Creating a buzz for the home of electricals
AO is one of the UK’s biggest online electrical stores. Considered more functional than friendly, AO came to us to refresh and digitise their brand, and reflect the incredible internal culture they had built over 20 years. They needed a complete shift from online retailer, to much-loved brand.
To understand what gave them their spark, we went to the home of AO in Bolton. Through hands-on experience, including joining the drivers on deliveries, we became familiar with AO’s people, products, and services.
From day one, we were treated like valuable members of the team. They’re lively, empathetic, and optimistic. We knew we had to bottle this personality and bring it to life across every aspect of the brand experience.
Our underlying brand concept, ‘Always On’ powers all other aspects of the brand. More than just a cheeky acronym, this was a true reflection of the authentic AO spirit and dedication we’d experienced in the immersion stage.
We developed a graphic system that works in both 2D and 3D, all inspired by AO’s smile icon. It's designed for flexing across all aspects of the customer experience — from digital advertising to uniforms, van deliveries, door drops, and even furniture. We gave the old smile a facelift and got it ready for digital environments. We turned 'on' AO’s colour palette, making it more vibrant and unique.
To express AO’s warmth through every touchpoint, we worked with type foundry F37 to craft a bespoke typeface full of ‘friendly’ ligatures and glyphs.
‘Always On’ continued to inspire every interaction with the brand, including the lively tone of voice, sonic signatures, motion principles, and authentic photography that features real people in real homes across the country.
“Working with Design Studio has felt like a true partnership, they spent time getting to know us, our strategy and ambitions and then bottled it all up into our new design system. Together, I think we have created something special, something we are all very proud of.”
Head of Brand at AO