Established in 1984, Personal Group is an employee benefits and financial services company based in the UK. It works with other companies to establish and manage their employee’s benefits and provides their own software — called Hapi — for the day-to-day management. Their service is currently used by approximately 2 million employees, across 550 businesses. Personal Group recently introduced a new identity designed by London-based SomeOne.
SomeOne developed branding based on a smiling face together with a positive golden yellow palette. Yellow is not only the most attention grabbing colour, but is also the colour most associated with happiness.
Lee Davies, SomeOne Design Director says “We knew that if we were going to recommend a smiling face, it had to be something a bit special. When we pointed out how a nose is formed from the lower case ‘g’, no one on the client side had spotted it straight away — much like the hidden arrow in the FedEx wordmark — so it was an added and pleasant surprise. It gives the ‘PG’ a more personal face.”
The smile becomes an integral part of the brand world for PG, appearing also in the word mark for Hapi, PG’s engagement platform and as an ownable element in the extensive icon library for the different services.
The old logo wasn’t good but it wasn’t terrible. Of all the ambiguous ways to draw people, their old icon was relatively good and conveyed “people, together” plainly. Typography was bland but not highly offensive. Mostly it was forgettable. The new logo satisfies the need you didn’t know you have for yet another smiley face logo. It’s been a fortuitous year for smiley faces in corporate identity. This one makes good use of the “pg” initials of the name with the two bowls making the eyes, the “g” making the nose, and a little smile to tie it all up. It’s a very happy “pg”, more 8 ) than : ). The wordmark, set in Pluto Sans is a welcome alternative to the typical geometric sans and helps add some seriousness to the monogram.
From the old website you can get a sense of how significant the change is. It’s almost like the old one was a healthcare provider. The icons do a good job in integrating the smile… some to better effect than others.
SomeOne also created a series of branded images for use in communications focussing on the ‘Work Happy’ theme, all of which include found smiles. Emma English, Lead designer on these said of the work “We had all seen the hashtag ‘I see faces’ on social networks, where people had captured images of everyday items that reminded them of peoples faces. So we set out to find our own and recreated them from scratch in the studio.”
The few applications shown are fairly straightforward and that’s probably all they have to be. The identity is livened up through the use of happy-faces-in-things images that border on the cheesy side but how can you not smile back at a smiling USB plug? Overall, the identity definitely feels happy, optimistic, and cheerful but maybe a little heavy-handed in doing so.