Introduced in Australia and New Zealand in 2008 (I believe), Staples brought its office supply business to that region of the world and also established a strong business-to-business, um, business working with mid-market, commercial, and enterprise-sized customers. Earlier this year, it was announced that Platinum Equity, a global investment firm, would acquire Staples’ business in Australia and New Zealand and they have rebranded it as Winc (short for Work Incorporated). The name and identity were designed by Futurebrand.
We developed a brand strategy that positioned the new business as helping to make working and learning more creative, productive and playful, through equally inspiring products and solutions all delivered from the one place. Through a process of test and learn, we then used this strategy to create the new brand name and identity - welcome to Winc.
Winc stands for ‘work incorporated’. In other words, everything you need to help you create, play, learn and do more. It’s a playful name at the heart of a sophisticated brand identity, one that flexes to communicate with customers based on their needs and equally so to give employees the platform to deliver a positive and memorable brand experience from the first click to the last mile.
There is not much point in talking about the old logo as that one remains in play for the rest of the Stapleses around the world. Let’s start with the new name… Winc. Obviously the first thought is “wink”, as in there being something more to the brand and that something is the full name being Work Incorporated then reduced to “winc” which, I’ll admit, I find endearing and playful. Were it not for the explanation I would have never figured it out though and perhaps future applications will make that more evident somehow as it’s a good overall hook for the brand. The logo attempts to bring attention to it through the coloring, highlighting “inc.” in blue but it’s not that obvious as the logo just looks like it’s happily colored all around. I’m torn on the logo itself… there is something cool about it, like it doesn’t care it doesn’t look like a traditional retailer logo but there is also something odd about it, like it’s unfinished or not serious enough, especially for the company’s focus on business-to-business.
Overall, the new brand succeeds in breaking away from category conventions to tell a core truth: that working and learning should be a pleasure, not a chore.
The illustrations do a great job in not veering off completely into cute territory. The shapes of the objects are blunt and almost crude but the funky color palette and purposefully disproportionate sizing — i.e., markers are bigger than chairs — make them playful enough and plenty interesting.
The applications so far show some potential although they seem to struggle with how to balance all the elements, with the illustrations almost like an afterthought on the posters/ads/things and really large, really boring, really corporate copywriting headlines. One of the more interesting things about the logo — the half circle tittle being cut off — gets lost as the logo disappears into the corner of the layout. Part of the problem is that the logo and headlines are almost the same size and there is no contrast between the two.
The video above is the best interpretation of the brand so far, bringing to life the illustrations in engaging ways that play off some better copywriting. Overall, I really like where this is going and, while still within the safe limits, it’s a bit of a disruptor brand when compared to other office supply stores, including its former Staples self.