Established in 1902, British Fencing is the national governing body for the sport of fencing in the British Isles (excluding the Republic of Ireland) and are responsible for selecting the athletes that will participate on behalf of Team Great Britain at the Olympics. To coincide with Rio, the organization introduced a new identity to “reinvent its public perception and broaden its appeal to a wide range of audiences” designed by London-based We Launch.
Our solution was the embodiment of precision and sharpness. The simplicity of the idea allowed for the three sword ‘slashes’ to slice through the logotype - which became the unique icon that would be immediately recognisable as British Fencing. Our logo and visual style are perfectly aligned, with dramatic angular shapes (graphically depicting the movement of the three fencing weapons) cutting through our imagery and messaging.
The old logo had the right idea, using the NBA/MLB’s sports-figure-dividing-two-fields-of-color structure and it was instantly clear what the logo was about, but the execution was poor and unexciting. The new logo breaks away from any limited expectations we might have about what fencing logos should look like and introduces a bold, energetic, and dynamic logo that’s more The Fast & The Furious than Chariots of Fire. The three swashes in the wordmark represent the three types of swords — Foil, Épée and Sabre — and, again, they are so unexpectedly rendered that it’s difficult to find the right words to describe what makes it work despite the fact that drawing those spikes on that typography should not necessarily work as well as it does. It’s as if I pitched it to you this way: Picture the old Facebook logo but uppercase and italic and then we are going to slice it. No, thanks. But it works and it’s a strong, engaging logo.
The shorthand version with the Union Jack is pretty bad-ass. That’s all this paragraph is devoted to.
In application — all of it shown being some form of advertising — the slashes get pushed maybe one step too far in the headlines, looking like a really aggressive speech bubble but, sure, it helps drive the point home. There is also far too much italic typography and far too much of the same typeface, where everything starts to feel repetitive and lacking an element of contrast. The photography for the ads is great, shot with a blue hue and dark backgrounds that help offset the red-and-white logo. Overall, this is a great interpretative logo exercise that visualizes fencing in a different way and does manage to answer the brief to reinvent perception and widen audiences, going from a stuffy aristocratic-looking sport to a sophisticated UFC-like vibe.