London Marathon Events

A brand refresh for the world’s greatest marathon

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London Marathon Events (LME) organises world-leading mass participation events in running, cycling and swimming that inspire more than 200,000 participants every year. As part of a major branding and digital improvement project, LME turned to Dept to refresh the branding for the company and all its events to create a distinct personality that embodies its core values, and to develop a technical solution to centralise its digital touchpoints.

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Community inspiration

London Marathon Events’ branding has evolved organically over time, as new events were added to its portfolio, participant numbers increased, and sponsors and partners came on board. Its brand presence was cyclical, running in peaks and troughs throughout the year in line with its event calendar. There was a need to connect the dots across this cycle to develop a stronger presence throughout the whole year, and not just in the lead-up to its events. 

LME brings remarkable people together and celebrates personal achievements that defy all odds. In the first phase of work,  the brand refresh for the London Marathon, LME’s flagship event,  our team took inspiration from this joint sense of achievement shared among its community.

The London Marathon, the most prestigious of LME’s events, is just the beginning of our work with LME. Our team became inspired by all of the events and activities organised by London Marathon Events and aspired to visually communicate the vibrancy of the company and its vision and work. 

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Fresh visual branding

The London Marathon interacts with millions of diverse people. We selected a photography style that captures their inspiring moments, from the intensity of crossing the finish line to the journey of past, present an future athletes. The London Marathon is not just for elite athletes; its community comprises people of all abilities from all corners of the world. Their stories are told through authentic images that put people and emotion at the heart of the message, allowing onlookers to not only visualise the events, but also share in the emotion of the experience. 

Colour is a big part of LME’s branding for the London Marathon. The distinctive red colour remains core to London Marathon, while a vibrant and versatile secondary palette has been introduced. Bringing high-energy, these secondary colours are to be used sparingly and are best placed in pairs for full effect. Gradients were also recommended to bring themes together in a natural and well-balanced way.

Custom patterns were created, giving depth to the London Marathon brand with exciting visual elements. Dept designers digitally stitched a unique set of geometric designs to represent the ground the athletes run on, the landmarks they see en-route, and the thousands of steps they take to the finish line. For example, lines were placed at a 26.2 degree angle, which exactly matches the mileage of the London Marathon. 

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Recreating brand guidelines

To blend creative components and ensure the longevity of the design, Dept created an in-depth design rulebook. It includes all of the dimensions and ratios for website images with how-to information. A ‘cutout’ approach is one of our recommendations, easily achieved by selecting an impactful photo from the storage library, removing the background and replacing it with one of the custom patterns.

An artistic representation of the marathon experience

A dynamic brand, designed for the future

Dept’s creative team worked with LME to design a dynamic, scalable and future-ready brand for the London Marathon. 

The introduction of statement patterns, a vivid colour palette, clear typefaces and a branded photography style has revived the London Marathon’s identity and achieved coherence across its entire brand estate. 

The London Marathon branding was the launchpad for Dept’s partnership with LME. Our design, UX and development teams are now involved in plans to create seven new websites for the parent organisation and each of its events: London Marathon Events; The Vitality Big Half; the Vitality London 10,000; the Vitality Westminster Mile; the Standard Chartered Great City Race; RideLondon, and Children with Cancer UK Swim Serpentine. Keep your eyes peeled for the sleek digital implementation of this visual brand identity. 

Questions?

Adam Bee

Head of Design

Adam Bee

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