DEBENHAMS + MOTHER

Repositioning an historic British department store

BRANDING

Founded in 1778, Debenhams is a department store with a wonderfully storied past. “The Labourer deserves good things”, leads the Debenham family crest, neatly expressing a heritage of originating staff welfare and support, national expansion through acquisition, and the democratisation of luxury – delivering upmarket goods and shopping experiences to the high street.

Fast-forward to 2018 and a two-decade-old identity was failing to inspire customers and keep-up with competition. With an exciting vision for the future, a freshly installed CEO forged a new energy focused on signalling a confident change towards the future.

Appointed Debenhams’ new creative and strategic partner, the renowned London agency Mother commissioned our creative director to lead the development of the historic department store’s new brand identity.

Debenhams, brand identity design by Chris Colville-Walker at Mother London
Debenhams, brand identity design by Chris Colville-Walker at Mother London

Working with London agency Mother, our creative director lead the modern, joyful and expressive identity for the high street retailer.

Debenhams, brand identity design by Chris Colville-Walker at Mother London
Debenhams, brand identity design by Chris Colville-Walker at Mother London

BRAND PALETTE

Research into Debenhams’ heritage unearthed many branding starting points, including the Arts & Crafts decor of Peacock House (the west London home of the Debenham family) and a short-lived 1980s slab serif logo; inspiring the new colour palette and angled cuts in the new logo.

Type foundry Swiss Typefaces helped finalise the logo and created a customised typeface, aptly named Debenhams SangBleu, to provide an elegant touch and modern personality to brand touch-points including advertising, in store and online.

With a visually engaging photo and film art direction, upbeat and fun illustration style, and contemporary tone of voice, the components of the brand palette work smartly and cohesively together to express the new Debenhams brand identity.

Debenhams, brand identity design by Chris Colville-Walker at Mother London
Debenhams, brand identity design by Chris Colville-Walker at Mother London
© Timothy Hunt
Debenhams, brand identity design by Chris Colville-Walker at Mother London