Out with the new, in with the old

Nothing provokes the design community quite like a heritage brand getting a new look... If a company has been around for a while, chances are they've had a few logos in their time. Now more than ever, brands are reacting to the demanding landscape of consumer engagement and pressures of ever-changing digital formats. So where do you start, when you don’t know what’s coming next?

But rather than looking towards the future, often the first step is to review the past; to see what assets, stories and inspirations lie in the bygone era of your brand. There are several ways to leverage history in your identity, and here are some of our favourite examples.

The Globe Theatre

Rebranding a building and theatre company which started in 1576 was a fun challenge for The Partners, and they have nailed it, with a big idea that threads through every application of the new identity.

What’s the most inspiring factor of rebranding the Globe Theatre, which was built in the 16th Century? Well, it’s the Globe Theatre, which was built in the 16th Century. The new brand takes the shape of the building, which was printed using a block of the original timber from the magnificent theatre. The logo is used in really playful ways, which gives a new lease of life to a 500 year old piece of wood!

The Co-op

Without a doubt, a lot of designers take influence from the 60s – a time of beautiful boldness, seemingly timeless simplicity, all with a raw edge thanks to the pre-mac age.

When North were asked to revitalise the Co-op identity and make it feel less corporate, they looked back in time and found an almost-perfect logo ready and waiting in the archives. Returning to the 1968 Co-op logo “evokes nostalgic memories of local shops and dividend stamps” says the company “while to younger generations it suggests a modern brand of the future.” Some modern cuts in the lettering and a vibrant new colour elevate the brand, while singing the praises of it’s rich history. Top marks.


Booze brands often use on-pack storytelling to communicate their authority and credibility. When Here agency were asked to look at the Bacardi brand, they decided that all design details and typographic styles needed to come from the Bacardi archives. This focused the packaging design more on craft, heritage, and the creation of the product itself.

The result is a stunning new bottle, which takes inspiration from the brand icon of the early 20th Century. It embraces the history of the brand, the premiumness of the product, and creates a truly display-worthy piece with storytelling entwined.


… and then there’s those that don’t fancy changing things at all. The Boots logo has remained virtually unchanged since 1883 (it was created by Jesse Boot, the founder’s son), and is certainly a signpost for pharma across any UK high street. It suits the nature of the brand heritage, in that they used to sell handmade medications and this is obviously a hand-drawn script.

The Boots word marque is quite unusual in that it feels fitting for the sector, but when you look closely it’s actually a little bizarre. Some of the typographic idiosyncrasies feel a little odd; for example the double-ball terminals on the B, and the different balances of the o’s. While we’re sure any typographers would love to get their hands on it, the Boots logo has stood the test of time and carries great authority and trust.

What other throwback logos do you love? Let us know your favourites on Twitter. If you want to develop your own future with a new position in a design agency, take a look at our jobs for designers across Leeds and Manchester.