HKLM is proud to share our latest brand refresh, that of RMB. We put together a handy Q & A with Denton Pretorius, lead designer on the project, to share the process, inspiration, and reasons behind their strategic business move.
Why refresh RMB?
Brands need to remain relevant. As technology continues to evolve, products and services should evolve.
The previous RMB identity did an outstanding job for many years, building enormous equity along the way; but it was rooted in the past and unable to adapt to a modern, digital age.
What did the refresh involve?
Our goal was to simplify. Through refining RMB’s positioning and purpose, we were able to ensure all communication was strategically aligned from the start.
The first step was to remove the legal line and descriptor from the identity lock-up, placing more emphasis on the symbol and wordmark.
The research revealed that the lion held the majority of equity and, so the decision to remove the key wasn’t difficult.
What was challenging though, was evolving the lion from a traditionally heraldic one to a more natural, African lion without jeopardising its essence and harming the brand. We explored and crafted many variations, especially focusing on details like the eyes and mouth that can carry a lot of the symbol’s personality, allowing it to be seen as bold and confident, but not intimidating.
A new bespoke wordmark was created to compliment the lion’s geometry and also pays homage to traditional typography in the form of a serif-font. The revised wordmark is bold enough to work at all sizes and, being custom-made for RMB, it brings a subtle touch of modern elegance to the identity.
The final step was to create a visual language that would allow the brand to be consistent across all channels and would still adhere to minimalist principles while being effective and aligned to the brand personality.
The refresh involved a custom typeface. What was the reason for this and what impact did it have on the refresh as a whole?
The opportunity to work alongside a type-designer to create RMB Sans was definitely a highlight for me. By creating a custom typeface for the brand we could decide exactly how each letter could embody RMB’s personality, establishing an ownable visual communication style that is truly unique and ultimately recognisable over time.
What has been the most rewarding part of this process for you?
I’d have to say the most rewarding part has been the positive reaction from the RMB team and their staff to the rebrand! So far everyone seems excited about the change, and you can really sense the pride they have to be a part of it all.
Using this refresh as a reference, what advice would you give other brands considering a brand refresh?
It can seem intimidating to refresh your brand, but the initial investment both from a financial and time perspective is well worth it in the long term. The refresh can solve some alignment issues between what you’re saying and what your brand is actually doing — and the market recognises this disparity.
You witness brands self-destructing on a regular basis trying to “find themselves” in an already volatile market, so my only advice would be to partner with a reputable specialist and do it right the first time.
You can learn more about the RMB brand refresh here and here.