Manchester’s Instruct Studio has collaborated with Co-operatives UK to create a new branding strategy for the co-operative federation. Devised as part of the company’s new three-year strategy, the rebrand aims to inspire everyone to become a co-op member and create a fairer society.

With co-ops – a business or organisation owned and controlled by its members – collectively worth £39.7 billion to the UK economy, the benefit of being part of one speaks for itself. To spread the word of their benefits, the voice of co-ops has enlisted design studio Instruct to bring a new perspective on how co-ops are communicated while aligning to the new strategic aim.

As part of the rebrand, Instruct has included a nod to the collaborative and pioneering spirit of the co-operative movement itself. Originally found in Rochdale before spreading worldwide, Co-operatives UK has a rich history and imagery to draw on, and Instruct has done exactly that. The new look is a blend of heritage with a modern twist, as the international co-operative marque is placed near the new Co-operatives UK logo.

On top of this, the new brand features an extensive toolkit of badges and shapes related to Co-Operatives UK’s new strategic aims. The organisation’s in-house team will adopt this iconography into animations in order to maintain consistency across its message and look across all platforms.

Retailers that make up the Co-op Group, including Midcounties Co-operative and Scotmid Co-op, have all vocalised their support of the brand refresh and are looking forward to discussing how they can use it to enhance consumer perception at the upcoming Co-op Retail Conference, which takes place this month.

Instruct’s Creative Director, John Owens said, “It’s been a fascinating journey understanding the challenges of how we communicate beyond the movement, and with this new look, we can reach new audiences and engage with existing ones much better.”

“We supported the refinement of the strategy, and it became clear that a key distinction needed to be made between Co-operatives UK as an organisation and the wider co-op movement. At the same time, talks were taking place with the international marque holder dotCoop, and we all had a bit of a lightbulb moment, which led to the use of the international marque as a badge next to the new logo.”

Meanwhile, Co-operatives UK CEO Rose Marley said, “Our exciting new strategy has a focus on empowering young people; enabling tech and digital; leading a new era of co-operation; embedding the co-operative values and principles across all business and inspiring communities to grow the co-operative economy. These five themes will run through everything we do over the next three years.”

“We know the impact of co-operatives in transforming communities and people’s lives, but the business model is not widely publicised. Our challenge is to define simple language and tell inspiring stories so that co-operatives become part of the national consciousness. We invite the UK’s 7,000 co-operatives to join us in this mission.”

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