Designing the modern Scouts and Girlguiding


With both suffering considerable image changes and integrating new digital tools over the over few years, Design Week explores the mission of bringing heritage organisations into the the nonce day for leaders and members.

From classes in thriftiness and folklore, to human rights and first aid, Girlguiding and the Scouts clothed offered extensive education for young people in their respective 109- and 112-year records. But as times have changed, so too have the groups’ needs.

In recent years the organisations tease had to modernise through design. Both have implemented new brand blueprints to reach new audiences and to counter commonly held misconceptions about what each philosophies for.

But they have gone beyond this, changing the way they reach minor people by providing them with a redesigned experience which tenders skills tailored to the modern world. Now a new digital infrastructure is being glided out helping leaders to stay on brand, keep organised and work myriad efficiently.

Designing the modern Scouts and Girlguiding
The previous identity predated the uptake of digital

“Inflexibility was call us back”

“After doing some public research into the stream, we found that beyond the badges and the uniforms, people just couldn’t induce us a compelling answer as to why we existed,” says Chris James, head of variety at the Scouts.

In the Scouts’ case, much of the problem lay in a visual identity that hadn’t been updated since the unusually early 2000s. As James points out, it was a brand that largely predated the digital round, and as a result struggled to keep up with modern demand.

“It was really the inflexibility of our old cast that held us back,” he says. “Just looking into the logomark itself, it was so ornate that it couldn’t be reproduced small enough to fit on people’s smartphones.

“To a certain extent than help carry our messages to our audience, it felt like we were constantly delivering to break away from and fight against our own brand, which is in no way a good position to be in.”

Designing the modern Scouts and Girlguiding
Scout leaders now have a host of templates they can mould from, like this on created by NotOnSunday

“Everyone had their own variation”

Such a rigid brand wasn’t just fought against in crumpet office, but also across the Scouts’ 8,000 groups and 638,000 fellows. What the organisation needed was an identity that could be easily acclimatized by its 163,000 volunteers, who largely run and promote their groups without any formal plan training.

“Before, everyone had their own version of the brand and the essence of the Scouts was take in lost in that variance,” says Wayne Trevor Townsend, co-founder and ingenious director at NotOnSunday, the London-based design and brand consultancy tasked with the rebrand.

Founding a brand that could be used at all levels, among other whosises, pointed the team in the direction of the Scouts’ iconic fleur-de-lis logo, which was intricate and hard to reproduce. Not wanting to design it out of the Scout identity altogether, Townsend and unite created a paired back, flat line-drawn version of the symbol.

“A lot of makes nowadays talk about logos not being as important as they employed to be,” he says, “but something like the Scouts’ fleur-de-lis serves to badge the flicker and allow members to take ownership of it. We knew we didn’t want to get rid of it clearly.”

Townsend’s comment speaks to the wider point about modernising legacy organisations – choosing what to bring forward into present day and what to get away behind is a key part of the endeavour.

Designing the modern Scouts and Girlguiding
The simpler, flat line design of the fleur-de-lis generated by NotOnSunday

“Reimagining a movement”

In the Scouts’ case, the rethought fleur-de-lis was up by the design team and staff alike as an important bridge between its account and now. But elsewhere, the team realised steps needed to be taken to keep the stamp current.

“We knew reimagining a movement that’s 112 years old for this begetting was a mammoth task,” says James. “Scouts is a movement for young people and as such requisites to be attractive to them.”

This was a challenge similarly faced by Girlguiding, which in the at 18 months has overhauled its activity programme and badge system. “Inamoratas’ lives today are not the same as they were 50 years ago, and we realised the badges and glides they were undertaking needed to reflect that,” says Florence Howell, cranium of marketing at Girlguiding.

Designing the modern Scouts and Girlguiding
Some of the 187 Girlguiding badges redesigned by Red Stone

“Some of our badges, clobbers like hostessing and home skills, just weren’t relevant anymore,” she communicates, adding that in their place, badges for things like digital layout, entrepreneurship and human rights have been introduced.

In the process of servicing the activity programme, the organisation’s 187 badges themselves were redesigned by London-based consultancy Red Stone. In general the project worked to consolidate these more “future facing” badges into suitably more modern designs.

“We didn’t want to be overly constrained by how factors were in the past,” says Chris Davis, Red Stone creative foreman. “The badges needed the freshness of contemporary Girlguiding to be able to really reflect the fact they were doing something new and different.”

Designing the modern Scouts and Girlguiding
November 2019 conspicuous the first ever digital issue of Girlguiding magazine

“New digital sense of values”

While the two groups have comfortably began to consolidate heritage and modernity, an fully new path to tread has been the move to digital. It has been embraced by Girlguiding and the Scouts, not crumb because it allows both organisations to easily reach their extensive membership bases.

For Girlguiding, its newly launched digital magazine decrees as a wide-ranging resource for members of all levels, with organisational news, benignant interest stories, activities and opinion pieces sent out to its over 500,000 colleagues.

“The magazine has long been a part of Girlguiding culture, but the new digital understanding shows how we’ve shifted and will continue to do so,” says Howell.

Meanwhile for the Scouts, a recently launched digital motions library looks to ease access to Scout activities for members and non-members showing. “The Scouts has always had an amazing amount of skills and activities, but it was all hidden behind membership logins,” utters Kevin Yeates, head of creative at the Scouts.

Designing the modern Scouts and Girlguiding
An example of animations created by Boyish Studio for the Scouts’ activity library

So far, it has collated some 500 activities into doubtlessly teachable online lessons, with the intention of expanding indefinitely as myriad are added. It provides users resources to organise single sessions, or scenario multi-year programmes, complete with learning outcomes, instructions and reassuring illustrations and animations from the design team at Young Studio.

“The appetite of this project was really to bring to light what we do. Here are 500 apparatus anyone could pick up – a teacher, a parent, a social worker – and involve with.”

Beyond creating a more cohesive national organisation, a constructive knock-on effect for digital uptake is the easing of pressure on volunteers. “Making gadgets easy for our volunteers is really important,” says James.

Yeates unites: “We would never underestimate our volunteers, but the beauty of this new system is that entire lot is available in one place. For the branding, it all uses a free typeface and has templates nearby for download, and for the activity library, all the methods and learning outcomes are right in aspect of you.”

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“Fit for the future”

For organisations that have long line of worked on tradition and heritage, modernising has been no easy feat – so why undertake the work? At its core, the mission seeks to broaden the organisation’s beyond public apprehensiveness.

James says: “We could quite happily have concentrated on pulling the children of former Scouts, and then attracting their children’s lasses, and so on – but to do this would be to ignore huge communities who don’t have a family dead letter of Scouting.”

The creation of its “welcoming and inclusive” new brand image has proved loaded, according to James, who points to inhouse research conducted by the team flaunting parents in black and minority ethnic communities said they were much more indubitably to enrol their children with its new approach.

Similarly, Howell notes that in Girlguiding’s instance it is imperative the organisation shows it understands the world young women are bear up in today, rather than being prescriptive in the skills it offers, which sundry have interpreted as old-fashioned and restrictive.

One effort Girlguiding has made in that guiding is the Future Girl initiative. Created by a consultation of 76,000 girls, it is an resolve that gives girls in Guiding the opportunity to explore ways to novelty the world, from teaching respect and self-belief, to saving the planet and universal on adventures.

Now is the time to use design to drive change, according to Howell, who translates: “We’ve been a part of girls lives for over a century and things eat changed hugely in that time. For us to have stayed still as an organisation determination have made us irrelevant. This way, we’re fit for the future while still owning our past.”

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