Established in 2011 The Giants play in the British Basketball League and represent the ten boroughs of Greater Manchester. After a change of ownership at the end of 2019, it was decided that the time was right to update the club's brand identity and better reflect the new owner's vision for the future.
Messaging + Strategy
Rebranding sports teams can be one of the most difficult identity jobs to get right. Deep rooted history and the passion of fans aren't easy hurdles to navigate, so we knew from the start of the process that we'd need to bring in stakeholders from across the club's base to help us CoCreate the work. With that in mind, we set up a team of people that included not only club owner (and ex-Giant) Jamie Hills, but also players, staff and fans, as well as other representatives from Greater Manchester such as local school teachers and events organisers. Despite only ever being able to meet digitally due to Coronavrius, the team were consulted throughout the process and they helped shape a direction that we could all be confident in.
The new identity began with a radical update to the club's logo. Through our CoCreation sessions, we found that the previous mascot-led logo was seen as a cliched and old-fashioned approach to the idea of giants, and didn't match up with the vision of creating a club that belonged to all of Greater Manchester. Starting with the simple idea of having a mark that unified the M from Manchester with the G from Giants, we created a shield logo that also references the Greater Manchester coat of arms. Standing for the Roman numeral for the number ten, an X sits on top to represent Greater Manchester's 10 boroughs as well as the Giants' new 'Ten x Ten' community engagement programme.
Through CoCreation sprints we helped the Giants develop a strategy that would elevate the club both on and off court. Incredible participation rates in the region at junior level show a love for the game exists, but the drop-off at adult level, the lack of a clear player pathway and an underdeveloped infrastructure would need to be unpicked for basketball’s potential in Greater Manchester (and the UK) to be realised. Our strategy to harness and further elevate the popularity of basketball has been articulated in the Giants’ new purpose statement. The statement balances the dual goals of transforming the game of basketball in Manchester and using basketball as a vehicle to create positive change throughout the region. A 10 x 10 community engagement plan was also realised, with first team Giants players being paired with each of Manchester’s 10 boroughs to drive community engagement.
The accompanying visual identity further establishes the new direction for The Giants. One of the biggest steps taken was to update the colour palette so that it felt more sophisticated and usable across a wider range of applications. Whilst the recognisable bright green has been retained, in the new system it's treated as a highlight that draws attention instead of the being the core colour. A combination of a deep green and black allows the highlight to 'pop'. A secondary combination of a deep purple with a coral pink hints at another of the colours from the old identity and will be used for the Giants' away jerseys. In addition to the updated colour palette, we created Giants Jersey Sans which – as the name suggests – will be used on the jerseys as well as for core headings and statements. It's a font designed to be giant and is further emphasised with the GIANTS type that will sit across the chest of the player's jerseys.
The design system ensures that all Giants' communication really feels 'gigantic'. With an emphasis on the GIANTS type, bold colour application and vibrant, real photography the primary aim is to create a sense of energy around the club that captures not only the excitement of seeing the Giants play, but also of the club's overall vision.
As the new identity begins to get used, it's important that it appeals to a broad range of people throughout Greater Manchester. With that in mind we've worked on art direction that shows how the brand can not only feel sporty when required, but also cool and fashionable beyond the world of sport as well as family friendly and approachable when required too.
The new vision for the Giants coincides with a new home for the Giants too. Moving to the National Basketball Performance Centre at Belle Vue means that the club now has a dedicated base. Taking reference from legend and literature, the space will be branded Giants Country and become a unifying home that inspires the players and the fans whilst reminding the opposition just what they're in for when they come to play...