Pizza Express takes inspiration from heritage for new brand identity


Pitch goes behind the scenes to explain PizzaExpress brand refresh in more detail with design agency BrandOpus.

Pizza Express overhauled its brand identity this month, as part of the biggest brand refresh in its 48-year history. The revamp sees Pizza Express introduce a new black and white striped logo, just weeks after announcing the appointment of new CEO Steve Easterbrook, formerly of McDonald’s.

BrandOpus worked with the brand to develop the new visual motif, which harks back to the striped shirts introduced by Pizza Express founder Peter Boizot in the sixties.

Paul Taylor, creative director at BrandOpus, says the agency considered other equities strongly associated with Pizza Express before deciding on the stripes as the main anchor for the refreshed identity.

“We looked at the brand’s strong ties to jazz music, art and the colour blue as well as exploring it’s rich Italian history, but felt they all lead us to potential shorter term ideas,” he says. “Pizza Express were also aware of these and we felt that the stripes was the visual idea that could work across a wide variety of brand touchpoints.”

The restaurant-chain was already conducting an in-depth review of their products, prior to appointing BrandOpus in May, according to Nir Wegrzyn, managing partner at the design agency, who says Pizza Express were identifying ways of expanding its retail services.

“We saw that Pizza Express were looking to grow their services for customers and did some strategic planning for them focusing on this,” he adds. “To complement this approach we suggested they create a proper identity to express the change.”

The new branding will be extended to the new restaurant layouts across the UK in February, which have been adapted to incorporate individual design elements associated to specific locations.

For instance the design of Pizza Express Euston Road has been refurbished to celebrate famous authors to complement the nearby British Library, while that of Soho’s Charlotte Street is inspired by the Morse Code, as its inventor Samuel Morse, lived close to the restaurant. The new branding will also be incorporated the new layouts.

According to Taylor developing an idea that could be effective across all the different themed restaurants was central to the brief the agency presented to Pizza Express earlier this year.

“We needed to come up with a single-minded idea that tapped into the brand’s strong heritage, through which we could demonstrate to the client how it could be executed across the many different brand touchpoints. The new identity needed to be flexible enough to be expressed in lots of different ways and also be open to change over time.”

Earlier this month creative agency Adam & Eve were appointed to handle Pizza Express’ integrated advertising business and its first campaign will be launch in the next few weeks to support the brand’s refresh.

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