Maiden voyage for charity brand
In 1989, Tracy Edwards MBE skippered the first ever all-female crew in the three-yearly Volvo Ocean Race, then known as the Whitbread Round the World Yacht Race. Sailing in a 58-foot yacht known as Maiden, Edwards and her crew came second in class with Edwards awarded 'Yachtsman of the year.' She was the first female to achieve this honour. Now, 28 years later, the Maiden’s pioneering legacy lives on through the launch of a global not-for-profit organisation which focuses on female empowerment and access to education for young girls.
To realise its dream, the Maiden Factor approached Bristol, UK-based design agency Taxi Studio with a clear brief to avoid the classic tropes associated with female-focused branding. Instead, the brand aesthetic is based on the ambitious, fearless women who crewed Maiden on its most famous voyage.
The Maiden Factor’s logo represents, says creative head at Taxi Studio, Karl Wills, a traditional boat steering wheel while incorporating the universal gender symbol for female. With the symbol naturally repeated throughout the traditionally nautical design, the imagery suggests women coming together to empower their gender in every society and community.
Wills says, “Our creative inspiration came from the boat’s helm – a distinct, visual metaphor, connecting the brand to the Maiden Factor’s nautical heritage and reflecting how the organisation is steering the way in empowering girls through education.”
In a further nod to the Maiden Factor's innovative and unique identity, Taxi Studio applied red, grey and gold as the lead palette in the Maiden Factor branding. While the colour choice avoids classic ‘female’ tropes, it is also a nod to the charity's sponsorship by Royal Jordanian Airlines, which has livery decorated with these shades. Furthermore, the colour choice has a nautical heritage link; Maiden was decorated in red, grey and gold throughout its lifespan.
A bespoke typeface has also been developed, based on the original Maiden livery which used Didot font. “We are proud to have worked with the Maiden Factor to create such a fearless female brand and support its inspirational world mission,” says Kate Lenton, managing director at Taxi Studio.
“Taxi Studio has been magnificent. They listened to what we wanted, kept us in the loop and came up with a brand we loved. It truly represents the Maiden Factor,” says Edwards.
The Maiden Factor aims to carry on Maiden’s iconic legacy and provide educational opportunities for some of the 66 million girls across the world currently without access to prolonged schooling. A not-for-profit organisation, its associated charity is Maiden Education.
After falling into disrepair in the Indian Ocean, a crowdfunding campaign and widespread donations saw Maiden repurchased in November 2016. She sailed back to the UK in 2017. Maiden is expected to be relaunched in June 2017 and complete a series of nautical events, including a world tour.