British monarchy 3.0

Posted by on Apr 27, 2011 in design, just for fun | 2 Comments

Pre-Ramble:  I’ve been torn this last week or so between blogging about brand-identity/innovation/strategy-related topics and gushing over the upcoming royal wedding (T- minus 2 days!!!).  Well, thanks to one of my London readers (right there with a front row seat on all the action), I can do both!

Mug shot – In my last post (April 24th), I told you all about the awesome royal mug I had ordered in commemoration of the Big Day (not it at right).  As you will recall, the piece (referred to on its website by the clunky term “tankard”), sports a very elaborate design involving swoopy looping fonts and elegant botanically inspired patterns in dusty powder blue and gold leaf. Very formal and traditional, and perfectly reflecting the very formal and traditional vibe of the royal British monarchy.

Then, ZING!  This morning in my inbox is a note from the London reader along with a link to the website of a design agency (based in London) which has taken a new tack on royal wedding commemorative collections design.  The designers wanted to create something more “significant and modern,” … presenting “designs that take into consideration the Facebook generation, popular culture and modern design … a brand that identifies with and is relevant to the 20th century … ”

“The Royal family has changed shape and form over the years and in 2011 they appear as a totally different force from the previous years of Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth. The Royal family are now a global phenomenon, the press allow the public to see them in a more down to earth and human light, no longer will the Royal family be regarded as elite, they are representative of traditional British culture, but there lies the failing of the current design approach to the celebration of the Royal Wedding this year. The British culture is now about opportunity, energy, creativity, youth, style and perfection.”

One look at their crisp, engaging solutions demonstrates that they have succeeded in a big way!  Each of the designs incorporates the royal couple’s initials (Kate’s is, of course, team favorite, a “K”!) and simple, iconic crown images rendered in combinations of Union Jack red, white and blue.  The results are just the right mix of traditional cues and “creative, youthful and vibrant” elements.

Well done, chaps … and a timely find in light of growing sentiment that the youthful and vibrant young Prince William is potentially “in danger of over-shadowing his far less popular father, Prince Charles,” the next in line for the throne.  Anthony Faiola at the Washington Post describes the challenges ahead for the “idiosyncratic Prince Charles,” citing recent public opinion polls that reveal a popularity gap between father and son … 46% percent of respondents believe that Prince Charles should step aside.

The Take-Away:  At this point, matters around succession to the crown are protected by law; nonetheless, the dichotomy represents an interesting dilemma for the royal “brand” and highlights the value of relevance in a constantly evolving world and marketplace.  “Brand William” would be nothing without the foundational heritage established by the kings and queens who have worn the crown before him, however, it is the British monarchy that will be irreparably diminished if they fail to embrace, in some meaningful way, this free pass into “creative, youthful and vibrant” royal relevance for the 21st century.

Post-Note:  Thanks for the tip, London reader! (And if you happen to score a snappy photo of the royal K & W, feel free to send that over as well!!)


  1. Catherine
    April 27, 2011

    One more cup and you will have Three Cups for Tea. Keep them coming.

  2. K
    April 27, 2011

    Yes! And in reference the book Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson — as the founder of a nonprofit organization (in a past life :), I find it sad that Mr. Mortenson’s handling of his organization’s finances is under such scrutiny right now. I would hate to see all of the good that has come out of his efforts tarnished by his own actions.

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