In 2022, the annual obstacle course welcomes an in-person audience for the first time in two years – 2020 was run as a virtual race, and only owners, trainers and staff were allowed on the racetrack in 2021.
To mark its return to normalcy, the Grand National is launching its first standalone visual identity – previously horse racing was branded and promoted under the Jockey Club racing organisation. The event has been around since 1839, with some of its 30 fences, for example Becher’s Brook, considered iconic.
Thisaway has tapped into the event’s “grand proportions” for its type-driven branding, using it to reflect the huge audience – 10 million people watch the Grand National in the UK and 600 million in the world – and an epic race course.
“We gave the brand a bold typographic print that aims to reflect their stature and immediately speaks to what racing is known for,” the studio said in a press release.
Thisaway was expressive with his use of typeface, placing letters behind galloping horses, arranging them haphazardly and playing with proportions and spacing to echo the action of the day. Words are combined with textural effects to mimic splattered mud, dirty goggles, and the impact of horses going over fir-covered fences.
A dark racing green is, understandably, heavily used, although the studio has paired it with brighter pastel tones that add to the brand’s energy. According to Thisaway founder and creative director Graeme Cook, the identity aims to capture the public’s sentiment towards the event, which he describes as “a race where everyone gets involved”, whether purist or bettor.