Roald Dahl gets a makeover

Published:  July 24, 2015
Eloise Mahoney

One of our much loved children’s writers Roald Dahl has been given a brand (new) makeover. UK based multidisciplinary creative agency, The Sunshine Company were approached with the challenge of giving the iconic author a refreshing face, but also create a unifying brand that connects Roald Dahl’s evolving identity back to his storytelling roots.

The Sunshine team designed a fun, playful and colourful logo that rings true to everything we love about Roald Dahl. It excites both young and old to pick up a book, wave their magic finger and sing along to Matilda the Musical.

But surely this hefty task wasn’t all peaches and cream. desktop has been in touch with The Sunshine Company to get the low down on the creative stages and challenges of producing an entirely new identity for the Roald Dahl Literary Estate.

Firstly, what were your thoughts when approached by the Roald Dahl Literary Estate to rebrand such a globally recognised identity?

This was a once-in-life-time opportunity to create a brand for one of the most beloved children’s writers of all time – and not to mention one of my personal heroes. It was definitely nerve-wracking.

What was the inspiration behind the new Roald Dahl identity and the significance of the paper plane?

So before starting the design process, we took great care to get re-inspired by Roald Dahl. After reading (and re-reading) his books, we found three key themes we felt spanned across his stories and characters. This helped us to develop the Roald Dahl brand, which we identified as ‘masters of invention’, ‘makers of mischief’ and ‘champions of good’.

Next came the visual identity. Rather than taking our inspiration from a specific title, we looked to the man. The paper plane icon is made out of the distinctive yellow legal paper on which he wrote. It references his imagination and creativity, as well as his experience as a pilot and life-long love of flight.  Coincidently, the paper plane is itself a mischievous invention!

SiteCan you explain the reason for the choice of typography and the fun colour palette?

The logo’s colourful typeface draws inspiration from some of the author’s most popular creations. The Roald Dahl colour palette includes a range of colours such as Willy Wonka Purple and Enormous Crocodile Green.


Were there any challenges you came across during the creative stages?

It’s an interesting one. Next year will be Roald Dahl’s centenary. Despite this, the author and his work have never really had a strong brand – in a marketing and design sense. You could argue that an author is a person, and a person doesn’t need a brand.  And that’s possibility true for most writers, but Roald Dahl is a bit different.

For one, even though he is mainly known for children’s stories, they are all incredibly unique in their own way – from eccentric chocolate-makers to conniving crocodiles.  And these books are all written for very different age groups.

Secondly, the world of Roald Dahl now extends well beyond books. His stories have inspired some brilliant movies, including a new BFG film directed by Steven Spielberg next year, as well as musicals and theatre shows. The only possible drawback of all this creativity is that people don’t always realise that this incredible body of work has come from the same creative mind.

So to get back to your question – that was the challenge. To create a unifying brand that connected Roald Dahl’s stories – both visually and emotionally – so people could discover more and more of them. For example, if a girl loved Matilda the Musical, we wanted to inspire her to also read the Twits and watch Fantastic Mr. Fox.




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