Cannes Lions

Grand Unified Design 4


Presentation Image
Demo Film
Presentation Image






The brief was to define the key creative strategic principles for EF as a business, and communicate those ideals through the design of a refreshed visual identity to a global team of almost 300 creatives in 6 major creative hubs. The new design system should cater for over 15 individually operating business units within EF, and be suitable for their individual marketplaces and customers.

We had to provide a clear definition and expression of EF's who, what and why. A branded-house approach that included a set of core (mandatory) elements (logo, product lockups, typography) combined with a layer that allowed for expressive elements interlaced. Multiple tools across digital platforms that allow for easy brand identity implementation at any level, along with guidelines in print and online.


The main concept evolves around the idea of academic design and adventurous design as key pillars of the newly found 'EF Design' approach. Academia and Adventure defines our product across each division in the EF spectrum, and we were able to plot these divisions onto a A>A spectrum to further define individual division's usage of core and expressive elements (The core & expression identity model). These definitions were used to guide individual teams across the world who are working independently from each other, whilst maintaining an overarching brand consistency for EF on a global scale.

Further strategic pillars were defined to guide the brand on a more horizontal level to achieve the same vision from the top down; all based around the ideas of understanding, empathy, opening the world and inclusivity.


As any brand evolves, guidance documentation evolves with it. We were sensitive to this reality, and by splitting the guide into easily digestible chapters, creatives were able to consume small amounts of information easily with the advantage of being able to replace individual chapters as the evolution develops.

The main chapter's format was split into two parts: show and tell. The large pages show the work, while the smaller internal pages tell. Not only does this pattern allow for more room for the two communicative parts to shine, but has a sense of academic format with the coloured stock choice.

The small details, including loop staples, Pantone chips, ephemera pocket and elastic band all work together to communicate the underlying EF Design principles of academia and adventure.


Over 15 individual businesses across the company have a 'north star' guiding their individual design decisions, as well as foundations based in logic and theory to rationalise their creative thinking. Never before has EF had this tool that serves every stakeholder in such a unified yet open way.

By providing a physical handbook as documentation, creatives across EF have admitted to a sense of authority that it holds as a counterpart to the digital guideline.

By committing the new thinking to print, creatives take it more seriously and can use it not only as a guideline document, but as physical evidence to back up thinking, visual design decisions and business-related ideas.

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