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Since 1792, Start-Rite has been making shoes for children. And nothing else. That’s why it’s an industry leader in designing, manufacturing, and fitting little shoes for little people.
Start-Rite is proud of its legacy. And after more than 225 years in business, it should be. From its pioneering 1943 nationwide survey, which transformed the way people make and shop for children’s shoes, to the 2018 launch of its 3D fit app – Start-Rite represents timeless design, attention to detail, and bold innovation.
With a growing market and fast-fashion competitors attracting customers with low prices, Start-Rite needed to refocus, reposition, and re-establish its brand for the future.
Through focused workshops and stakeholder interviews, we were able to uncover what makes Start-Rite different. Unlike many of their competitors, Start-Rite only make shoes for children – that’s all it does.
We drew inspiration from this fact and set about creating a brand that truly represents this unique offer – visually and verbally.
We created a brand identity that reflects the end user – children. We replaced Start-Rite’s old black, cyan, and grey palette for a more friendly, lighter, and fresher colour scheme. The brand’s previous all-caps typeface was replaced with one that beautifully echoes the aesthetic of a children’s story-book.
Furthermore, we introduced new brand words, including key statements, values, and a story that fully inform the refreshed tone of voice. In addition, we established a compelling purpose for the Start-Rite brand and its people to live by.
Another key addition to the Start-Rite brand toolkit is a new hashtag to support the ever-growing online sales and social media presence. The principle of doing things ‘The Rite Way’ is continued through wider brand communications and messaging.
To accompany the ongoing (phased) brand launch, we researched, wrote, designed, illustrated, and produced a brand book, complete with shoelace ribbon marker.
The book was created for and dedicated to the whole Start-Rite family – past and present – commemorating its wonderful heritage and inspiring its onward journey.
We commissioned whimsical and playful illustrations to further bring the new identity to life. This not only provided Start-Rite with a charming, child-like alternative to photography, it also affords greater longevity to imagery as seasons and products change.
The famous Start-Rite twins live on, continuing to feature throughout the brand – in the form of story-led illustrations, a formal brand icon, and also interpreted via modern campaign photography.
Kate Tansley, Chief Executive Officer, Start-Rite
Credits and thanks: Logotype and S-R monogram: Studio Sutherland (2018) / Twins icon: Rebecca Sutherland / Lifestyle photography: Fiona Burrage / Brand illustration: Charlotte Trounce / Printing: Page Bros.
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