Responses by Johan Debit, cofounder/creative director, Brand Brothers
Background: Aktuel has positioned itself as one of the largest French furniture rental companies for events. Founded in 1988, the company boasts 140 employees, three locations, 20,000m² of stock, 60 delivery vehicles and an incalculable number of events, from company conventions to major sports events and the largest trade fairs. We were commissioned to rework an aging identity that was struggling to bring the brand out of its universe of warehouses, trucks, tables and chairs.
Reasoning: We wanted to take Aktuel out of its image as a logistician, as a simple furniture catalogue, while its strengths—claimed by the customers themselves—lie elsewhere. The new identity reveals the simplicity and pragmatism of its solutions, and the reliability and friendliness of its teams, without forgetting its initial profession as a designer of ephemeral, beautiful and friendly spaces.
Challenges: Persuading the teams that a brand visual identity composing of headline typography (developed for the brand) and some colored shapes would constitute the backbone of the branding. And, that we would not need any additional elements to express both the profession of Aktuel and the state of mind of its teams. As soon as company understood our intention, the project was built collectively.
Favorite details: Applying the new graphic system to a fleet of 60 trucks, and receiving warm and sincere compliments from the drivers, who are now proud to display the design that we have developed.
Visual influences: From the very beginning, we wanted to capture the visual references of the world of logistics and industry. We developed a graphic identity based on a typeface dedicated to the brand, which we designed in the studio. We wanted a solid, extremely thick, stable and monospaced character. Once we had developed this typeface, we counterbalanced its hard and monolithic aspects by injecting a set of shapes and colors, based on a grid, creating a flexible and infinitely modular universe.
Alternative approach: We would have liked to integrate even more upstream deployment of the new brand identity at the Aktuel headquarters and logistics site, located fifteen kilometers (nine miles) from Paris. We are currently working with the teams to repaint all the warehouses and work on the site’s signage using the new typography.