Kathmandu treks the rebrand trail

If you’re the outdoorsy, travel-type, any day now you should start noticing some changes at clothing and equipment retail chain Kathmandu. Over the past year the folks at Strategy Advertising and Design have been working on a re-brand for the company, after Kathmandu asked it to help deliver its brand forward. Gone is the green, yellow and red-framed logo with numerous peaks underneath. The multi-coloured arrangement of the past has been replaced with a block-lettered white logo featuring two small mountain-like shapes on top.

The logo may be new, but its typface isn’t. Designed by Adrian Frutiger, the aptly called ‘Frutiger’ typeface was commissioned in 1968 before being released in 1975. It was chosen for the Kathmandu logo to give it a timeless feel. As for the stripping back of the mountains, Strategy says the new look still reflects the mountain inspiration of the previous logo, but makes it easier to translate to zip pulls and other product branding.

The new logo was tested on customers and the Kathmandu board, while its translation in billboards and shop displays was also considered.








But Strategy says the re-brand involves a lot more than a logo and is the result of a thorough investigation into the strengths of the entire brand.

“Successful retail brands evolve over time to ensure they remain relevant
and compelling to their customers,” says Kathmandu managing director Peter Halkett, adding the company sought to “refresh the
brand, align the brand across all aspects of the business, reflect our design philosophy and most importantly capture the spirit of ‘inspiring adventure’”.

Kathmandu is one of the few large outdoors brands that still does all of its design in-house. But while the company’s design philosophy finds strength at the product design level, the philosophy has failed to have the same reach for the rest of the company or its customers. Strategy says the challenge was to bring to light the strengths of the Kathmandu brand and then empower the company to effectively communicate those strengths to its staff and customers.

Next, the design agency looked at all the different ways the brand would be implemented and set up a overarching design council to make sure that each of those branches of the company were working to the same specifications. This resulted in a detailed brand architecture being drawn up.

“What we’ve learned is that brand architecture should be organic systems,” says Strategy creative director Guy Pask. “If a system is too rigid, it will break. A brand is theoretical at the beginning. It has to be applied and reviewed and then guidelines can be put in place.”

Strategy says the re-brand has brought out the existing value of the brand and helped to permeate that through the staff, where it will flow on to the customer.

The re-brand is being rolled out this month with newly branded product following suit in the next six to nine months.


It's a goner

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