• Transform magazine
  • February 22, 2024

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Martin Guitar brand retuned by Coley Porter Bell

Martin Logo

With Martin Guitar’s 200th anniversary approaching, the London and New York-based branding design agency was tasked with evolving and strategically repositioning the brand. Coley Porter Bell’s work involved the creation of a new purpose: ‘to unleash the artist within’.

The heritage brand’s new direction utilises the extraordinary roster of iconic musicians over the years who have played with Martin guitars, including John Mayer, Kurt Cobain and Ed Sheeran. Playing on the emotional appeal of the brand, the agency designed a new “improvisational and rhythmically disciplined” verbal and visual identity for Martin Guitar.

Jenn Szekely, president of Coley Porter Bell, says, “We were entrusted by the Martin family and company to help this iconic American brand tell its story to its current and next generation of artists. This opportunity to reposition a brand so rich in legacy and artistry was an honour and not taken lightly.”

Much of the redesign aimed to stay true to the brand’s long history, as demonstrated by the colour palette update. In addition to keeping Martin Guitar’s famous green that has been used since the company’s founding, the new colour palette is amplified by more vibrant colours as a means of giving the brand’s expression a richer depth.

The other visual updates include an optimised logo, expressive typography, a new imagery style and a new design system. Elsewhere, the inclusion of animated textures and motifs are inspired by frets and strings.

From social media to trade show experiences, the rebrand extends to all touchpoints. Alongside the core refresh, the brand’s custom shop identity has also been altered in order to express the bespoke experience of purchasing a guitar from Martin.

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Szekely adds, “The new branding has the artists at its heart. From the dedicated loyalists who bond over Martin all around the world to the new and emerging players discovering the Martin tone and experience for the first time, Martin is the partner that is helping them ‘unleash the artist within.’”