Established in 1988, The Book People is an online and mail-order independent retailer of books in the UK. Starting with a single van selling books to businesses in the Guildford, Surrey, UK, area, the company soon had 140 vans and later expanded its reach through mail-order catalog before launching its online store in the late 1990s and continues its delivery-only operations without any brick and mortar retail stores. Recently, The Book People introduced a new identity designed by London, UK-based The Clearing.
The Book People had to take on the might of Amazon. Only Amazon sell more books in the UK, and this rebrand brings The Book People’s undisputed love of books right to the front of the business.
For too long they had been trying to play Amazon at its own game; competing on price, convenience and range of titles. But over time the brand had become focused on deals and promotions, at the expense of building any emotional differentiation. Without a set of ownable assets, they were unable to distinguish themselves from other online retailers. They needed to focus on their mission, ‘To inspire a lifelong love of reading’.
Formed from a stack of well loved books, which can be rearranged, picked up, and knocked over, signalling that books are there to be handled, passed on and loved! The flexibility and movement the logo has a playful personality.
We’ve given them a single-minded approach to colour, leading with a bright and playful red, punctuated with white and black to create a brand with real standout. Supporting this is a palette of pastels which can carry any book cover design.
The old logo was as basic as it gets, with a straightforward sans serif in a bold and light combination. It was red. I know I am just describing what you are all clearly seeing on your own but I’m doing so because there is nothing else to say about it. The new logo, on the other hand, is such a great expression of the joy of having books around: they are there. Piled, stacked, lined-up, scattered, and aplenty. With one book for each word of the name, the logo can be used in a few different combinations to fit its use with the primary being the horizontal version where the name reads perfectly as the books topple over. At first I wasn’t convinced of “Book” being capitalized (vs. being uppercase) but it works well to highlight the important part of the name as well as to look like different book spines — which makes me wonder if they tried a version of the logo where each word was a completely different style but I can also see how that could create readability issues. Anyway, I love this logo and how simple yet playful it is.
We worked with illustrator Mr Griff to create a playful gang of characters, packed with personality who clutch, climb up or jump over their trusty books to share this love of reading. These guys reflect the enthusiasm and excitement people have for books, the stories they contain, the imaginary worlds you get visit, or to educate and inspire.
The logo and the identity are accompanied by a great range of illustrations in a style that is not the faceless tech drones and the Brand New world rejoices. I love the style, the expressions, and the way they have integrated the books (always in red covers to match the logo). If there was one concern is that they can skew very young, making it seem like The Book People mostly sells children’s books so maybe a few more drawings like the tie-wearing guy with the dinosaur screaming at him would help. Still, these are joyful.
We have crafted a bespoke typeface called Book People Pen with Paula Diloka and Luke Prowse. The use of a handwritten font instills a real sense of personality across the brand, for use on everything from printed catalogues, social posts, to their heavy hitting E-commerce website.
The handwritten fun is nice, playful, and a good complement to the illustrations but in dire need of alternate characters and some OpenType magic to take it to the next level.
Not a whole lot in terms of applications but from the few prototypes (and the live website) it’s easy to see what a huge improvement this is from what existed before. From the logo to the illustrations to the handwritten font this all exudes excitement for books in a way that Amazon, in all its money-saving glory, has never been able to do.