A vibrant rebrand for gardening charity RHS

Gardening has been given a new image in recent years. Between newcomers like Patch, Sproutl and Bloom Box Club using design to encourage a new generation of gardeners, YouTube shows and TV series teaching us more about the plant kingdom, plus lockdowns spent confined to our houses and gardens, it seems like people have become engaged with plant life than ever before.

The RHS is the UK’s leading gardening charity and serves gardening enthusiasts and professionals through resources, day visits to its gardens, and events like the annual RHS Chelsea Flower Show, which takes place this week.

As crops, flowers and houseplants kick into gear with the warmer weather, the RHS has unveiled a rebrand by Design Bridge that brings the charity’s many sprawling sub-identities and activities under one cohesive brand.

“Using the design idea of the transformative power of growth, we designed visuals that are consistently evolving and transforming,” said Design Bridge creative director Tim Vary. “By layering textures, vibrant seasonal colour palettes and a mix of historical botanical illustrations and typefaces alongside new moving imagery, we formed a design system which is reflective of both the past, present and future of the organisation.”

The palettes were chosen to reflect the idea of different seasons and the vast spectrum of colours seen across RHS gardens. Paul Desmond’s illustrations feel like a particularly good match: they’re colourful, loud and busy, but so is nature, and yet, at the same time, they feel traditional enough to gel comfortably with the charity’s heritage of over 200 years. Similarly, the RHS logotype and lock-up have been been redesigned, reflecting a more contemporary aesthetic while maintaining the core elements of the previous designs.

A supporting brand campaign called We Speak Plant was created in collaboration with ad agency Wunderman Thompson.