy and the brand, so the visual identity had to be functionally fit for purpose as well as able to reflect the society’s warmth and charm.
At the heart of their own community as well as those of their customers, it was a huge responsibility to help Coventry Building Society in preparation for their transformation during Coventry’s year as UK’s City of Culture 2021.
The most notable change we introduced was a new, bold, flexible, illustrated brand property.
Focussing on the ‘mutual’ offering of building societies being for the community and ‘local’, Coventry Building Society were able to reclaim their natural territory.
Working alongside artist Eiko Ojala, we created a multi-coloured ‘paper-craft’ landscape, representing the society’s diverse customers and communities across the UK. Details of this landscape appear across all brand communications and come to life as animations across the digital marketing communications.
Eiko’s papercut illustrative technique is a vital part of the new visual language for Coventry Building Society and a visual metaphor for ‘Altogether better’ ‘All together, better’ in terms of the community, warmth and care that define Coventry Building Society. It is as important as the logo, colours, typeface or tone of voice in growing share of mind among customers. The relationship with Eiko and Coventry Building Society is also continual, with an agreement to create new illustrations when necessary to add dynamism and momentum to the brand over time.
Coventry Building Society worked closely with us and Univers Labs to help bring their digital presence to life with extensive collaborative workshops, scrums and design iterations, ensuring the digital team were fully involved from the beginning. Fortunately, these interactions were face to face at the beginning of the project and this contributed to the smooth running of the project via video calls over the following year.
Creating the landscape with Eiko was trickier than it looks; we needed to create an illustration that gave us multiple different crops for print and digital, where each crop had a good balance of content and useful shapes.
All our design considerations were made with accessibility in mind, especially when it came to text sizes, coloured backgrounds, tone of voice, sentence lengths and information retention across digital as well as printed comms. All the applications and templates we helped create were rigorously tested before production, which speaks to the commitment of Coventry Building Society to its members.
All together, better
Community is at the heart of everything Coventry Building Society stands for, now it has a brand identity which reflects that. The vibrant and positive Community
illustration is the hero of the BrandWorld and we’re extremely proud of how this asset has helped differentiate the second largest Building Society in the UK.
It was important for us to deliver a brand which retained those great qualities of a building society but be ownable within it’s sector. To distinguish the society we built a BrandWorld inspired by paper-craft, which has allowed Coventry to become tactile, authentic and for the community.
Together we’ve created a new brand identity that lives and breathes the Society’s purpose but with an added sparkle of magic. And, with our friends at Univers Labs, we’ve helped completely reimagine and transform the digital experience for customers.
We and the client were both keen to avoid the traditional stock imagery and photography usually associated with banks and building societies, so leading with an illustrative world was a big step forward in creating a world of their own.
The creation of our new visual identity has marked a massive step forward for our brand. During its development, and creative refinement we have had to adapt to new ways of working, and bespoke challenges, SomeOne have guided us, supported us, and worked with us in partnership to make it happen. We are over the moon with the end result, and excited about how we utilise it to take our brand forward. We set out with clear principles for success, it needed to be distinctive, true to our brand, but just as importantly consistently applied with rigour and discipline. The team have helped us to do this, and we are really pleased with the outcomes.