Peter Schmidt Group modernizes Union Investment's corporate design

Union Investment recently introduced a new corporate design. The modernized look was design for usage in all media and makes it possible to address diverse target groups individually while remaining easy to work with. The new identity was created by the branding and design agency Peter Schmidt Group and is being implemented gradually.

How do you strengthen a brand that is already one of the best-known in the financial industry? How do you make it even more distinctive and suitable for use across a wide variety of media and communication channels? That was the task facing Peter Schmidt Group. Over the past several months, the branding and design agency revamped the corporate design of Union Asset Management Holding AG, generally known as “Union Investment.”

The initial step involved an assessment of the current brand elements in terms of recognizability, differentiation within the financial industry, and applicability. Subsequently the agency enhanced each of the elements and specified over-arching guidelines for their use, regardless of the communication medium. This approach ensures a highly flexible corporate design based on a few, simple principles that can be applied to any case at hand – even those that don't yet exist. “Our new brand identity enables us to respond better to our respective business divisions, target groups and communication objectives. The fact that so much flexibility is based on a just a few fundamental rules makes it much easier for us to use on a day-to-day basis," said Dr. Joachim Böhler, head of strategic brand management and market research for Union Investment. 

The next logical step in the evolution of the logo – and a new, but related, brand shape

The most conspicuous changes have to do with the basic elements of the visual identity – the logo, brand shape and color pallet. The established logo has been revised to stand up straight, enhancing its stability and making it independent of the brand-typical shape it was previously always paired with. The diagonal slope in the logo reflects an "onward and upward" dynamic, while the rounded corners stand for the high value the company places on cooperation.

We also derived another innovative design component from the logo, which we call the brand shape. It is extremely versatile and can be used as a background for body copy or a frame for images, for example. Even when cropped or bled off the page, it still unmistakably expresses the Union Investment identity. There's also a new color pallet. The characteristic dark gray remains in use, but it is given an energy boost through the use of an accent color called UI Green. The interplay of these colors sets Union Investment apart from the other players in the financial industry more effectively than before.

The corporate design also features a set of icons and an acoustic logo

A completely new set of icons, a specific style for illustrations and animations, a new corporate sound and a revamped collection of typefaces are also part of the new corporate identity. The acoustic components were developed in collaboration with the why do birds agency.

"The personality of Union Investment is in every single element of the corporate design. Our approach ensures modular, versatile communication media that also strengthen the brand image – and it paves the way for the next step toward design systems suitable for automation," explained Lukas Cottrell, managing partner of Peter Schmidt Group.

Union Investment will gradually switch to the new brand identity over the next few years. An important step in the process involves making sure the people who manage and work with the brand understand the basics of the new identity. In addition to internal training and workshops, the agency and the company will also rely on an online tool box that concisely explains the design principles. Besides templates and easy-to-follow examples, it provides easy access to all of the brand's design assets to everyone who needs them.

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