ESPN UK Visual Identity

ESPN is a global brand that reaches people with a passion for sport all over the world.

A strategic refocus has changed the operation in EMEA from a TV channel to an ambitious digital-led business. This transition kick-started the process of investigation into ESPN’s visual identity in the UK to examine its positioning and fitness for purpose in the digital marketplace with specific focus on:

- bringing to life ESPN’s UK brand promise to “spread the joy of sports”

- creating a visual identity that will deliver brand consistency across all campaigns

- ensuring the famous logo communicates clearly everywhere


Our start point was the famous logo; we wanted to find an approach that would:

- maximise its power

- introduce a new energy and freshness

- bring consistency (but not monotony)

The ESPN logo has been established for thirty years, it is iconic in sport and it is rightly untouchable. With this top of mind we created ‘The Shift’ ; a design system that not only ticks the boxes above but also integrates the logo within the campaign space.

‘The Shift’ has a geometry based on the 97º lean angle of the ESPN logo so the two elements are always in harmony however it is applied. This strong lean angle also introduces dynamism to visual communications creating a symbiotic relationship with sports imagery. It has a natural flexibility meaning communications feel related without being identical.

Having agreed this direction we focused our efforts on imagery. We took an approach as a direct result of close and continuous dialogue with ESPN to concentrate on imagery that would bring to life “the joy of sports”. This gave us a very distinct space in which to work; images had to feel joyful, exhilarating and convey the power sport has to be fun.

The iconic ESPN logo, ‘The Shift’, the unique approach to image choice complimented with Playoff Pro (a typeface designed on the 97º angle of the logo) are a suite of brand elements that provide an eye-catching, flexible and evolved visual identity for all ESPN UK communications.

The visual identity launched in February 2015.