Originally established in 1960 in Los Angeles, Viking Direct, supplier of office products to small and medium businesses, first appeared in the UK in 1990 and Australia in 1993 establishing a strong mail order presence overseas. It was purchased by Office Depot in 1998 and by 2002 had expanded its catalog and web delivery service to Switzerland, Spain, and Portugal. This month Viking Direct changed its name to just Viking and introduced a new identity designed by Lippincott (who also have a spiffy new website) that premiered with the mailing of over 30 million catalogues to customers in the UK and Ireland.
Finding ways to add value through better navigation, more guidance and advice, along with a clearer shopping experience was key. The creation of a new identity and visual system started this process and represents the visual expression of a more personal approach to customers and their issues. The spirit of the design system is captured by the use of ‘doodles’, an activity people associate with office life.
The doodles appear across the customer experience, on packaging and marketing materials, with a particular emphasis on the catalogue and on-line experience. Here the customer is highlighted, using products in everyday situations and communications solutions rather than lists of products.
— Lippincott Case Study
Specifying that the old logo was bad is unnecessary but let’s just state it for the record: The old logo was bad with its heavy lettering and clunky flourishes. The new wordmark is deliciously bold with a very attractive vintage flair of a logo that you could find on the cover of a catalogue rummaging through someone’s estate sale in Wisconsin or its UK equivalent. Things that should look wrong — the lopsided “V”, the squared-off “n”, the funky “g” — all come together to look very right. The logo is officially paired with the “doodles” — created by Lippincott’s own creative director Lee Coomber — mentioned above which, as you can see, when made small they don’t look as good but are most effective when used separate or at least when the logo is big.
The doodles are pretty great too. Fun, basic line drawings with enough energy and personality but not so much that they become annoying. I’m no brand strategist but I imagine that in a few years the illustration style could be changed or dropped altogether and the wordmark would be able to segue into a new visual strategy. In application the doodles work great, they add a bit of whimsy to deadpan items like shredders and white paper. Overall, this is a great repositioning and a really good execution.