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May 26, 2016


Yesterday I stopped into my local supermarket to see if the news was true. And it was. The Cooperative has gotten a makeover.


The Co-op signs that looked like they forever stuck in 1990 now had bright turquoise tote bags printed with a new white logo trying to cover up any old references to the old brand. The only thing missing from the sight was a note that ‘Please excuse our appearance while we undergo this brand renovation.’


In market where international shops like Lidl and Aldi are beating out old-UK favourites Sainsbury’s and Tesco, the Co-op was the step-sister who didn’t quite fit in. The Co-op does everything from DIY Divorces to funerals (coincidence that these two life events often correspond with overeating?! But I digress) but the only thing I could say about that is that they vaguely look like Marks & Spencers, and therefore had to be OK. Maybe it’s that Im from across the pond and I’ve only been in the UK for 3 years, but I can’t tell you what The Co-op stands for. What’s their perspective? What’s their voice? Who do they appeal to?


The move on for the Co-op was long overdue.


And they’ve done what a lot of long-established brands are doing – looking to the past, both with their values and overall visual identity, to create a new future. The logo has been redrawn from a 1968 archive and the colour scheme has been ‘enhanced’ from the original colours (read: more contemporary).


Their new brand identity and packaging designs are simple and bold and their retail environment would make me reappraise their offering (even though it’s the only supermarket in my area and don’t have a choice). However, I do wonder if the designs are overly simple and if the colours feel natural and compelling enough to excite consumers. On the other hand, anything is better than their current environment.


Only time will tell if they’ve got the secrets to the fountain of youth or if this will be just another try-hard facelift.

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