The Jockey Club
The Grand National is the world’s greatest steeplechase. It is watched by 10m people in the UK and 600m people around the globe in more than 140 countries. It's racing's greatest asset, attracting both race lovers and fun lovers.
A marquee campaign brand for a global event
The Grand National is staged by The Jockey Club at its Aintree racecourse in Liverpool.
Previously the race was branded and promoted using the Jockey Club's own visual identity. However, the business made a strategic decision to create a marquee brand solely for the race. The aim being to build brand equity for potential sponsor sales and drive new customer acquisition.
After two years of racing with no crowds due to the pandemic, we needed to create an iconic brand that welcomed race lovers from all walks of life back to this iconic event.
An open race
The Grand National is the race the world stops to watch and it's one of world sport’s most famous occasions. Popularist and popular, it’s an event where every rider has a chance of winning and everyone across the world is welcome to get involved, from racing purists to punters choosing a horse because they like the name. Where other events take pride in their exclusivity this race revels in its inclusivity.
Putting the 'Grand' in Grand National
The race is an event of grand proportions and nothing is done by halves. From the length of the course and the size of the field, to the capacity of the crowd; everything feels epic.
The names and reputation of the course fences are iconic and known throughout the world. We gave the brand a bold typographic feel that aims to reflect their stature and immediately speaks to what the race is known for.
To communicate the populist, accessible nature of the race, we developed a bright pastel colour palette complimented by a rich racing green. In a sport where many brands use darker tones, we adopted a brighter approach to capture the energy of being at the event and the vibrancy of its host city, Liverpool.
The race itself is a heroic test of endurance, grit and bravery by both jockey and horse. To reflect this we developed a range of textures, from mud splats to the effect of dirty riding goggles. These work alongside our bright colour palette giving communications more depth.
We also created energetic 'debris' effects that work with the typography and aim to replicate the impact of the horses jumping over the fir covered fences.
Adapting to the course
The brand identity has the ability to adapt to different communications. For premium or hospitality led applications we tone down the use of the brighter colour palette and lead with the racing green. We also incorporate the fir tree branches which are unique to the Grand National fences.
Our biggest challenge when creating a standalone brand for the Grand National was balancing the gravitas and epic nature of the race with its populist appeal.
Thisaway managed to do just that and more. The brand has got an iconic feel that stills feels warm and welcoming. They have created something that stands out not just in horse racing, but the wider sporting world.