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Wolff Olins


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(established 1965)

A leading British design consultancy for almost four decades with particular prominence in the fields of corporate identity and branding, Wolff Olins has offices in London, Madrid, Lisbon, New York, San Francisco, and Tokyo. It is part of the Omnicom Group. Founded by Michael Wolff and Wally Olins in London, the latter in particular has done much to define publicly the discipline of corporate identity design and has published several books on the field. In these texts he made it clear that successful corporate identity work is about much more than logotypes and visual imagery, rather embracing a wider and deeper understanding of individual corporate business practices, patterns of behaviour, and aspirations. The consultancy's identity strategy clients have included the Q8 oil company (1984), British Telecom (BT, 1984), Orange telecommunications (1994), Honda, Renault, the Heathrow Express train (1998), the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Tate Gallery (1998 onwards). Wolff Olins's clients are drawn from many fields including automotive manufacture, business and financial services, consumer goods and services, the cultural industries, education healthcare, manufacturing industry, information technology and media, and transportation. Wolff Olins's programme of brand management of BT typified the consultancy's approach to corporate identity, bringing about changes to BT's culture and its relationship with the public it serves. Such an approach has been carried through in most aspects of the company's work including the Portuguese Tourist Board, the 2004 Athens Olympic Committee, the South West Development Agency, the North Staffordshire Design Initiative (2003), and the World Gold Council. The kind of impact that Wolff Olins's identity work can generate is exemplified by its work for the Tate Gallery that began in 1998 with the aim of developing a new brand that would bring together its collections, three existing sites, and a fourth site that would open in 2000. This resulted in the ‘Tate’ brand and the four galleries: Tate Britain, Tate Modern, Tate Liverpool, and Tate St Ives. The newly branded Tate had 7.5 million visitors in its first year 2000–01, an increase of 3.5 million on the previous year.

Subjects: Industrial and Commercial Art.


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