How to rebrand the future

How to rebrand the future

by Ony x Future London Academy

Future London Academy has been creating immersive learning experiences for creatives and innovators from around the world for the past 5 years. The Academy is always trying to deliver the latest and freshest insights from the industry and and now was the time to refresh its own brand.

The team at Ony worked together with consultants Michael Wolff, Oliver St John and FLA co-founder Ekaterina Solomeina to create the new look and feel and have taken some time to break down the new design for us below.


When the team started exploring what the new branding could be, everyone agreed that it should have a very strong London feel to it. Everything that Academy does is based around London and it’s design scene – from visiting the best branding agencies to exploring London street art.

So the first mood boards included Johnston font, iconic buildings and City of London coat of arms.

Before and after

Logo and typography

Very soon they saw a certain geometric pattern that kept appearing in the mood board and that’s where the idea of geometric font came from. Then it was time for a logo design and ONY suggested to make a big plus sign part of the brand. It did make sense – Future London Academy is all about constantly adding knowledge, not matter how experience you are as well as it brings people from different countries together.

So the plus sign sounded perfect. Until the team consulted with Michael Wolff, who explained why Academy needed only an elegant typographic logo, not a pretentious mark. He said that marks make sense only to companies that have a lot of physical presence and need to be read quickly – for example gas stations. That’s why Shell’s logo serves this purpose perfectly. But for an Academy you need the name to be the main point of reference, that’s why ONY decided to create a custom font that will make Future London Academy memorable and unique.


The next step was to choose a colour palette. Initially, the team wanted to keep the color scheme straight-forward – yellow and black – as this is what Future London Academy had before. But as Academy had lots of different programmes there was a strong need to differentiate them easily and secondary colour palette seemed like a great solution. It wasn’t easy to pick colours that will work with the main yellow without overpowering it. There were many iterations before the final colours were picked.

Brand elements and motion graphics

When the colours were chosen, it was time to work on the other elements of the brand identity. During the initial inspiration phase, the team already touched on the strong architectural influence. To incorporate it in other aspects of the identity, ONY created 3D renders of the most prominent London buildings and used them to reflect imagery and typography.

But just having architecture as a main point of reference of what London stands for woudn’t be right. That’s why at the end ONY rendered more objects that represent London like black cabs and modern double-deckers.

A big part of Future London Academy’s learning process are case studies and presentations with the latests insights. To make keynote templates a more engaging, the team added a bit of Harry Potter magic to them, using animated graphics and videos – which only makes it more relevant for a London-based Academy that gives people secret knowledge from the best.

Coat of Arms

Every self-respected University has a coat of arms. But having something traditional with a horses, bears and flags wasn’t in Academy’s fashion. So they decided to create a simplified futuristic version.


To end this story, we would love to share a manifesto Future London Academy wrote for their participants. We fell like it can be a great every day reminder for any creative person.

Before you go…

If you liked this article, you might also like the programme Future London Academy is running for 25 Brand Managers and Creative Directors from around the world with private talks, studio visits and workshops from Wieden+Kennedy, We Are Social, GBH, Eight Inc and others. I’ll be joining the course again this year as co-curator and you can read my review from last year here.

Check out the whole program and book your place today. See you in London!

Glenn Garriock

Liked this? Try these…

#identity #logos #branding