Five minutes with Steffan Cummins
Transform magazine spoke to Steffan Cummins, design lead at creative agency Wolff Olins, about the recent Tesco Mobile rebrand, from how he managed to create a fresh brand whilst keep it in line with the overall Tesco family to how the project has changed pre-existing conceptions of the Tesco Mobile brand.
How did you position the Tesco Mobile brand within the mobile phone sector?
We worked closely with Tesco Mobile to elevate its mobile network and help it embody a new sense of quality, helpfulness and expertise. It’s commonly mistaken as a budget network, so we leveraged the simplicity of the Tesco masterbrand to evolve the Tesco Mobile brand and breathe new life into a national network.
What challenges did you have to face in regards to the Tesco Masterbrand and its relationship with its sub-brands?
Tesco is one of our long-standing partners. We worked with them to help to re-establish the supermarket’s central role in the nation’s life. With this came a simplified approach to its portfolio of sub-brands that was designed to help both Tesco and its sub-brands draw value from the close relationship.
At the heart of the simplified Tesco brand was a modular design blueprint, that is able to adapt for each of the sub-brands. This means each sub-brand can borrow hardwired elements from masterbrand, such as its beautifully crafted Tesco Modern typeface, while offering space for other elements such as expression or imagery to flex and meet the need of the sub-brand and its audience.
How did you manage to create a fresh brand while bringing the brand expression more in line with the Tesco family?
This really is testament to the quality and thoughtfulness of the design system at the heart of the Tesco brand. The work developed at the core, to strengthen the use of its core colours (blue, red and white), introduce a simple and beautiful typeface that has broad appeal and more, offers a fresh, modern and meaningful base to build from.
How has this project changed pre-existing conceptions of the Tesco Mobile brand?
We have designed a brand built to change perceptions and drive towards a focus on quality, helpfulness and expertise. We have been working closely with the internal teams to help deliver across all channels from UX, App, Web, CRM and internal colleagues. Creating a partnership with this level of depth, puts the system straight into the hands of the specialists that are responsible for making the vision a reality.
In what ways does the new brand strengthen Tesco Mobile’s position within the telecommunications market while retaining the core brand values of quality, expert and helpful?
Our intent was to use design to drive the new values of quality, expert and helpful, so we looked beyond the Telco market, at other brands that are setting the highest standards in the mind of customers. Telco is a market where all brands seem to have something to prove. They all try to shout louder than one another. We wanted to use this opportunity to elevate the Tesco Mobile brand, and create stronger parity with customer-focussed utility brands. We wanted to create a confident brand that feels mature and ultimately focussed on making things simple, removing unnecessary wallpaper graphics and using design to help people navigate and appreciate everything the network has to offer.