The Ocean Race
Around the world, with the planet at heart
Since 1973, The Ocean Race has been the ultimate test of a team and human adventure unlike no other. For 46 years it has maintained an almost mythical hold over some of the greatest ever sailors. The last event (2017-18) took the teams 45,000 nautical miles around the world, across four oceans, through six continents and 12 landmark host cities.
Mucho has revived the race with a new brand and updated principles.
Born as the Whitbread Round the World Race and rebranded as the Volvo Ocean Race from 2001 to 2019, The Ocean Race has relaunched with fresh energy and new objectives, guided by a new ownership and vision. In preparation for the next race in 2021-22, the new leadership approached Mucho to revise the brand which faced new challenges. The evolution would have to go farther than just removing the name of the previous owner of the competition (Volvo).
Mucho was hired to collaborate with The Ocean Race in redefining brand values and crafting a fresh brand narrative as well as creating a new visual language, looking to reshape the attitude of the race going forward. The objective was to capture the essence and equity of a legendary brand whilst opening it up to a new audiences through a meaningful, versatile and engaging brand expression.
This project is a joint effort of 4 teams working as one. Mucho led the branding process with design and strategy, while The Ocean Race involved their top management as well as their design and marketing team. All were involved in steering the project in the right direction and making sure it fulfilled all of their objectives.
For this to work effectively a thorough agenda of meetings, workshops and update memos were put together in order to ensure that every decision was guided by experts and decision makers were provided with sufficient information to understand the full implication of design decisions.
The Big Shift
The Ocean Race is a brand rooted upon strong values that have guided it through decades of success and relevance. These values have evolved with the world and the times as well as with the change in ownership and business plan of the organization. This evolution needed to be aligned with the essence of the race and its future challenges.
Technology and sustainability have always been part of The Ocean Race’s ethos. From now on, the brand is willing to take its compromise with them one step forward. For the combination of both is shaping the way we live and consume today and days to come, sustainability and technology have become essential driving forces of the brand. This is undoubtedly the biggest strategic shift in which communication and branding play a key role, for they can lead by example and open new windows of opportunity, meaning and engagement.
Being design and brand strategy lead by Mucho, and with the aim of building the best possible branding, some crucial additions were made to the inhouse team. In this case, two typography teams were integrated as typography consultants whilst another team was involved to translate and turn the visual language into motion graphics. TypeMates and Jordi Embodas are the authors of the typographies, while Gimmewings are responsible for the motion design, all under Mucho’s guidance.
The symbol’s role is crucial in expressing the shift in the brand’s essence and narrative. Sustainability, competition and team effort are all represented by the simple shape and organic movement symbolizing boats sailing with the wind in their sails. The logotype is a simple uppercase structure that highlights the importance of the word OCEAN in The Ocean Race.
TypeMates developed a custom-made version of their typeface Cera adapting the shape of the “A” to (like in the case of the symbol) the shape of a boat seen from above.
Graphic tools have been created to define the visual language that accompany the identity. These will work across dynamic and static media. A collection of horizontal and vertical shapes using some of the corporate colors mixed with patterns inspired by graphics of ‘wind directions’ all work together to create an holistic, rich, visually exciting brand identity.
The Ocean Race is the name and brand of the race and is als the parent brand for the whole organization. Sub brands are organized in two groups:
Strict Sub Brands share the symbol with The Ocean Race because they only happen or exist as a result of the parent brand. These sub brands act culturally bringing value to the parent brand.
Subsidiary product brands have their own symbols because they are targeting different audiences and partners. These become potential new sources of meaning and funding for The Ocean Race. To date, they are The In-Port Series and The Youth Academy, but the system we have created allows for more to be added.
We created a detailed brand guidelines manual and organized a number of implementation and integration sessions with The Ocean Race design team. This helps guarantee that they continue to play an active part in evolving the brand, its roots, management and evolution.