Client
UpSkill Universe
Sector
Learning
Services
Branding
/
Messaging
/
Website
/

UpSkill Universe – the evolution of a brand identity

It’s a challenge many successful businesses face. Five to ten years on from inception, the original brand identity no longer reflects the size, diversity and potential of the evolved company.

Such was the dilemma facing UpSkill.

The fledgling digital skills training provider had grown into a global organisation operating in 34 countries worldwide. Its digital skills learning now stood alongside its Social Impact programmes and Diversity and Inclusion training. What’s more, UpSkill’s own people were uncertain as to who and what the company was now.

It needed more than a brand refresh. It needed a whole new identity that conveyed its common purpose – a universe of limitless potential.

A cute hedgehog

Objectives

Brewd’s work focused on three main objectives.

  1. Developing and diversifying a business invariably leads to internal change and restructuring. UpSkill therefore wanted the new identity to instil a sense of unity and pride among its employees and freelance trainers.
  2. UpSkill had already trained around 600,000 individuals and had set a target of one million by the end of 2024. The rebrand needed to reflect the company’s leading position as well as set the stage for further growth.
  3. No longer just a digital expert, the new identity had to capture the ethos, growth and diversity of both the new service offering and the wider customer base.

Challenge

The UpSkill project needed so much more than just a new logo and colour palette.

  • Brand architecture – we needed to create a new brand and name that would encompass who UpSkill had become and unify its three sub-brands.
  • Employee engagement – we needed to provide employees with a compelling narrative they could believe in, be proud of and share throughout the wider organisation.
  • Transition and rollout – we needed to streamline the rebranding of over 450 course presentations, trainer documents, handouts and learner manuals, ensuring a smooth and simple transition.
  • Name change – partway through the project, UpSkill changed its name from UpSkill Digital to UpSkill Universe to better reflect the nature of the business. This change had to be incorporated into the new brand identity.
A cute hedgehog

Approach

We worked with the Head of Marketing and UpSkill CEO and founder Gori Yahaya to explore the brand and agree creative direction.

  • LVB framework – our Lovable, Viable, Believable (LVB) framework laid the foundations for the entire rebranding process. LVB helps us create brands that people will love, believe in and buy into.
  • Messaging workshop – by refining the key brand elements (vision, mission, purpose, value proposition, values, brand personality, tone of voice and messaging) we pulled out essential phrases to form the base for effective communication.
  • Stylescapes – to transition from ideas to design, we crafted three distinctive brand identity concepts (Stylescapes) to show how the logo, colours, fonts, typography, messaging, imagery, illustration and iconography would work in practice. These moved from a ‘mild’ to ‘medium’ to ‘spicy’ slant, demonstrating how the existing brand could evolve into an expected, challenging or boundary pushing identity.
  • Logo – a major part of the exercise was the creation of a new logo. Determined not to incorporate the overused arrow, we chose instead to show ‘up’ in the complementary imagery: people looking upwards, optimistic images, a guiding star. By starting with a U shaped window or portal, we created a frame in which to put the arrow, star and three sub-business verticals.
A cute hedgehog

Deliverables & Outcomes

The six-month project grew from an initial brand redesign into a complete transformation of the brand identity. We produced a comprehensive portfolio of brand communication assets.

  • System – the selected Stylescape was refined and transformed into a comprehensive design system. This allowed us to create a framework to guide future design decisions and ensure a consistent brand experience.
  • Sub-brand identities – having created the iconography for UpSkillUniverse, we designed logos for the three ‘galaxies’ (Inclusion, Workforce andImpact) to reflect both the Universe family and each skillset’s specialistarea.
  • Bespoke icons – as using generic icons can damage brand consistency, we created 64 bespoke icons with an identical size, style and colour.
  • Website – by creating a style template for various web pages, we were able to provide the web development agency Fishtankagency.com with a modular design tool. The result would enable UpSkill to add and adapt content, and manage their own online presence.
  • Brand guidelines – to ensure the new identity is consistent across all marketing communications platforms, we worked with a tone of voice specialist and developed a 32-page brand guidelines document outlining how the iconography, typography, colour palettes, imagery and verbal identity should be used.
  • Templates – part of the consistency package was the creation of style templates for PowerPoint, stationery and social media posts.

UpSkill Universe now has an aspirational brand identity that positions it firmly within the consultancy services domain.

Everything aligns seamlessly with a systematic visual and messaging template that provides a cohesive identity across all touchpoints.

A dynamic colour palette not only mirrors the group's culture, it also distinguishes the various vertical markets with which they engage.

Evocative brand imagery features an array of diverse individuals, emphasising inclusivity and encapsulating the hopes and dreams of its candidates.

As the new strapline says, UpSkill Universe welcomes everyone to a universe of limitless potential.

“This rebrand is a pivotal moment for us, a celebration of the blood, sweat, and tears the team has poured in over the years and the exciting trajectory our company is on. We are so much more than just a digital skills training provider, and our new brand echoes that.”
Gori Yahaya, Founder

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