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Rethink Designs New Brand Identity Entirely from Branding’s Most Overlooked Symbol

13/04/2023
Advertising Agency
Toronto, Canada
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New identity uses the most overlooked symbol, the registered trademark (®)

Creatives/designers in the branding industry don’t give much thought to the registered trademark symbol (®) – the ubiquitous mark that’s tacked onto logos the world over. That was until Rethink - the world’s leading independent creative agency - gave the overlooked symbol a new innovative purpose as the sole element used to create the entire visual identity for RGD’s first-ever branding-specific award.

The Association of Registered Graphic Designers (RGD) is Canada’s largest professional association for graphic designers. This year they are introducing the RGD Branding Awards to celebrate the best in branding and design from around the globe.

Rethink designed the identity for the awards entirely out of branding’s most overlooked symbol: the registered trademark (®). 

The symbol was used in an array of unconventional ways to create a simple, yet robust identity system. First, using nothing more than the ® symbol, Rethink designed a custom typeface - Registered Grotesk - that features more than 160 unique characters, multi-language support, and a host of OpenType features. Rethink extended the ®-only system by developing a dynamic suite of graphics for both static and moving executions for both print and digital outreach material.

Rethink even exclusively used ®s to painstakingly re-create portraits for each of the internationally acclaimed judges – which include Astrid Stavro (VP, Collins), Forest Young (former CCO, Wolff Olins), and Shaun Loftman (ECD, Landor & Fitch) – giving them an iconic, bespoke asset for social media outreach.

Ultimately, nothing but the ® symbol was used to create the entire identity system, taking branding’s most overlooked symbol and turning it into something worth celebrating.

“The biggest challenge for brands these days is standing out,” says Hans Thiessen, partner and creative director of design at Rethink, “So to design a truly distinct identity for RGD’s inaugural Branding Awards, we embraced a deceptively simple idea – creating the identity entirely out of branding’s most overlooked symbol – to craft something that’s as unexpected as it is impactful.”

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