Modern, inclusive and personal: skincare icon E45 reveals new brand identity

Expert-led skincare brand E45 today unveils a new brand world experience designed to elevate and modernise its iconic heritage. The strategic revamp, developed in a close partnership between E45 parent company Karo Healthcare and global design consultancy Elmwood, delivers the architecture for meaningful, emotive and flexible storytelling via a wide-ranging series of assets.

These include a subtly refined brand mark, an updated colour palette, new iconography, pack visuals and a new pattern library that can be used to bring E45’s identity to life across multiple brand touchpoints. These appear alongside newly created photography principles, intended to champion the many unique types of skin tones and conditions that shape part of our everyday lives.

At its core, E45’s new brand language reimagines skin cells as visual building blocks, providing the pathway to healthy and confident skin. Extracted from E45’s rebalanced logo, the cells can be rearranged across a broad portfolio of use cases. 

“Early on in the process, our studio research revealed that E45’s distinctive, cell-shaped logo is something that consumers instantly recognise and connect with,” explains Rob Dyer, Associate Creative Director at Elmwood London. “This finding sparked the cornerstone concept of our new design identity. The healthy skin cell is a visual device that can expand and flex in different ways. Cells can be used interactively with one another in motion, or they can provide a window for conversational extracts or lifestyle photography. 

“The resulting system has a soft, elastic quality,” Rob continues. “Like human skin itself, it has the capacity to constantly rebuild itself. And this, in turn, brings a newfound element of richness and breadth to the stories E45 can tell.”

“Elmwood’s idea for the ‘building blocks of skin’ not only unlocked and unveiled E45’s unique core asset, but also breathed life into a versatile design system that we can seamlessly integrate across our entire marketing spectrum. The adaptability and flexibility of skin cells enable us to weave meaningful narratives for our experts and consumers alike,” notes Steve Binding, Global Head of Design and Creative at E45 parent brand Karo Healthcare.

As part of the redesign effort, Karo Healthcare worked with Elmwood’s creative team to make E45’s brand language more visceral and relatable. Its logo, for example, now follows letterforms that link visually with its distinctive cell shape. A vibrant new colour palette, meanwhile, features a cobalt, electric-style blue and a more lifestyle coral tone, pointing to E45’s heritage and helping the brand to pop across a variety of digital and physical settings.

“E45 is a household name that caters for a diverse range of customers and their complex skincare demands,” says Kyle Whybrow, Executive Creative Director at Elmwood London. “That meant our design strategy for revitalising its brand had to strike a balance between capturing scientific expertise – summed up by pharmacists and people seeking help with specific skin conditions – and those who use E45 products on a more everyday basis. It’s about marrying up that brand knowledge with delivery that feels friendly, personable and inclusive.”

This inclusive approach is also seen within new photography guidelines, which have been formed around key principles of representation and inclusivity. E45’s new brand photography represents a wide range of individual skin tones, backgrounds and stories. It also puts everyday skincare issues such as itchy flare-ups or eczema in the spotlight. Instead of hiding behind these conditions, E45’s new photography claims confidence and authenticity in our ability to normalise them. 

In addition, Elmwood and Karo Healthcare invested a large amount of fine detail work into distinguishing each E45 product more clearly – so that the brand can better adapt and cater to a spectrum of individual skincare needs. 

Together, these assets create the essence of an agile and compelling design identity. Rather than appearing as a static brand, E45 can reinvent itself in an array of coherent yet playful ways – with more varied stories to tell at any given touchpoint. 

“It’s been great to collaborate with Elmwood and put the foundations of this fresh and memorable design system into play,” says Sally Perry, Global Category Director Skin Health at Karo Healthcare. “We love the idea of using visual skin cells as a means of defining our identity and speaking to our audiences in different ways. From product staging to e-commerce and digital storytelling, it allows scope for inspiration at every stage of the customer experience.”

“E45 has enjoyed a long and illustrious history in the skincare market, and our mission is to keep evolving that story,” adds Steve. “This major design project marks an exciting new chapter for one of the high-street’s best-loved skincare brands, with the result of next-level engagement for generations to come. We’ve kept everything that is distinct and brilliant about E45, while enabling it to flex for the future.”

Source: Elmwood

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