Soulmates is one of the UK’s longest running online dating brands and is a flagship commercial business of the Guardian.
A premium paid-for product, Soulmates sits within a busy, highly competitive market, appealing to a progressive, metropolitan audience.
To support a shift to an international growth strategy, Soulmates required a new brand identity to allow it to stand on its own two feet, while still feeling part of the Guardian family.
Our objective was to capture and express the personality and values of the Guardian to cut through the clutter. The brand also needed to reflect its premium positioning and be appropriate for a discerning, international audience.
The big idea
We defined Soulmates as a place where like-minded people who share similar passions, pastimes, quirks and irks, connect over the stuff that makes them, them.
Our response is all about these simple, special connections. This positioning differentiates from competitors who trade off features like the most intelligent algorithm, or just pure volume of users.
What we did
New logo, custom typeface, imagery, copy and iconography — an entire brand toolkit designed to reflect the big idea.
Extensive guidelines, including printed and digital example applications, brand strategy and user experience.
A special relationship
Soulmates’ Guardian association brings credibility, principle and expertise to online dating, where people often approach cautiously.
The brand references the Guardian in many ways, but the holding device is where it’s most explicit. It makes a discreet nod to the brand’s paper heritage and helps it stand-out on imagery.
Soulmates’ custom typeface is one of the brands most distinctive features. Derived from the Guardian’s own font family, Soulmates Sans shares the master brand’s DNA, but with a softer, more seductive tone.
Typographic ‘ligatures’ (special connections between letters) make for simple, but beautiful pairings. This reinforces the big idea in an understated, elegant way.
Soulmates’ iconography supports the idea of a simple, special connection, while also providing an ownable asset that reflects the aesthetic of the bespoke typeface.
To reinforce the bigger picture, the icon set extends to representations of the cultural past-times that the audience might connect over — film, music, food or fashion. Integrated into the website and marketing, they highlight bespoke content that may inspire users on date ideas.
Soulmates is a truly digital service, so our brand work put digital (and mobile) first. We prototyped the brand on interfaces to test our assets and design principles alongside the usual visual building blocks of an identity.
Considering the entire user experience meant we could identify useful brand touch-points — like surfacing relevant Guardian content, messaging and tone in emails or getting members started on their profiles.
Soulmates would also have a presence in the physical world too. Advertising, outdoor campaigns and events (amongst other ideas) inspired our exploration of the brand in action.
The brand guidelines that we produced capture all the spirit and energy of Soulmates, and present it back in a way that is practical and easy to understand, while inspiring best-practice application.
MultiAdaptor’s design standards and attention to detail are second to none. But one of their key skills is to combine design with a deep commercial understanding; constantly reassessing how the end results will positively impact the bottom line.Jason Leonard Head of Soulmates