A purple Möbius strip symbolising cohesion is the highlight of a
new corporate identity unveiled by Grant Thornton International
(GTI) this month. The mid-tier network rolled out its first
worldwide rebranding exercise in 25 years, which included a
makeover to all websites and marketing material.

The brand was created by Pentagram Design and GTI said it cost
“significantly less than £500,000 [$984,000]” or about $40 per
Grant Thornton employee.

Grant Thornton International global director of marketing
communications Jon Geldart said the aim of the corporate refresh is
to make the network appear more cohesive in the marketplace. “The
physical manifestation of [the old brand] was well understood and
had good recall figures around the world. There’s nothing wrong
with it but we felt the need to move forward and the need to
refresh it before it became tired,” Geldart explained.

“This is about reflecting what we are. We are, and continue to
strive to be, a more cohesive global organisation. One way of
demonstrating that is in the physical manifestation of the
appearance.”

Geldart told IAB that member firms were widely consulted
on the redesign throughout the course of the project. “We’ve talked
to hundreds and hundreds of people from front-line junior members
of staff to newly appointed partners, senior partners, all the
things you would expect us to do,” Geldart said, adding that
decision makers had a choice of nearly 300 logo designs at the
early stages. “It’s a process of intelligent elimination. What you
tend to find is because we were very clear about what we are as an
organisation, when we brief the designers they came back with a
whole series and range of things that could reflect us.”

The final logo choice is characterised by three main elements: a
symbol, a new colour and sans serif text.

The inspiration of the symbol is the Möbius strip, a band that is
half-twisted and joined at both ends to form a three-dimensional
loop. It was discovered in 1858 by German mathematician August
Ferdinand Möbius and has several curious properties, including a
single boundary. Geldart said the strip, in Grant Thornton’s
context, represents the connection between the network and its
clients. The twist visually creates four waves, which represent the
four major service lines of Grant Thornton’s business: advisory,
assurance, tax and privately held businesses.

Another major departure from the old corporate identity is a change
of colour from blue to purple. “We’ve adopted that colour because
it’s not blue [as is traditionally used in the profession] and for
many years [purple] has been associated with dignity and a whole
series of other qualities,” Geldart explained.

Grant Thornton firms in Sweden, Botswana and Australia have already
embraced the new image while all firms have gone live with a new
website. Geldart added: “Some member firms want to spend a little
bit more time finalising the running of old stocks. Over the course
of the next few months the vast majority of firms will change and
by the end of the year they all will change. We’re not doing it for
the next three minutes we’re doing it for the next 25 years.”

Arvind Hickman