MAKEOUT rebrands the European Union by making it about you

The EU rebranding is a statement. Proud, strong and hopeful. Respectful and grateful towards EU history and at the same time firm, solid and hopeful towards the future.

A couple of months ago we were thinking about a way to add something extra to the launch of our brand new branding agency MAKEOUT. The first rule to set the stage as a new branding agency is ’show, don’t tell’, so we came up with the idea to show our skills in a fictional case instead of only using words. We wanted to do something big, ambitious and foremost thoughtful — in any way not evoke the reaction “something I’ve seen before”. Eventually the idea arose to rebrand the European Union.

Creating a brand we all love and feel attracted to again

We felt it was time to rejuvenate the EU brand. Time to turn ‘EU’ into a brand we all love and feel attracted to again. We don’t have to wait for politicians to take things into action. Being pro-active by showing that we, you, the people, our humanity, are the cement holding the EU together.

The European Union has been shaking in its foundations. There have been moments of crisis, doubt and defeatism, recent examples like the Brexit, the refugee crisis and other members of the Union talking about a potential exit strategy, understate this. Recent elections in The Netherlands and France also show us another side, a positive signal with a pro-Europe vote. Two vital countries within the EU that still believe in a united future.

Reason to doubt the EU

Hot news topics that show the EU is relevant today. And at the same time give reason to doubt the current brand identity. The identity doesn’t illuminate it’s future proof and face the next big challenges. All the more reason to state it’s time for a change. Time to rebrand the EU brand. The current brand has lost its connection with its “customers” — the citizens. Failed in their mission to convince them and be part of a joint story, called the EU.

The EU represents a large community and faces the challenge to convince everybody within this community of the added value of óne Union. A lot of citizens don’t see the extra value anymore. In their perception it’s a waste of money to pay a fortune on salaries for politicians in Brussels or Strasbourg. The feeling of getting nothing in return takes the upper hand.

EU are the future

We reused the recognizable elements from the current EU brand. The stars and the yellow color are embedded in the logomark ‘EU’. The dark blue is split in two lighter tones to create more dynamic with lines that form paths, which are a representation of all citizens united in the EU.

From a strategical and visual point of view we made it our mission to inspire the EU citizens and politicians. We want to show the EU still has a bright future ahead of it. Citizens just have to be aware of all the positive things. The negative image needs to be transformed. Today we still tend to declare we’re not feeling that connection with other EU countries. and lack of unity. It’s our mission to give that sense of understanding, making them feel whole again. One Union, one story.

Obviously the logomark ‘EU’ is an abbreviation of the Union’s name. The stars and letters combined emphasize the role and the importance of the individual (‘you’ — ‘U’) in the whole of the EU, and each country that’s part of it.

By relaunching the EU brand we want to prove it’s no longer Xanadu. It’s a Union that looks forward, but does not lose track of its heritage. With respect for our history and ready for what’s coming in the future. Proud of the all the achievements the Union has realized. The values it represents. Things that we as consumers of this brand, have been taking for granted for a long time. Brand values such as freedom of speech, sex and gender, religion, civil rights, trade- and business opportunities, the freedom to move around, the right to make our own political choices, the protection we are granted by the EU. Values that we naturally take for granted. But they are not that self-evident.

These ‘values’ as we call them are the cornerstones of our society. We have to realize these are the bricks that build our communities. It’s not that bad as we think in the EU. We wanted to unite these things in a strong visual style that feels modern and attracts a large audience.

We are all humans, we are individuals. And together we are EU. EU are YOU.

Keywords and key thoughts are used as a constant reminder of EU achievements and of the values and attributes that EU is built on.
The pattern and lines of the flag form uniting paths. This system is consistently used in all applications to point towards the message we want to highlight. As a sign off we used the EU logomark in combination with a keyword of the EU to identify each important cornerstone.
As a continuation of the thoughts and directions described above, the stationary pattern symbolizes the crossing paths of people, organizations and nations within the EU.
The already familiar ‘EU Blue’ and ‘EU Yellow’ are the primary colours. In combination with the flag pattern they create both familiarity and dynamics.

It all starts with yourself

We like to think that we might have contributed at least a little something, a little positivism to the perception to the brand-in-distress that is the EU. As a branding agency MAKEOUT is proud to be part of this EU project. We’ve noticed that by launching this project in Belgium it got picked up by Belgian press, and received a lot of — mostly positive — comments.

We thoroughly enjoyed working on this — albeit fictional — case. We want to share this story with you and hope it continues to inspire people, citizens, decision makers and U.

Learn more about MAKEOUT

Like what you read? Give Vincent Janssen a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.