Spinach Creative Director Adam Thomas on building the new Unilode brand

Unilode is a new brand created and built by Spinach for one of the world’s leading aviation solutions provider. The new company was officially launched last month for the leading global aviation company CHEP Aerospace Solutions. We caught up with Spinach Partner and Creative Director Adam Thomas at the studios in London to find out more.

Adam Thomas, Spinach Partner and Creative Director

How did you come to create the Unilode brand name?

Well, Unilode was one of at least a hundred names we developed from our research but it stood out from the rest due to a number of factors. Firstly, it is unique to the client’s business; the name takes its letters from ‘unit load device’ which are the aviation components at the heart of their business. Secondly, it reads nicely and feels accessible and international and the ‘uni’ – universal, unique, uniform – really helps with that, I feel. The phonetic sound of ‘lode’ also echoes terms such as load and payload which are widespread across the aviation industry, and fortuitously it’s also an old English word meaning rich source or supply. Lastly, it’s completely made up and unique which meant we could secure an exact match domain name. The client loved it for all these reasons too.

What inspired the logo design?

Although we were creating a new name and brand, the client was a well-established and respected player within their industry. With this in mind we wanted to create something that felt solid yet understated and that wouldn’t detract from the many partner logos it would have to sit beside in the future. We constructed it using strong modular elements that combine to create the ‘u’ but also reference the characteristic cut-away corner of the most common ULD. In addition, we sharpened the stems of the ‘u’ to create a set of geometric wings, symbolising upward movement and flight.

… and the typeface?

The wordmark was again designed to stand out but not to overpower as it needed to appear on containers and on runways partnered with other brands. We used a classic condensed poster face as this allowed for greater scale without taking too much surface area on the side of the containers. It was important that the brand didn’t feel too modern or startup, so we created a wordmark and logo that would reflect the longstanding reputation and international scale of the business.

What were the challenges of working with such a large, international firm?

We have worked with and continue to work with similar sized brands but the requirements of this job were particular: we had to deliver the new name and brand within a tight frame of three weeks. The brand was due to be launched in Abu Dhabi in March so it was imperative that our team remained calm and focused throughout and that maximum client contact was maintained with regular trips to their offices in Zurich. Thankfully, the client was also extremely enthusiastic and efficient in terms of direction and feedback which made the project run even more smoothly. We could tell they were in the business of efficiency.

What have you learnt most from this project?

I don’t think we realised how intrinsic ULDs were to the aviation industry – they are essentially an airplane component, subject to the same checks and compliance. So, looking after them, like our client does for airlines around the world, is a big deal. As a studio, I don’t think we’ve ever be immersed in an industry so vast and so important to aviation that we knew so little about beforehand. It was such a unique opportunity to work from the ground up – in terms of naming, branding – with such an established and respected player.

And what are you looking forward to most going forward with Unilode?

Watching this brand that we created together literally take off. For Unilode, I hope it helps them achieve greater market share and visibility and for Spinach I think it will serve as a great example of how we work, regardless of the size of the company or industry, to create unique identities and personalities that truly strengthen businesses. Personally, I can’t wait to see our work the next time I land anywhere in the world. Oh, and perhaps branding a Unilode 747…

Read more about the Unilode brand story here

Unilode logo by Spinach
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